UMass Boston

Areas of Expertise

Community Development; Community Development; Human Geography; Economic Development; Globalization; Information Technology; Infrastructure Studies; Urban Planning; Urban Studies.


PhD, Temple University
MA, San Francisco State University

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

Dr. Alan Wiig is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Community Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. His research sits at the intersection of urban studies, urban planning, and infrastructure studies and examines three areas of scholarly and public concern: the new digital divides emerging alongside smart city projects, the anti-democratic politics of large-scale urban revitalization efforts, and the spatial strategies through which transnational logistics corridors are remaking city regions.

By using in depth fieldwork, semi-structured interviews with politicians and government officials, community leaders, and corporate executives, alongside discursive analysis of policy and planning documents, his work critically assesses city regions’ top-down and bottom-up responses to economic globalization and emerging technologies. There are two key aspects to this scholarly contribution. First, it demonstrates that trade corridors and economic zones operate as testbeds for 21st century, smart city technologies. These are spaces where patterns of digital connectivity and wireless mobility are maintained through new systems of policing, surveillance, and civic management to align established city-regions into a world economy facing significant geopolitical, climactic, and pandemic-driven turbulence. Second, this work draws attention to the ways billions of dollars of international infrastructure investment amplify uneven development by transforming city-regional economies but also reinforcing existing inequalities. This scholarship argues for a grounded understanding of the political logics justifying speculative infrastructure projects by asking how, where, and for whom these networks reinforce or constrain efforts at building progressive and sustainable cities.

Alan’s work has been published in leading journals including the Annals of the American Association of Geographers; Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and SocietyCity: analysis of urban trends, theory, policy, actionEnvironment and Planning C: Politics and Space; the Journal of Urban Technology; Regional Studies; and Urban Geography.