Dr. Eric Heikkila is Professor and Director of International Initiatives at the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at the University of Southern California. Trained as an economist, but with professional roots in urban planning, his scholarly research focus is on the economic, geographic, historical and cultural factors that influence urban development trajectories. He maintains a steady presence in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, and is author of The Economics of Planning, a widely used textbook in the field. Dr. Heikkila is also Founding Executive Secretary of the Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development, an international NGO that he has guided through its twenty-plus years. In this capacity he regularly organizes Roundtable Forums in host cities throughout the Asia Pacific region. He also combines academic and professional pursuits through regular consulting assignments with the World Bank and other international development agencies.