ABOUT Akshita Sivakumar, Ph.D

A designer, architect, and social scientist, I am currently an Assistant Professor of Design at the University of California, Davis.

My work lies at the confluence of governance, social movements, technology, and spatiality. My current research project examines how technologies of participation impact the relationship between environmental governance and solidarities within and across the environmental justice movement in California’s efforts toward air pollution mitigation and decarbonization. I received my Ph.D. in Communication and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, in June 2023, with a dissertation titled Model Governance, Model Justice: Social Infrastructures in Urban Environments. My current book monograph examines how digital technologies mediate environmental governance and environmental justice in California. 

I maintain a creative practice under the moniker of moredustings and direct a lab at UC Davis called the Collective for Socio-spatial and Environmental Praxis (CoSEP). CoSEP undertakes transdisciplinary, research-driven design to address the spatial and political nature of designing and governing the built environment.

critical spatial practices ० social infrastructures ० governance ० political ecology of urban environments ०  critical environmental justice ० participatory design ० free +/ open source knowledge production

My work is informed by my engagement with Critical Design, Architecture & Urban Studies, Urban Political Ecology & Critical Geography, and Post|Decolonial & Feminist Science and Technology Studies (STS).  

My research has been supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDRIG) and a Herb Schiller Dissertation Fellowship.  

Samples of my work can be found here. Alternately, you can browse:

e: asivakumar [at] ucdavis[dot] edu
t: @moredustings
i: @moredustings

  • University of California, San Diego
Ph.D. in Communication and Science Studies
Dissertation Committee- Christo Sims (chair), Lilly Irani, Matilde Córdoba Azcárate, Fernando Domínguez Rubio, Matthew Vitz
: Jacobs Social-Impact Fellowship
: Yankelovich Center Research Award
: Institute of Practical Ethics Ph.D. Fellowship
: Herb I. Schiller Dissertation Fellowship
: UCSD Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary  Collaboratory Award

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    SMArch.S- Architectural Design, 2017
    (w/coursework in Cognitive Science) 
: Arthur Rotch Special Prize for Highest Academic Achievement
 : Graduate Women of Excellence Honoree, 2017
 : CAMIT Grant, 2016

  • Washington University in St.Louis
    Masters of Architecture, 2012
: Faculty Book Award, 2012
: Laskey Fellowship, 2010

  • Visiting Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico, 2023
  • Lecturer, University of San Diego, 2019- 2021
  • Architect, Flying Elephant Studio, Bangalore. 2013-2015.
  • Lecturer, Washington University in St.Louis, 2012.