Abel Valenzuela

Abel Valenzuela

Professor of Urban Planning and Chicano Studies, Director of UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment


Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.C.P. in City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.A. in Social Science, University of California, Berkeley

Areas of Interest:

Ethnic Communities - Latino American, Immigration, Labor and Employment, Race and Ethnicity


(310) 825-9156 on-campus: x59156



Abel Valenzuela is Professor of Chicano Studies and Urban Planning and Director of UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.  He has authored numerous research articles, books, and reports on immigrant settlement, work, and urban poverty.  His research on day labor and immigrant labor markets have helped frame national public and policy narratives on immigrant and low-wage workers.

Los Angeles occupies a central focus of his research and teaching and guides the Institute’s research directions. Abel was born and raised in Los Angeles, earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his M.C.P. and Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He has published numerous articles and technical reports on low-wage workers, including co-editing (with Lawrence Bobo, Melvin Oliver, and Jim Johnson) Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2000, Immigration and Crime: Race, Ethnicity, and Violence (with Ramiro Martinez Jr.). He has also published in American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Annual Review of Sociology, New England Journal of Public Policy, Working USA: A Journal of Labor and Society, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, and Regional Studies.

Abel lives in Venice Beach with his wife and three sons.


Selected Publications

Paul Apostolidis and Abel Valenzuela Jr.  2014.  “Cosmopolitan Politics and the Migrant Day Labor Movement.”  Politics, Groups, and Identities.  Vol. 2(2):222-244.

Valenzuela Jr., A.  2014.  “Regulating Day Labor: Worker Centers and Organizing in the Informal Economy.”  In The Informal City: Settings, Strategies, Responses (Eds) Vinit Mukhija and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sidris.  Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press.  Pgs 261-276.

Bostic, R.W., A. M. Kim, and A. Valenzuela Jr. 2016.  Guest Co-editors.  Symposium: Contesting the Streets.  Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research. Volume 18, Number 1: Pgs, 3-122.

Theodore, N., D. Blaauw, C. Schenck, A. Valenzuela Jr., C. Schoeman, E. Melendez.  2015.  “Day Labor, Informality and Vulnerability in South Africa and the United States.”  International Journal of Manpower.  Vol. 36 No. 6: 1-18.

Areas of Expertise: economy, jobs low-wage workers, day labor, immigration, urban poverty, urban planning, inequality

Selected Books and Publications

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Research Interests