Joel Rast is an assistant professor of political science and urban studies at UWM. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in political science from the University of Oregon and a B.A. in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. His research interests include urban economic restructuring, brownfields redevelopment, industry clusters, and environmental politics. His book, Remaking Chicago: The Political Origins of Urban Industrial Change (Northern Illinois University Press, 1999) examines the role of local politics in the deindustrialization of Chicago's central area during the post World War Two era.
Prior to joining the faculty at UWM, Professor Rast was a researcher at the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago, where he directed the Center's Freight Transportation Initiative and managed several federal government contracts addressing environmental justice and public involvement in transportation decision-making.