Urban Planning Alumnus wins National Planning Award for Commitment to Social Justice, Diversity and Community Service

Urban Planning Alumnus wins National Planning Award for Commitment to Social Justice, Diversity and Community Service

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Wed, 01/12/2011 - 8:40pm

The American Planning Association (APA) has selected Urban Planning Alumnus Alvaro Huerta to receive the 2011 National Planning Achievement Award for Advancing Diversity & Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff.

The award honors a project, group or individual for promoting diversity or demonstrating a sustained social commitment to advocacy within the planning field. The award honors the late APA member, Paul Davidoff, for his contributions to the planning field.

“During his 25 year career, Alvaro has been a constant agent for positive social change,” said Marie L. York, faicp, APA Board member and 2011 National Planning Awards Jury Chair. “Not only has he played a role in organizing campaigns in Los Angeles to help immigrant populations and defeat a polluting power plant project, he has also been generous with his time and wisdom, serving as a mentor for low-income students.”

Raised in East Lost Angeles by Mexican immigrant parents, it is Huerta’s experiences in turbulent housing projects, overcrowded public schools and fighting the daily pressure to join a gang and drop out of school, that helped shape his life-long commitment to social justice, diversity and service for the poor. At only 43, he has defied great odds to successfully obtain two degrees from UCLA (B.A. in history and M.A. in urban planning) and will receive his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley (city and regional planning) in the spring of 2011.

He is a positive role model in Latino communities, but also within the planning field where he has played a significant role mentoring countless individuals to pursue their university studies and career goals in urban planning. He is a visiting scholar at UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center and visiting lecturer at UCLA’s Department of Urban Planning. He contributes op-eds for The Progressive, Los Angeles Business Journal and the Santa Monica Mirror, along with numerous political and literary blogs.

His many accomplishments include:

  • Co-founded the Association of Latin American Gardeners, the first organization for immigrant gardeners in the U.S.
  • Led the Communities for a Better Environment in preventing the building of a power plant in South East Los Angeles, a predominantly low-income, Latino area with many existing sources of pollution.
  • Speaks regularly with Latino high school and college students about the importance of education and community service.
  • Organized graduate school workshops on the importance of graduate and professional schools and on careers in urban planning.

Huerta will receive The National Planning Achievement Award for Advancing Diversity & Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff at a special luncheon at APA’s National Planning Conference in Boston on April 11, 2011. His work also will be featured in an upcoming issue of Planning magazine, APA’s flagship publication.

For a list of all of the APA 2011 National Planning Excellence, Achievement, and Leadership Award recipients, visit www.planning.org/awards/2011. APA’s national awards program, the profession’s highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning -- physical, economic and social -- so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill. For more information, visit www.planning.org.

 

The American Planning Association (APA) has selected Urban Planning Alumnus Alvaro Huerta to receive the 2011 National Planning Achievement Award for Advancing Diversity & Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff.

The award honors a project, group or individual for promoting diversity or demonstrating a sustained social commitment to advocacy within the planning field. The award honors the late APA member, Paul Davidoff, for his contributions to the planning field.