Samina Raja


Samina Raja headshot.

Samina Raja


Samina Raja


Overview Teaching / Research News Work

Samina Raja, professor of urban planning, principal investigator of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab (the “Food Lab”), and co-director of UB's Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE), focuses on understanding the role of planning and policy in building sustainable food systems and healthy communities.

In addition to being a leading scholar in her field and active leader in shaping food systems policies for healthier communities in Western New York, Raja is also an invaluable mentor for students. As director of the master of urban planning Community Health and Food Systems specialization, Raja engages her students in the classroom and through graduate studio courses that have worked to develop food systems plans alongside community partners in Buffalo and Trivandrumpuram, India.

Through Raja's scholarship and teaching, she emphasizes the necessitiy for equitable and inclusive planning processes. “It is important that local governments exercise reflection about how policy and planning processes amplify, or dampen, marginalized voices in planning for community food systems.”

Consider the possiblity of edible landscaping in every public right of way in he City of Buffalo and Erie County - Why not?

- Samina Raja, TEDx Talks Buffalo, 2016


  • PhD (urban and regional planning), University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Master of Planning (housing), School of Architecture and Planning, New Delhi
  • BSc (civil engineering), College of Engineering and Technology, Jamia Millia University, New Delhi

Public Service

Nationally, Samina Raja works with the American Planning Association (APA) to bring the importance of community and regional food planning to the attention of practicing planners nationwide. Raja serves on the steering committee of the Food Interest Group (FIG) of the American Planning Association whose mission is to advance the practice of food systems planning within the profession.

Locally, Raja has worked closely for the last 10 years with the Massachusetts Avenue Project to document how their community-based efforts can strengthen food systems and inform food policy and planning. She is a steering committee member of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities-Buffalo coalition, led by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., which strives to promote policy and environmental change to promote healthy eating and active living in Buffalo. She currently serves on the Buffalo-Erie Food Policy Council, the first city-county food policy council in New York State. 


Selected activities, honors and awards

  • Faculty Excellence Award, Graduate Student Planning Association (GPSA) 2017
  • Excellence Award for University Community Partnerships University at Buffalo 2016
  • 2014 William R. And June Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning Scholarship
  • Center for Whole Communities Fellow, 2012
  • 40 Under Forty , Class of 2008, 17th Annual Business First of WNY
  • 'Food for Growth' graduate studio taught by Dr. Raja won several awards including the 2005 national award from the American Institute of Certified Planners.