Brian Garcia

 Brian Garcia, PhD, AICP, is a Visiting Scholar at the UCLA Department of Urban Planning. Brian’s work focuses on climate adaptation in housing, land use and transport. Dr. Garcia is working on a book on social democratic urbanism in Europe and California. 

Dr. Garcia was previously Assistant Professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in urban and regional planning where he taught housing, urban design, social justice and international planning. Brian has taught urban regeneration, transport planning and been a studio critic in urban design at the Bartlett, University College London (UCL). 

Dr. Garcia has been a visiting researcher at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Hong Kong University School of Social Work and Social Administration. He has advised the American Planning Association’s national policy guides on energy and smart growth. Brian has also been a Virtual Fellow for the United States Department of State. 

Brian is an urban designer with experience on large development projects in the United States, China, Hong Kong, India, Kazakhstan and Malaysia. In Los Angeles, Dr. Garcia has worked at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LAMetro) in Metro Art and Design as well as the Environmental Compliance and Sustainability Program. Prior to that, he worked as an architectural designer on a variety of projects including portions of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system and within the Executive Architect team for the Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s (OMA) Prada expansion. 

Dr. Garcia studied for his PhD at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London (UCL) and the Yale University School of Architecture. His field work took place in Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles and Medellin. Dr. Garcia’s PhD supervisor was Professor Sir Peter Hall. Brian holds degrees in architecture, art and urban planning. 

A native of Central California, Brian grew up aware of the importance of the environment and resource management. However, he was always fascinated with cities and their cultural institutions. These experiences motivated his interest in environmental policy and urban design. 

Recent Publications 

Garcia, B. (2021). Scanning for Cultural Competency in Online Urban Planning Programs. Urban Planning, 6(4), 273–282. https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v6i4.4574 

Garcia, B. (Autumn 2020). Urban Design Review in the Creative Milieu Los Angeles, Urban Design Group Journal, London, UK. https://www.udg.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/UD156_magazine.pdf 

Garcia, B., Density and Demographics in Los Angeles Transit-Oriented Development. Cities in the 21st Century the International Seminar on Urban Form, Held Online, Sep 1-4, 2020. https://doi.org/10.26051/0D-SYDT-ZXP2 

http://www.brianpgarcia.com/ 

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Claire Nelischer

I am a doctoral student in Urban Planning at UCLA, broadly interested in public space governance, civic participation, and urban design. My current research centers on questions of spatial justice in the production and management of urban parks, and the role of planners, designers, and communities in shaping shared public environments and outcomes. This work is supported by a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
I am interested in interdisciplinary approaches to public space research, and am a graduate of UCLA’s Urban Humanities certificate program and currently serve as a Graduate Student Researcher with cityLAB, an architecture and urban research think tank in UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Before pursuing doctoral studies, I worked in policy research, advocacy, and community engagement in Toronto and New York City, with a focus on the public realm. I hold a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography from Queen’s University.

Hao Ding

Hao Ding is a doctoral student in Urban Planning, focusing on urban design and transportation planning. His research interests include the equity and justice impacts of urban design regulations, the interaction between urban form and transportation, and transportation equity. His most recent works examine the effects of urban design and land use regulations on place identities in the Asian American ethnoburbs in Los Angeles, and the effects of conventional local transportation planning practices on housing production and affordability. He is also a Graduate Student Researcher at the Institute of Transportation studies, and has been involved in several research projects that study the past, present, and future of California’s land use and transportation systems, sexual harassment on public transit, homelessness in transit environments, and public transit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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.

Ana Maria Duran Calisto

Ana Maria Duran Calisto is an Ecuadorean architect, urbanist and environmental planner. She co-founded the design firm Estudio A0 in 2002 with her partner Jaskran (Jazz) Singh Kalirai in Quito, Ecuador, after receiving a Master of Architecture from PennDesign at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Liberal Arts Bachelor´s degree from Universidad San Francisco de Quito. The main pursuit of Estudio A0 is to develop environmentally responsible design and construction systems at all scales, by focusing on the possibilities of recycling, in situ clean energy production, water harvesting and reuse, high and low-tech hybrids, the investigation of local materials, and the reactivation of local ecologies. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Urban Planning at UCLA, under the advice of Professor Susanna Hecht. The focus of her research is the history of urbanization in the Amazon River basin.

Website: www.estudioa0.com
Contact: 424-361-8785

Carol Goldstein

Carol Goldstein is involved with planning and program development for cultural and human services as they intersect with land use, neighborhood economic development and community identity.

A former principal planner for the Community Redevelopment Agency in Los Angeles, she is a consultant to the public sector, non-profits and advocacy groups in communities throughout the U.S.

Professor Goldstein also is a faculty advisor for Cultivate LA, a research project that assesses the state of urban agriculture in Los Angeles. The project has won the APA California Chapter Award, as well as the APA Los Angeles Award.

At UCLA, Ms. Goldstein teaches physical planning courses and student client project courses for non-profit and public sector clients. Examples include:

“Cultivate L.A.: An Assessment of Urban Agriculture in Los Angeles County” for the University of California Cooperative Extension- LA (American Planning Association L A Chapter Student Project Award, 2014)

“Affirming Neighborhoods: Responsive Neighborhood Cultural Planning” for the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department (American Planning Association National Student Project Award, 1992)

“Elysian Park: New Strategies for Preservation of Historic Open Space Resources” for the Citizens’ Committee To Save Elysian Park (Los Angeles Conservancy Award, 1991 and California Preservation Foundation Award, 1991)

“Realizing a Community Dream: The Diverse Cultural Resources of the Anaheim Corridor” for the Public Corporation for the Arts/Long Beach Regional Arts Council (1995).

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris is Interim Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, a former Associate Dean, a Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning, and a core faculty member of the UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative.

Professor Loukaitou-Sideris’ research focuses on the public environment of the city, its physical representation, aesthetics, social meaning and impact on the urban resident. Her work seeks to integrate social and physical issues in urban planning and architecture. An underlying theme of her work is its “user focus”; that is, she seeks to analyze and understand the built environment from the perspective of those who live and work there. Dr. Loukaitou-Sideris’ research includes documentation and analysis of the social and physical changes that have occurred in the public realm; cultural determinants of design and planning and their implications for public policy; quality-of-life issues for inner city residents; transit security, urban design, land use, and transportation issues.

Recent and ongoing projects, funded in part by the U.S. and California Departments of Transportation, The California Department of Recreation and Parks, the Mellon Foundation, the Haynes Foundation, the Gilbert Foundation, and the Mineta Transportation Institute, include: documentation of varying patterns of use of neighborhood parks among different ethnic groups; proposals for the physical and economic retrofit of inner city commercial corridors, examination of gentrification and displacement in transit station neighborhoods, sexual harassment in transit environments, studies of transit security, and planning for parklets.

She has served as a consultant to the Transportation Research Board, Federal Highway Administration, Los Angeles Metro, Southern California Association of Governments, South Bay Cities Council of Government, Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, Project for Public Spaces, the Greek Government, and many municipal governments on issues of urban design, open space development, land use and transportation, and she has been commissioned to author research papers by the National Academies and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Loukaitou-Sideris is the author of numerous articles, the co-author of the books Urban Design Downtown: Poetics and Politics of Form (University of California Press, 1998), Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation over Public Space (MIT Press, 2009), Transit-Oriented Displacement or Community Divided? (MIT Press, 2019), and Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City (MIT Press 2020); and the co-editor of the books Jobs and Economic Development in Minority Communities (Temple University Press, 2006), Companion to Urban Design (Routledge, 2011), The Informal American City: Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor (MIT Press, 2014),  New Companion to Urban Design (Routledge, 2019), and Transit Crime and Sexual Violence in Cities: International Evidence and Prevention .

BOOKS

Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City.
Cuff, D., Loukaitou-Sideris, A., Presner, T., Zubiaurre, M., and Crisman, J., MIT Press (2020).

Transit Crime and Sexual Violence in Cities: International Evidence and Prevention
Ceccato, V., Loukaitou-Sideris, A., Routledge (2020).

Transit Oriented Displacement or Community Dividends?
Chapple, K., Loukaitou-Sideris, A., MIT Press (2019).

The New Companion to Urban Design
Banerjee, T., Loukaitou-Sideris, A., Routledge (2019).

“The Informal American City: Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor”
Edited by Vinit Mukhija and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris. (MIT Press 2014)

Companion to Urban Design
Banerjee, T. and Loukaitou-Sideris, A. (Eds.)
New York and London: Routledge (2011).

Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation over Public Space
Loukaitou-Sideris, A. and Ehrenfeucht, R., MIT Press (2009).

Jobs and Economic Development in Minority Communities
Ong, P. and Loukaitou-Sideris, A. (Eds.) Temple University Press (2006).

Urban Design Downtown: Poetics and Politics of Form
Loukaitou-Sideris, A. and Banerjee, T., University of California Press (1998).

Vinit Mukhija

Vinit Mukhija is a Professor of Urban Planning, the former Chair of the Department of Urban Planning, and has a courtesy appointment in Asian American Studies at UCLA. He is leading the Department of Urban Planning’s efforts to develop a new, one-year self-supporting graduate professional degree program in real estate development, which will situate real estate development pedagogy within a broader framework of politics, policy analysis, sustainability, and equity at the urban level.

Professor Mukhija’s research focuses on housing and the built environment. He is known for his scholarship on cities and the informal economy, affordable housing and urban design, and the redevelopment and upgrading of informal housing. It spans 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 the Global South and the Global North can learn from the everyday and informal city.

Professor Mukhija is interested in both spatial and institutional transformations. Initially, he focused on the Global South, particularly Mumbai, India, and demonstrated the value of slum-dwellers’ participation and input in housing interventions, including their contrarian support for the redevelopment of their slums. He published these findings in his first book, Squatters as Developers? (Ashgate 2003), which was reissued in paperback (Routledge 2017).

More recently, he has focused on informal housing and urbanism issues in the Global North, including unpermitted trailer parks, bootleg apartments, and garage conversions without permits. Most of this research is based on fieldwork in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. To draw attention to the growing prevalence and challenges of urban informality in the U.S., he co-edited a book, The Informal American City, with his colleague Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris (MIT Press 2014). The book questions the conventional association of informal economic activities with developing countries and immigrant groups in developed countries. It also makes a case for a spatial understanding of urban informality. It includes Professor Mukhija’s chapter on the widespread prevalence of unpermitted second units on single-family-zoned lots in Los Angeles.

Along with colleagues Kian Goh and Loukaitou-Sideris, his recent edited book, Just Urban Design: The Struggle for a Public City (MIT Press, November 2022), presents the idea of inclusive urban life as a condition of justice and emphasizes the potential contributions of urban design to spatial justice through the “publicness” of cities. In a chapter on unpermitted secondary suites in Vancouver, which are surprisingly present in one-third of the city’s single-family houses because the built form of semi-basements makes adding informal units very easy, he examines how the units have been legalized with residents’ support, particularly Chinese Canadian and Indo-Canadian immigrants.

Professor Mukhija expanded his work in the two edited volumes on unpermitted second units into a new book, Remaking the American Dream: The Informal and Formal Transformation of Single-Family Housing Cities (MIT Press, 2022). He examines how the detached single-family home, which has long been the basic building block of most U.S. cities—not just suburbs—is changing in both the American psyche and the urban landscape. In defiance of long-held norms and standards, single-family housing is slowly but significantly transforming through incremental additions, unpermitted units, and gradual institutional reforms of once-rigid, local land use regulations. He argues that informal housing is vital in helping disadvantaged households access affordable housing and is not limited to immigrant communities from the Global South. Nonetheless, urban informality affects wealthy and less affluent families differently. Low-income and working-class residents, including immigrants, disproportionately bear the burdens of risky housing. The safe housing available on the formal market is unaffordable for the less fortunate, while affordable informal housing can often be dangerous.

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 teaching awards at UCLA (2007, 2009, and 2013). His current teaching portfolio includes planning studios; “Introduction to Physical Planning,” a core course for students in the MURP program’s Design and Development area of concentration; “Informal City: Research and Regulation,” a seminar course that combines readings from the Global South and fieldwork-based case studies by students of informal economic activities in the Global North; and the “Comprehensive Project,” a group capstone option for MURP students. He recently taught the Comprehensive Project twice in partnership with Pacoima Beautiful (https://www.pacoimabeautiful.org/). The full and summary reports can be accessed here: https://knowledge.luskin.ucla.edu/2019/02/21/cnk-collaborates-on-transformative-climate-communities-effort/

Professor Mukhija has advised the Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Bangalore, on course and curriculum development. His other community and public service contributions include past membership on the Board of Directors of LA-Más, a Los Angeles-based urban design nonprofit organization; the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, a community organizing, research, legal representation, and policy advocacy nonprofit organization focused on California’s low income, rural regions; and the Los Angeles Area Neighborhood Initiative (LANI), a nonprofit organization focused on community-based urban revitalization strategies; serving as the Chair of the Global Planning Educators Interest Group (GPEIG) within the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP); and as current/past editorial advisory board member of the Journal of Planning Education and Research, the Global Built Environment Review, Architecture and Culture, and the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Books

Mukhija, V., 2022, Remaking the American Dream: The Informal and Formal Transformation of Single-Family Housing Cities, MIT Press, Cambridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goh, K., A. Loukaitou-Sideris, and V. Mukhija, 2022, Just Urban Design: The Struggle for a Public City, MIT Press, Cambridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mukhija, V. and A. Loukaitou-Sideris, 2014, The Informal American City: Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor, MIT Press, Cambridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mukhija, V., 2017, Squatters as Developers? Slum Redevelopment in Mumbai, Routledge, London. [Original edition: 2003, Ashgate, Aldershot, England (Studies in Development Geography Series of King’s College and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London).]