Falaknaaz Patni, MCRP ’23 is the recipient of an Eagleton Fellowship and Governor’s Executive Award for the 2022-23 academic year. The Eagleton Fellowship offers select Rutgers graduate students the opportunity to further their understanding of government, public affairs, and the practice of politics, and to connect the fellowship experience to their chosen fields of study. Governor’s Executive Awards are made possible by support from the Office of the Governor and the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
Falaknaaz developed an interest in social issues related to providing housing for the middle class and the less privileged. “These interests drove me to educate myself on more significant complex urban matters so that I may better ask pertinent questions and formulate design solutions in conjunction with policy recommendations to support well-intentioned designers,” she said. “This was further strengthened during Covid-19 when a sudden lockdown resulted in a 20% increase in domestic violence, particularly among families who lived in informal settlements. I witnessed a rise in socio-economic issues as a result of an absence of healthy and affordable living conditions which further solidified my aim to work towards healthy and inclusive neighborhoods to improve the general standard of living.”
She continued, “The Eagleton Fellowship will be an excellent opportunity for me to pursue my goal through an interdisciplinary approach. The focus on policymaking, law and civic engagement will provide the lens through which to solve issues creatively through a larger public service platform to work for society and for the people at large. This will also help me hone my skills in discerning various socio-economic issues, formulating well-thought-out policies, and eventually getting into advocacy to effectively implement formulated policies.”
“My courses at Bloustein have also informed me on issues related to affordable housing in the United States and how inequitable planning practices affect some communities more than others. This made me realize how these problems, even though they exist in different contexts, are universal issues and how the right planning and policy interventions can alleviate some of them.”
In the future, Falaknaaz hopes to continue to work on community development initiatives with a focus on affordable housing, for a better application of methods for promoting fairer sharing of developmental benefits. She also plans to work with the community to understand their needs and requirements to develop a holistic approach toward implementing community development work of a planning and policymaking stance.