Prior to her appointment as Professor of City and Regional Planning at Penn Design, Professor Servon was Professor of Management and Urban Policy at The New School, where she also served as Dean at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. Professor Servon conducts research in the areas of urban poverty, community development, economic development, and issues of gender and race. Specific areas of expertise include economic insecurity, consumer financial services, and financial justice. She holds a BA in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College, an MA in History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in Urban Planning from UC Berkeley. Her work has been funded by the Open Society Institute, the Aspen Institute, the Ford Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation and others. Professor Servon spent 2015-2016 as a scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and 2004-2005 as Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC. Professor Servon is the author or editor of numerous journal articles and five books: The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives; Bridging the Digital Divide: Technology, Community, and Public Policy; Bootstrap Capital: Microenterprises and the American Poor; Gender and Planning: A Reader, and Otra Vida es Posible; Practicas Economicas Alternativas Durante la Crisis.
BA in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College, 1986; MA in History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania; and a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, 1995.
Professor of City and Regional Planning; Department Chair
City and Regional Planning
Lisa Servon (2017, January). The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Lisa Servon (2014, October). Are Banks Too Expensive to Use?, The New York Times.
Lisa Servon (2014, February). The Post Office as Payday Lender? Return to Sender, The Wall Street Journal.
Lisa Servon (2014, February). What Good Are Payday Loans?, The New Yorker.
Lisa Servon (2013, October). The High Cost, For the Poor, of Using a Bank, The New Yorker.
Lisa Servon (2013, September). The Real Reason the Poor Go Without Bank Accounts, The Atlantic Cities.
Lisa Servon (2013, July). Ritecheck 12, Public Books.
Sarah Pink, Lisa Servon (2013). Sensory global towns: an experiential approach to the growth of the Slow City movement, Environment and Planning, volume 45, pages 451 – 466.
Joana Conic, Manuel Castells, Amalia Cardenas, Lisa Servon (2012). Beyond the Crisis: The Emergence of Alternative Economic Practices, Aftermath: The Cultures of the Economic Crisis, Ed. Manuel Castells, Ed. Joao Caraca, Ed. Gustavo Cardoso, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 210-248.
Timothy Bates, Magnus Lofstrom, and Lisa Servon (2011). Why Have Lending Programs Targeting Disadvantaged Small Business Borrowers Achieved So Little Success in the United States?, Economic Development Quarterly, volume 25, issue 3, pages 255 - 266.
Lisa Servon, M.Anne Visser, and Robert W. Fairlie (2011). Estimating the Capital Gap for Small Businesses in New York City, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting, and Financial Management, volume 23, issue 4, pages 451 - 477.
Lisa Servon, M. Anne Visser, Robert W. Fairlie (2010). The Continuum of Capital for Small and Micro Enterprises, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, volume 15, issue 3, 301.
James Carr and Lisa Servon (2009). Vernacular Culture and Urban Economic Development, Journal of the American Planning Association, volume 75, no. 1, winter, pages 28 - 40.
Lisa Servon and Robert Kaestner (2008). Consumer Financial Literacy and the Impact of Online Banking on the Financial Behavior of Lower-Income Bank Customers, Journal of Consumer Affairs, volume 4, no. 2, Summer, pages 271 - 305.
Lisa Servon (2006). Microenterprise Development in the United States: Current Challenges and New Directions, Economic Development Quarterly, volume 20, pages 351 - 367.
Edwin Melendez and Lisa Servon (2007). Reassessing the Role of Housing in Community-Based Urban Development, Housing Policy Debate, volume 18, issue 4, pages 751 - 783.
Michael Frisch and Lisa Servon (2006). CDC’s and the Changing Context for Urban Community Development: A Review of the Field and the Environment, Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, volume 37, number 4, Winter, pages 88 - 108.
Susan S. Feinstein and Lisa Servon (Eds.) (2005). Gender and Planning, A Reader. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
Lisa Servon (2002). Bridging the Digital Divide: Technology, Community, and Public Policy, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Lisa Servon (2002). Four Myths about the Digital Divide, Planning Theory and Practice, volume 3, number 2, pages 221 - 244.
Lisa Servon and Marla Nelson (2011). Community Technology Centers: Narrowing the Digital Divide in Low-Income, Urban Communities, Journal of Urban Affairs, volume 23, number 3-4, pages 279 - 290.
Lisa Servon and Jeffrey Doshna (2000). Microenterprise and the Economic Development Toolkit: A Small Part of the Big Picture, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, volume 5, number 3, pages 183 - 208.
Lisa Servon, (1999). Bootstrap Capital: Microenterprises and the American Poor, Washington, D.C., Brookings Institution Press.
Lisa Servon was recently interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air about her new book, The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives. The book addresses the changing relationship between banking and customers and how an increasing number of working Americans are using alternative banking services such as check-cashing centers, pawn shops, and in some states, payday lending stores. In addition to gathering data and conducting interviews, Servon worked as a teller at a check-cashing center and payday lending store. The segment is available for download at iTunes or streaming at NPR.org.