Gus Wendel

Gus Wendel began the Ph.D program in Urban Planning in the fall of 2020. His research is broadly concerned with the intersection of race, gender and sexuality, urban design and governance, and neighborhood change. In his concurrent role as the Assistant Director of cityLAB-UCLA, Gus oversees several design-research projects examining the links between housing insecurity, long-distance commuting, and public space access and use. Gus also manages the multi-year Mellon Foundation award to the Urban Humanities Initiative, where he also co-produces the Digital Salon and is involved in teaching and research. Prior to UCLA, Gus worked for the Oregon Secretary of State and advocated for LGBTQ rights in the state of Oregon. Gus has a Master in Urban and Regional Planning from the Luskin School of Public Affairs and a BA in International Relations and Italian Studies from Brown University.

Kenton Card

Kenton Card is a filmmaker, teacher, and PhD Candidate in the Department of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. His work has long investigated how housing is nested within structural social, economic, gender, and racial inequalities. Kenton draws primarily on the methods of participant observation, policy analysis, and documentary filmmaking. He is currently a Dissertation Research Grantee from the German Academic Exchange Service, Guest Scholar at the Freie Universität Berlin, and a Visiting Researcher at the Berlin Social Science Research Center.



Kenton’s dissertation compares housing politics in Los Angeles and Berlin, focusing on rental housing policy, social movements, and interest group lobbying. He investigates the process by which tenants, landlords, and government officials influence rent control policymaking, and how, why, and to what end these agents employ particular strategies to influence policy outcomes.



Kenton’s dissertation is tentatively titled “Comparing Housing Policymaking Across Racial Capitalist Regimes.” His dissertation committee is comprised of Chris Tilly (chair), Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Michael Storper, Allan Heskin (emeritus), and Desiree Fields (outsider). Kenton is supported in Berlin by Antonie Schmiz (FU), Jutta Allmendinger (WZB), and Margit Mayer (FU & TU Berlin). For his comprehensive examination, Kenton studied under Ananya Roy (previous-chair), Paul Ong, Chris Tilly, and Eric Sheppard.



Kenton has actively engaged in and researched place-based pedagogy as a strategy of spatial praxis beyond the university. For instance, in 2018 and 2020 he worked as a Teaching Assistant on scholar-activist/community-university research projects: for Jan Breidenbach on the UCLA Labor Center’s Community Scholars’ “Do Bills Build Homes? An Assessment of California’s 2017 Housing Package on Addressing the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles County”; and later for Sandra McNeill on the UCLA Department of Urban Planning’s Community Collaborative’s “De-Commodifying Housing During Covid-19.”


In 2012, Kenton co-launched a research collective called The City and the Political at The Public School, Berlin. His early research revealed unintended consequences of public interest architectural design-build programs across the USA. In 2008-2010 Kenton led a two-year project to design and build an agricultural greenhouse (964 sq ft) for Marlboro College, which included leading a community design process, fundraising initiative, and a sustainable construction process by salvaging materials and harvesting/milling timber.



Kenton is a member of the California Economists Collective. He has also worked as a filmmaker for the Antipode Foundation, as the former Managing Editor of Critical Planning Journal, and as a student advisor to the Institute on Inequality and Democracy. Finally Kenton’s past advocacy experience includes working for Housing California and the Planning and Conservation League.



Card, Kenton. “Contradictions of Housing Commons: Between Middle Class and Anarchist Models in Berlin.” In Commoning the City: Empirical Perspectives on Urban Ecology, Economics, and Ethics, edited by Derya Ozkan and Guldem Baykal. Routledge, 2020.

Card, Kenton. “Urban Commons.” In Urban Studies Inside-out: Theory, Method, Practice., edited by Helga Leitner, Jamie Peck, and Eric Sheppard. Sage, 2019.

Card, Kenton, Andre Comandon, and Joseph A. Daniels. “Grounding the Housing Question in Land: On Anna Haila’s Urban Land Rent.” In Urban Studies Inside/Out: Theory, Method, Practice, edited by Helga Leitner, Jamie Peck, and Eric Sheppard. SAGE Publications Inc, 2019.

Card, Kenton, and Jan Breidenbach. “Bernie Should Declare Housing a Human Right.” Jacobin Magazine, August 5, 2019.

Card, Kenton. “Thinking Across Tactics of Tenant Movements: Los Angeles and Berlin.” Progressive City, February 5, 2018.

Jones, Paul, and Kenton Card. “Constructing ‘Social Architecture’: The Politics of Representing Practice.Architectural Theory Review 16, no. 3 (2011): 228–244.

Card, Kenton. “Democratic Social Architecture or Experimentation on the Poor?: Ethnographic Snapshots.” Design Philosophy Papers 9, no. 3 (2011): 217–234.



Geographies of Racial Capitalism with Ruth Wilson (Antipode Foundation)
Berlin’s Urban Fights 
Architecture for the Underserved
Erik Swyngedouw: Politics and the Political
Firebreak Project



Darin Christensen

Darin Christensen is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received his Ph.D. in political science and M.A. in economics from Stanford University.

Darin studies political economy, focusing on institutions and policies that promote investment and mitigate social conflict in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. He has consulted on projects for The Asia Foundation, USAID, and The World Bank.

Darin is a co-founder of the Project on Resources and Governance (PRG) and an affiliate of several academic centers, including the California Center for Population Research, Center for Effective Global Action, Evidence in Governance and Politics, The Luskin Center for Innovation, and UCLA’s African Studies Center.

More information about his research and teaching can be found at