Vinit Mukhija is Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Urban Planning in the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His research focuses on informal housing and slums in developing countries and “Third World-like” housing conditions (including colonias, unpermitted trailer parks, and illegal garage apartments) in the United States. He is particularly interested in understanding the nature and necessity of informal housing, and strategies for upgrading and improving living conditions in unregulated housing. His work also examines how planners and urban designers in both developing and developed countries can learn from the everyday and informal city.
Four research questions and objectives guide his research. First, what is the nature of informal housing, including its prevalence, characteristics, heterogeneity, determinants, rationale, advantages and disadvantages? Second, how can living conditions within slums and informal housing be improved, and what is the role of different institutional actors, including state, civil society, and market actors, within this process? Third, how should conventional planning and urban design approaches change in response to the prevalence of informality, particularly informal housing? Fourth, how do policy ideas in housing and land development travel and spread in a globalized world? The broad objective of his work is to help identify and improve strategies for increasing access to decent housing among the urban poor as a planning pathway to social and spatial justice.
Professor Mukhija’s current and past major projects include research on slum upgrading and redevelopment in Mumbai (Bombay), India; research on colonias, infrastructure-poor neighborhoods, and unpermitted trailer parks in California; evaluation of inclusionary housing requirements in Southern California; research on legal and illegal garage apartments or “Backyard Homes” in Los Angeles as a form of affordable housing and stealth density; and research on the nature of informality in U.S. cities. He is the author of one book, Squatters as Developers? Slum Redevelopment in Mumbai (Ashgate, 2003), and co-editor of a recently published volume, The Informal American City: Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor (MIT Press 2014, with Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris).
Professor Mukhija trained as an urban planner (Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology), urban designer (MUD, University of Hong Kong), and architect (M.Arch., University of Texas, Austin, and B.Arch., the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi). He also has professional experience as an urban designer and physical planner in India, Hong Kong, and Kuwait with new town design proposals and projects in India, China, and the Middle East. Before coming to UCLA he worked as a post-doctoral researcher for the Fannie Mae Foundation in Washington, D.C., and developed neighborhood upgrading and renewal strategies for American cities. Some of his past projects have been funded by the Haynes Foundation, the California Policy Research Center, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the World Bank.
Professor Mukhija has won multiple awards for his teaching at UCLA (2007, 2009 and 2013), and his teaching portfolio includes courses on informality in U.S. cities, housing policies in the majority world, and planning studios. Recent neighborhoods for his studios have included Downtown Los Angeles (2014), Atwater Village (2012), East Hollywood (2011), the City of Bell (2010), East Los Angeles (2009), Pacoima (2008), and Hyde Park (2007).
Professor Mukhija has also advised the newly formed Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Bangalore, on course and curriculum development. His other community and public service contributions include membership on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Area Neighborhood Initiative (LANI), a non-profit focused on community-based urban revitalization strategies; service as the Co-Chair of the Global Planning Educators Interest Group (GPEIG) within the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP); and as an editorial advisory board member of the Journal of the American Planning Association and the Journal of Planning Education and Research.
Mukhija, V. and A. Loukaitou-Sideris, 2014, The Informal American City: Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor, Cambridge, MIT Press.
[Reviewed in Planning (2014), Journal of the American Planning Association (2014),and Environment and Urbanization (2015, online)]
Mukhija, V., 2003, Squatters as Developers? Slum Redevelopment in Mumbai, Ashgate, Aldershot, England (Studies in Development Geography Series of King’s College and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London).
[Reviewed in European Journal of Development Research (2005), Habitat International (2005), Urban Studies (2005), Architectural Science Review (2004), and Journal of the American Planning Association (2004)]
Journal Papers & Book Chapters
Mukhija, V. and A. Loukaitou-Sideris, forthcoming, “Reading the Informal City: Why and How to Deepen Planners’ Understanding of Informality,” Journal of Planning Education and Research.
Loukaitou-Sideris, A. and V. Mukhija, forthcoming, “From Neglect to Action: Responding to Informality through Urban Design,” Journal of Urban Design.
Mukhija, V., forthcoming, “Learning from Invisible Cities: The Interplay and Dialogue of Order and Disorder,” Environment and Planning A.
Mukhija, V., forthcoming, “Rehousing Mumbai: Formalizing Slum Land Markets through Redevelopment,” in Informal Real Estate Markets. Editors E. Birch, S. Chattaraj, and S. Wachter, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.
Mukhija, V., A. Das, L. Regus, and S. Slovin Tsay, 2015, “The Tradeoffs of Inclusionary Zoning: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?,” Planning, Practice & Research, Vol. 30(2), 222-235.
Mukhija, V. and D. Mason, 2015, “Resident-Owned, Informal Mobile Home Communities in Rural California: Lessons from Rancho Don Antonio, Coachella Valley,” Housing Policy Debate, Vol. 25(1), 179-194.
Mukhija, V., 2014, “The Value of Incremental Development and Design in Affordable Housing,” Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, Vol. 16(2), 11-20.
Mukhija, V. and J. Scott-Railton, 2013, “The Importance of Design in Affordable Housing: Lessons from Mutual Self-Help Housing in California,” Housing Policy Debate, Vol. 23(4), 765-780.
Mukhija, V. and D. Mason, 2013, “Reluctant Cities, Colonias and Municipal Underbounding in the U.S.: Can Cities be Convinced to Annex Poor Enclaves?” Urban Studies, Vol. 50(14), 2959-2975.
Mukhija, V., 2012, “Cities with Slums,” in The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning. Editors R. Weber and R. Crane, pp. 524-538, Oxford University Press, New York.
Mukhija, V., 2012, “The 1970 Centers Concept Plan for Los Angeles,” in Planning Los Angeles. Editor D. Sloane, pp. 36-44, APA Planners Press, Chicago.
Mukhija, V., 2012, “Informal Housing: Colonias in the United States,” in The International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home. Editor S. J. Smith, with M. Elsinga. L. F. O’Mahony, O. S. Eng, and S. Wachter, Elsevier, Oxford.
Mukhija, V., 2011, “Urban Design for a Planet of Informal Cities,” in Companion to Urban Design. Editors T. Banerjee and A. Loukaitou-Sideris, pp. 574-584, Routledge, New York.
Mukhija, V., 2010, “N of One plus Some: An Alternative Strategy for Conducting Single Case Research,” Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 29(4), 416-426.
Mukhija, V., L. Regus, S. Slovin, and A. Das, 2010, “Can Inclusionary Zoning Be an Effective and Efficient Housing Policy? Evidence from Los Angeles and Orange Counties,” Journal of Urban Affairs, Vol. 32(2), 229-252.
Mukhija, V., 2010, “Agricultural Prosperity,
Rural Poverty and California’s Colonias,” in The Colonias Reader: Economy,
Housing and Public Health in U.S.-Mexico Border Colonias. Editors A. J.
Donelson and A. X. Esparaza, pp. 72-85, University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
Mukhija, V., 2009, “Property Readjustment in Mumbai: Tenement Redevelopment,” in Urban Planning Methods: Land Readjustment and Urban Re-Development Projects (in English & Portuguese). Editor F.F. de Souza, pp. 161-165 (English edition), Japan International Cooperation Agency and Municipal Planning Secretariat of Sao Paulo.
Mukhija, V., 2008, “How Is Housing Financed?
The Case of a Group of Tenants Who Became Property Developers in Mumbai,
India,” in From Negations to Negotiations: Solving the Puzzles of
Development. Editor P. Maiti, Pragun Publishers, New Delhi.
Mukhija, V. and P. Monkkonen, 2007, “What’s in a Name? A Critique of Colonias in the United States,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 31(2), 475-488.
Mukhija, V. and P. Monkkonen, 2006, “Federal Colonias Policy in California: Too Broad and Too Narrow,” Housing Policy Debate, Vol. 17(4), 755-780.
Mukhija, V., 2006, “Property Readjustment and a Tenants’ Cooperative in Mumbai: Some Lessons and Questions,” Environment and Planning A, Vol. 38(11), 2157-2171.
Mukhija, V. and D. Shoup, 2006, “Quantity versus Quality in Off-Street Parking Requirements” Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 72(3), 296-308.
Mukhija, V., 2006, “Challenges for International Development Planning: Preliminary Lessons from the Case of the Cities Alliance,” Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, Vol. 23(1), 56-62.
Mukhija, V., 2006, “Decentralized Conflict,” in The Mumbai Reader. Editors R. Mehrotra, P. Joshi, P. Shetty, and B. Menezes, pp. 202-219, the International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, Urban Design Research Institute, Mumbai.
Mukhija, V., 2005, “Collective Action and Property Rights: A Planner’s Critical Look at the Dogma of Private Property,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 29(4), 972-983.
Mukhija, V., 2005, “The Contradictions in Enabling Private Developers of Affordable Housing: A Cautionary Case from Ahmedabad, India,” in Urban Development Debates in the New Millennium (Volume IV). Editor K.R. Gupta, pp. 48-71, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi.
Mukhija, V., 2004, “How Is Housing Financed? The Case of a Group of Tenants Who Became Property Developers in Mumbai, India,” International Development Planning Review, Vol. 26(3), 257-274.
Mukhija, V., 2004, “The Contradictions in Enabling Private Developers of Affordable Housing: A Cautionary Case from Ahmedabad, India,” Urban Studies, Vol. 41(11), 2231-2244.
Mukhija, V., 2002. “An Analytical Framework for Urban Upgrading: Property Rights, Property Values and Physical Attributes,” Habitat International, Vol. 26(4), 553-570.
Mukhija, V., 2002, “New Houses for Old in Mumbai: An Attractive but Problematic Strategy,” International Development Planning Review, Vol. 24(2), 161-176.
Mukhija, V., 2001, “Enabling Slum Redevelopment in Mumbai: Policy Paradox in Practice,” Housing Studies, Vol. 16(6), 791-806.
Mukhija, V., 2001, “Upgrading Housing Settlements in Developing Countries: The Impact of Existing Physical Conditions,” Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, Vol. 18(4), 213-222.
Sanyal, B. and V. Mukhija, 2001, “Institutional Pluralism and Housing Delivery: A Case of Unforeseen Conflicts in Mumbai, India,” World Development, Vol. 29(12), 2043-2057.