Chendi Zhang

Chendi Zhang (she/her/hers) is a doctoral student in Urban Planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research interests include age-friendly public space, participation and community engagement, urban design, smart city and technologies, and Urban China.

Prior to pursuing her PhD, Chendi was a landscape designer at OLIN, Philadelphia, assisted in curating Penn-China Design Dialogue 2019, worked on Beautiful China – Reflections on Landscape Architecture in Contemporary China as an assistant editor and book designer, and started to share tutorials about landscape architecture and her experience as an international student in design and planning major as a social media influencer.

Chendi studied and worked in the field of landscape architecture for ten years, holding her master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and bachelor’s degree of Science in Landscape Architecture from Beijing Forestry University. With her research concentration, practice experience, and design background, Chendi studies urban issues from a perspective of how planning and design processes can collaborate more tightly and efficiently to better respond to the demands of overlooked and misrepresented vulnerable groups and reduce spatial inequality in the built environment.


Kenton Card

Kenton Card is a teacher, filmmaker, and PhD Candidate in Urban Planning at UCLA. His research has long investigated the relationship of housing to inequalities (economic, racial, gendered) and climate change. He draws primarily on the methods of participant observation, interviews, and policy analysis. He works as the Senior TA Coordinator for the UCLA Center for Community Engagement, and as a Guest Researcher at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and the Free University of Berlin.


Kenton’s dissertation is tentatively titled The New Politics of Rental Housing: Inequality, Movements, and Lobbying across the United States and Germany. The project documents how tenant movements and landlord lobbyists have affected rental policy between 2008-2020 in Los Angeles and Berlin. It also draws on a novel database of 10 million Tweets on rental housing Political Speech in the USA, focusing on key debates on rent control, public housing, pro-development (YIMBY), and anti-development (NIMBY) (created with Andre Comandon at USC). Finally, the project traces how a grassroots housing campaign successfully linked Housing and Climate issues through the Green New Deal, laying the foundation for a Presidential Platform and National Legislation.


Kenton’s dissertation committee is comprised of Chris Tilly (chair), Anastasia Loukaitou-SiderisMichael StorperAllan Heskin (emeritus), and Desiree Fields (outsider). In Berlin, he is supported by Antonie Schmiz (FU), Jutta Allmendinger (WZB), and Margit Mayer (FU & TU Berlin).


Kenton’s primary area of teaching expertise is at the intersection of universities and communities. Currently, he works as the Senior TA Coordinator at the UCLA Center for Community Engagement, where he taught for three years as the sole instructor in Political Science. In Spring 2023, Kenton will teach a new course at the Free University of Berlin called Berlin’s Housing Crisis through Community Engagement Filmmaking.

Kenton has twice taught in the UCLA Community-Scholars Program, which brings together Masters of Urban Planning students and community leaders to collectively learn and to develop participatory research on topics important to community organizing and social change. This resulted in “De-Commodifying Housing During Covid-19” (with Sandra McNeill) and “Do Bills Build Homes? An Assessment of California’s 2017 Housing Package on Addressing the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles County” (with Jan Breidenbach and Maria Camila Loffredo D’Ottaviano).

Kenton has also co-organized Community Reading Groups in Berlin, including in 2012 The City and the Political at The Public School, and more recently in 2022 with the group The Right to the City-DWE, a space supporting migrant tenants in Berlin.


In Sacramento, Kenton formerly worked for affordable housing advocacy organization Housing California (including the Residents United Network), and the environmental advocates, and proponent of dense, transit-oriented-development, the Planning and Conservation League, where he tracked legislation and convened planners and policymakers for the annual conference.

At UCLA, Kenton co-founded the California Economists Collective, has worked as a filmmaker for the Antipode Foundation, served as the former Managing Editor of Critical Planning Journal and as a student advisor to the Institute on Inequality and Democracy.

Between 2008-2010, Kenton led a community process to design-build a sustainable, agricultural greenhouse (964 sq ft) for Marlboro College. This included facilitating a community design process, fundraising, sustainable material sourcing (salvaging glass, gathering stones, and harvesting/milling local timber), and permitting. For this, he was awarded the William Davisson Prize “for extraordinary contributions to the Marlboro Community.”


Kenton’s dissertation research has been funded by the (1) Study Foundation of the Berlin House of Representatives, (2) John Randolph Haynes Foundation, (3) DADD: German Academic Exchange Service, (4) American Institute of Contemporary German Studies (Johns Hopkins University), (5) Network for a New Political Economy (UC Berkeley), and (6) University of California Humanities Research Institute (UC Irvine).


2022. “From the Streets to the Statehouse: How Tenant Movements Affect Housing Policy in Los Angeles and Berlin.” Housing Studies 0, no. 0. 1–27.

2011. Democratic Social Architecture or Experimentation on the Poor?: Ethnographic Snapshots.” Design Philosophy Papers 9.3 (2011): 217-234.

2011. Constructing “Social Architecture”: The politics of representing practice. (with Paul Jones) Architectural Theory Review 16.3 (2011): 228-244.


2022. Why Abolition Now? Reflecting on 2020 with Scholar-Activists Brianna Byrd, Camilla Hawthorne, and Dylan Rodriguez. (with California Economists Collective) Interface: a journal for and about social movements

2021. The (Online) Politics of Housing in the United States: Decoding Debates on ‘Housing Twitter’. (with Andre Comandon) Ziman Center for Real Estate. Working Papers.

2020. Contradictions of housing commons: between middle class and anarchist models in Berlin. (eds. Derya Ozkan and Guldem Baykal) Commoning the City: Empirical Perspectives on Urban Ecology, Economics, and Ethics. Routledge.

2019. Bernie Should Declare Housing a Human Right. (with Jan Breidenbach) Jacobin Magazine.

2019. Urban Commons. (eds. Helga Leitner, Jamie Peck, and Eric Sheppard) Urban studies inside-out: theory, method, practice. Sage.

2019. Grounding the housing question in land: On Anne Haila’s Urban land rent: Singapore as a property state. (with Joe Daniels, Andre Comandon) (eds. Helga Leitner, Jamie Peck, and Eric Sheppard) Urban studies inside-out: theory, method, practice. Sage.

2019. Comparing cities through quantification: on Storper et al’s The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies. (with Joe Daniels, Andre Comandon) (eds. Helga Leitner, Jamie Peck, and Eric Sheppard) Urban studies inside-out: theory, method, practice. Sage.

2018. Thinking Across Tactics of Tenant Movements: Los Angeles and BerlinProgressive City.

2017. On Resistance to Extraction. Critical Planning Journal. Volume 23.

2017. Multi-Ethnic Tenant Movements in Los Angeles and Berlin. American Institute of Contemporary German Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

2016. Black Banishment and Real Community at Skid Row. (with Pete White) Interviews with Urban Color-Lines Activists, Institute on Inequality and Democracy.


Geographies of Racial Capitalism with Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Antipode Foundation) (Portugal, 2020)
Erik Swyngedouw: Politics and the Political (Germany, 2012)
Berlin’s Urban Fights (Germany, 2012)
Architecture for the Underserved (Texas & Alabama, 2010)
Firebreak Project (Detroit, Michigan, 2008)


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