Professor of Urban Planning
Ph.D. in Urban Planning, Columbia University
Dr. Leavitt's research has focused on housing and community development policy, public housing, women and housing/service needs, and the multiple meanings of home, among other topics. Recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in 1997, Dr. Leavitt is studying the impact of privatization on tenants living in council and state housing; this work is being compared with similar research she is involved in with public housing tenants in Los Angeles. She currently is principal investigator on a project to help community organizations reverse disinvestment in troubled urban areas. UCLA was the only university in Southern California and one of fourteen nationwide to receive the grant, awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of its new Community Outreach Partnership Center Program.
Based on her research, Professor Leavitt has served as a consultant to nonprofit resident groups, the Swedish Council for Building Research, HUD and the New York City Housing Preservation and Development Agency. She has provided expert testimony for state and city officials in California and New York and has served on the board of the Nickerson Gardens Community Development Corporation, formed to assist one of the largest public housing projects in Los Angeles. Dr. Leavitt and her collaborators have won awards for their housing designs in several national competitions, including a first place award in the 1984 "New American House" competition sponsored by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her current research looks at interrelated issues of schools and youth programs in relation to community development. She is working with 4-H on after-school programs concerning children's understanding of their environment.