• Erin Royals
  • Erin Royals
  • Research Interests: race, urban governance, racial spatialization, business improvement districts, special taxing districts, black geographies, urban geography, Kansas City, nightlife, urban security
  • Advisor: Kathe Newman
  • Degree: Ph.D.


My research examines how business improvement districts work to produce racialized nightlife space. I am focusing on the ongoing effort to privatize sidewalks in the Westport nightlife district in Kansas City, Missouri. In this case, the business improvement district has hired private security forces to screen patrons for weapons during peak weekend hours. Broadly, I am thinking through how the racialization taking place via business improvement districts continues the deep legacy of Kansas City's racial contestations, how business improvement districts actually work to produce space that is racialized, and the impact that nightlife space racialization has on black folks.

Previous Degrees:

  • M.U.P., University of Michigan
  • B.A., Northwestern University


  • 2018–present, Graduate Student Advisory Board, Rutgers University
  • 2018–present, Harassment Free AAG Committee, Student Representative
  • 2018–present, Rutgers Graduate Student Association, President
  • 2017–2018, Rutgers Graduate Student Association, Treasurer
  • 2016–2017, Graduate Geographers Project (GGP), Co-President