Urban Ecology is pleased to welcome graduate student Egon Terplan for the summer. Terplan has finished his first year in the master’s program of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, where his focus is housing and regional planning.

Terplan relishes the opportunity at UE to be involved in local housing policy in Oakland, where he is building support for the recommendations from the Oakland Housing Task Force (see cover story). This involves working in coalition with community, labor, development, and faith-based organizations in Oakland.

Although Terplan’s previous work has primarily been in the labor movement, he was drawn to housing issues because “there is a powerful marriage of ecological and equity concerns between environment and labor around housing.” He has found that UE is “part of a new environmental movement which is not afraid to talk about class issues.” Terplan also likes the fact that UE, as an environmental organization, is more interested in supporting good initiatives than in simply opposing bad ones. He comes to UE through a fellowship with the Sustainable Communities Leadership Program, which places graduate students in organizations and agencies statewide that work on sustainable development issues.

When asked about his name, he mentions his Polish and Transylvanian heritage and reveals that Terplan is a Hungarian name and Egon was a common name several centuries ago. He adds, “The most recent well-known Egon was Egon Krenz, the last head of East Germany. I think he has since been executed.”