Revel Sims

Position title: Assistant Professor


106 Music Hall

Photograph of Revel Sims standing outside of Ag Hall

Campus Affiliations

Havens Wright Center for Social Justice; Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies (CommNS)

Research Interests

urban planning, displacement, housing, gentrification, urban geography, affordable housing, downtown revitalization, social justice, spatial analysis and modeling, economic development, community development, geographic information systems (GIS)


Revel Sims joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison as an assistant professor in the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture (DPLA) and the Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program (CLS) in September 2016. Prior to joining these units, he was an Honorary Fellow at the DPLA and Visiting Assistant Professor in CLS.

Revel Sims obtained his PhD in 2014 from the Department of Urban Planning at University of California Los Angeles. His dissertation, “It was like dancing on a grave”: Eviction and Displacement in Los Angeles 1994 to 1999, is an analysis of displacement during the pivotal decade of the 1990s that employs a spatial analysis of over 70,000 eviction cases. The findings exposed four distinct concentrations of displacement in Los Angeles during the period and provide a basis for the argument that while everyday displacement can form a major part of urban experience bringing together systems of racialization, tenure, and finance, displacement remains generally under analyzed within urban theory, research, and policy.

Selected Awards

Dr. Brenda Pfaehler Award of Excellence, Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO)

Chester Rapkin Award for best article in volume 35 of the Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER)


Sims, J.R., Iverson, A.A. 2019. Multiple Eviction: An Investigation of Chain Displacement in Dane County, Wisconsin. Urban Affairs Review. [view publication]

Sarmiento C., J. R. Sims J and A. Morales. 2018. Little free libraries: An examination of micro-urbanist interventions. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and UrbanSustainability 11(2): 233–253. [view publication]

J. Revel Sims. 2015. More than Gentrification: Geographies of Capitalist Displacement in Los Angeles 1994-1999. Urban Geography. 37(1): 26-56. [view publication]

Sarmiento, C., Sims, J.R. 2015. Façades of Equitable Development: Santa Ana and the Affordable Housing Complex. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 35(3): 323-336. [view publication]

Freisthler, B., N.J. Kepple, J.R. Sims & S.E. Martin. 2013. Evaluating Medical Marijuana Dispensary Policies: Spatial Methods for the Study of Environmentally-Based Interventions. American Journal of Community Psychology. 51(1-2): 278-288. [view publication]


J. Revel Sims et al. 2016. Evicted in Dane County, Wisconsin: A Collaborative Examination of the Housing Landscape. Madison, WI [view report]

Sarmiento, C. & Sims, R. 2016. Lacy in Crisis and in Action: A report on housing and tenant conditions in the Lacy neighborhood in Santa Ana, California. Santa Ana, CA: People’s Data Project. [view report]

The Next Practice and MASdata 2014. Santa Ana Wellness District: A Study of Demand and supply for wellness goods and services in downtown Santa Ana, California [view report]

Nancy J Williams, Bridget Freisthler, and J. Revel Sims. 2011/2010. Crime and Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. California Center for Population Research On-Line Working Paper Series.

Gilda Haas, Jacqueline Leavitt, and J. Revel Sims (editors) 2007. Fighting for a Right to the City: Collaborative Research to Support Community Organizing in L.A. 


Planning Thought and Practice (URPL 781) S2018

Community-Based Research (CLS 330) F2017

Gentrification in American Cities (URPL 590) UW–Madison F2016 S2016, F2015

Whiteness and Racial Formation in the United States (CLS 330) UW–Madison S2018, F2016, F2015

Planning with Community Field Research Methods (URPL 590) UW–Madison SUM2016

Latina/o Urbanism (CLS 530) UW–Madison S2016

Methods in Planning Analysis (URPL 721) UW–Madison F2015