Commitment to Social Justice
The faculty, staff, and students in the UCLA Department of Urban Planning are committed to recognizing, addressing, and eliminating all forms of inequality and discrimination in our program and in the planning profession. This includes racism, poverty, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, religious persecution, ableism, and other forms of oppression. We encourage and support increasing diversity among our students, staff, and faculty by including and amplifying the voices of people from traditionally marginalized and underrepresented groups, particularly people of color and from low-income backgrounds. Through advancing equality of representation within our school, we increase the breadth of ideas, perspectives, and knowledge while more accurately reflecting the communities that the urban planning profession needs to serve. Contemporary urban problems are rooted in historical patterns of social exclusion and violence, making the need for our commitment to diversity in our program, and the planning profession, indispensable and essential. As such, we are explicitly committed to recruiting, admitting, and supporting people from historically marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds in order to promote social justice within our department, the field of planning, and in the cities and regions we work to improve.
Diversities, Disparities, and Difference (D3)
The Diversity, Disparities, and Difference (D3) Initiative at UCLA Luskin launched in 2014 by former Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. as part of UCLA’s effort to build a more equitable environment on campus. The D3 Initiative aims to create a cohesive strategy to bridge differences, understand our diverse society, and confront disparities in the field of public affairs.
The D3 Initiative aims to:
- Enhance student admissions and faculty searches by championing more diverse applicant pools;
- Institutionalize programming that offers a critical understanding of social inequity while establishing connections with the greater community;
- Strengthen student collaboration and cohort interaction for a more inclusive school climate.
View D3’s programs, fellowships, and opportunities here.
Courses with Diversity Context
219. Special Topics in Built Environment- Urban Design Justice
Lecture, three hours. Understanding interrelated nature of envisioning and intervening in urban space and possibilities of social justice. Coverage of primary lineages of urban design thinking; ideas about social justice and city; conflicted place of design between theory and practice, and among professions and disciplinary fields of built environment; new frontiers in design, particularly with respect to globalization and climate change; and relationship of design with specific urban spatial injustices of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Exploration of how urban design can look to and learn from other movements for and imaginaries of justice, such as Afrofuturism and decolonization. Designed primarily as a reading course, students participate fully in reading, explaining, and critiquing core literature, as well as guiding framing of additional readings throughout. S/U or letter grading.
222A. Introduction to Planning History and Theory
Lecture, three hours; discussion, 90 minutes. Required of first-year MURP students, typically in Fall Quarter; required of first-year PhD students who have not completed comparable graduate course in planning history and theory. Exploration of planning thought and practice over time, leading authors and key issues in field of planning, traditional and insurgent histories of planning, and alternative approaches to planning for multiple and pluralistic publics. Letter grading.
239. Special Topics in RID – Urban Politics in the Global South
Lecture, three hours. Examination of urban politics in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with focus on comparative analysis. Overall focus on institutions, government, and politics, and how these shape urban life in global South. Topics may include decentralization; public service provision; rule of law and urban violence; participatory institutions; mass mobilization; local campaigns and elections; environmental issues; transportation; housing; and race, ethnicity, and representation. S/U or letter grading.
241. Policing through Bureaucracy: Encounters with City and State
Lecture, three hours. Every day, people encounter state power through their contact with bureaucracies. Bureaucracies administer and regulate many aspects of our lives, including education, housing, social benefits, and mobility. Examination of role of bureaucracies in emergence of, persistence of, and experience of social inequality. Exploration of dilemmas that bureaucrats face as they do their jobs, and experiences of people who interact with bureaucrats either voluntarily or involuntarily. Consideration of how peoples’ experiences of bureaucracies are stratified by race and social class, and reflection on how experiences with bureaucracies convey messages about race, citizenship, and belonging. Letter grading.
249. Special Topics in Transportation – Just Transport and Inclusive Economies: Land Use and Financing Strategies to Create Equitable Transit-Oriented Communities
Lecture,three hours. Examination of transit-supportive land development and finance issues. Focus on strategies that planners can use to promote inclusive transit-oriented communities and support equitable economic development. S/U or letter grading.
297. Abolition Planning
Seminar, two hours. Focus on how planners can mobilize their knowledge, skills, networks, and influence to address restriction of civil liberties and human rights during current moment of political upheaval. Examination of how planners, local activists, community organizations, and other justice-oriented groups in Los Angeles area respond in present moment of political transition, and how students can support their work. S/U grading.
223. Critical Race Studies
Seminar, three hours. Focus on foundation of critical race theory (CRT), and other theoretical works focusing on racism and racialization, as applied to public policy, social welfare, and urban planning. Review of causes and symptoms of structural racism and social/racial hierarchies as they influence, and are influenced by, these three fields. Students are expected to be prepared and ready to engage in dialog by completing readings, developing questions, reflecting on material, and keeping up with current events related to course topics. Letter grading.
M236A. Theories of Regional Economic Development I
(Same as Geography M230A and Public Policy M240.) Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Introduction to theories of location of economic activity, trade, and other forms of contact between regions, process of regional growth and decline, reasons for different levels of economic development, relations between more and less developed regions. Letter grading.
243. Urban Futures: Space, Ecology, Society
Lecture, three hours. Urban social and ecological change are intertwined and coproduced. Inquiry into how we can better understand and intervene in this critical relationship, in global context of technological promise, extensive urbanization, ecological crises, and increasingly isolationist and splintered societies. Examination of big problems, and big ideas and big plans that may be necessary to address them as well as what enables large-scale urban environmental projects to be conceived and implemented. Letter grading.
M250. Transportation and Land Use: Urban Form
(Same as Public Policy M220.) Lecture, three hours. Historical evolution of urban form and transportation systems, intrametropolitan location theory, recent trends in urban form, spatial mismatch hypothesis, jobs/housing balance, transportation in strong central city and polycentric city, neotraditional town planning debate, rail transit and urban form. Letter grading.
M265. Environmentalisms: Climate Dimensions and Politics Past, Present, Future
(Same as Geography M265.) Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Review of environmental theories and their practices in dynamic U.S. and international contexts. Issues of climate change, scenario planning, and matrix ecology and its implications in both urban and rural settings. Exploration of problematics of increasing internationalization (or international implications) of environmental practices as part of both green and black economies. What does integrated environmental planning look like in this century? Letter grading.
269-1. Special Topics in EAP – Climate Change and Everyday Fragility
Identification of some factors associated with climate change. Students look at various regions and their specific risks and possible problem-solving approaches. Examination of case studies at regional level to see what can be learned from existing efforts. Consideration of specific issues around poverty, inequality, and exclusion, and how these relate to climate threats; as well as approaches to adaptation, mitigation, and disaster response and relief. Overall frame of everyday fragility–how people experience different types of insecurity in specific contexts, and how climate change will shift some of these dynamics. S/U or letter grading.
269-2. Special Topics in EAP – Environmental Justice
Examination of environmental inequality and environmental racism, with focus on context of global climate change. Through lens of current problems at intersection of justice and environment, study covers past, present, and possible futures of environmental and climate justice movements, theory, and practice. Students learn concepts and tools to analyze and address linked environmental and social issues facing unequal cities in increasingly unstable climate. S/U or letter grading.
285. Built Environment and Health
Lecture, three hours. Exploration of important linkages between urban-built environment and public-health outcomes using ecological, urban planning, and community-based lenses through theory and series of case studies. Knowledge of these linkages is used to propose ecological solutions to issues at nexus of built environment and public health. Letter grading.
M291. Introduction to Sustainable Architecture and Community Planning
(Same as Architecture and Urban Design CM247A.) Lecture, three hours. Relationship of built environment to natural environment through whole systems approach, with focus on sustainable design of buildings and planning of communities. Emphasis on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and appropriate use of resources, including materials, water, and land. Letter grading.
297. Current Issues in Urban Planning – Dimensions of Transportation Equity
Units: 1.0 to 4.0
Seminar, two or three hours. Topics to be examined include: the historical context for existing transportation inequities, transportation issues affecting vulnerable populations and communities, equity considerations for transitioning to a low-carbon transportation system (e.g., access to electric vehicles), and the challenges posed by COVID-19 on mobility advocacy and transportation services in vulnerable populations. S/U grading.
211. Law and Quality of Urban Life
Lecture, three hours. Introduction to law as urban system, directed primarily toward those interested in intersection of law and policy: broad array of urban issues examined, as is law’s role as partial cause and cure of urban problems. Examination of law as changing process rather than collection of principles, so that students develop facility to interact with law and lawyers in positive and forceful manner. S/U or letter grading.
232. Disaster Management and Response
Lecture, three hours. Through readings and presentations, examination of disaster management and response in both U.S. and developing countries. Exploration of how disaster impacts and risk reduction both relate to economic, vulnerability, and political factors, in addition to acts of nature. Structured to allow students to focus on distinct disaster contexts and themes as set out in reading and weekly sessions. Letter grading.
239. Special Topics in RID: Political Economy of Development
Lecture, three hours. Introduction to new approaches to urban studies, basic concepts and analytical approaches of urban political economy, with major emphasis on American urban problems and restructuring of modern metropolis. Topics include historical geography of urbanization, development and transformation of urban spatial structure, suburbanization and metropolitan political fragmentation, urban fiscal crisis, and role of urban social movements. S/U or letter grading.
M236B. Globalization and Regional Development
(Same as Geography M230B.) Lecture, three hours. Requisite: course M236A. Application of theories of regional economic development, location, and trade learned in course M236A to contemporary process known as globalization. Examination of nature and effects of globalization on development, employment, and social structure, along with implications for policy. Letter grading.
242. Poverty and Inequality
Lecture, three hours. Examination of relationship between urbanization and spatial inequality in U.S.–spatial dynamics of urban growth, levels and causes of spatial inequality, and implications of spatial inequality for low-income communities. Topics include concentrated poverty, residential segregation, immigrant neighborhoods, spatial disparities in access to opportunities, housing mobility, neighborhood health and safety, urban infrastructure, and political cohesion and participation. Analysis of role of policies in promoting and/or reducing spatial inequities. Letter grading.
249. Special Topics in Transportation – Colonial and Decolonial Transportation
This four-part course uses humanist approaches to examine deep histories of mobility cultures and transportation phenomena. Our study will contextualize social, political and naturecultural aspects of contemporary transportation systems, and envision decolonial futures. The first two parts of the course will focus on secondary literature (including scholarly writing, fiction, film and photography): in Part 1, on diverse and Indigenous mobilities; and in Part 2, on colonial/modern mobilities. The final two parts of the course will emphasize primary sources and students will conduct original research using transdisciplinary methods presented in class. In Part 3, students will critically investigate everyday contemporary mobility technologies and cultures. In Part 4, the course will culminate in a final group project wherein students will develop proposed interventions for decolonizing transportation. S/U or letter grading.
257. Transportation and Economic Outcomes
Lecture, three hours. Examination of equity issues related to urban transportation, with focus on complex relationships among urban spatial structure, transportation (travel patterns and transportation investments), and economic outcomes. Role of transportation in improving economic outcomes for low-income and minority households and communities. Letter grading.
260A. Environmental Assessment: Urban Design
Lecture, three hours. Lecture, three hours. Introduction to methods of evaluating the environmental impacts of existing and proposed projects. Intended for planners and environmental professionals working in a climate-impacted future. Letter grading.
271A. Community Economic Development
Lecture, three hours. Introduction to fundamentals of community economic development and neighborhood development strategies. Overview of basic approaches, important concepts, resources and language of field, and major strategies for revitalization of low-income neighborhoods. Letter grading.
279. Seminar: Public Space
Seminar, three hours. Investigation of changes in production, consumption, design, and meaning of public space and analysis of socioeconomic, political, and cultural factors that lie behind them. Letter grading.
280. Affordable Housing Development
Lecture, three hours. Requisites: courses 220A, 220B. Overview of basic concepts and skills utilized in nonprofit development initiatives, especially by community-based organizations. Focus on nonprofit provision of subsidized housing, emphasizing way professionals broker debt and equity funding from private, governmental, and philanthropic sources. Use of client projects and negotiation exercises. S/U or letter grading.
281. Introduction to History of Built Environment in U.S.
Lecture, two hours; discussion, one hour. Open to advanced undergraduates with consent of instructor. Introduction to history of physical forms of urbanization in America; survey of economic, political, social, and aesthetic forces behind creation of built environments. S/U or letter grading.
The MURP classes graduating in of 2022 and 2023 consists of 41% under-represented minorities among domestic students, including 31% who identify as Latinx, 8% as Black/African American, and 5% as American Indian/Alaska Native. 65% are California Residents, 28% are Non-California Residents, and 7% are International. 65% identify as women, 32% as men, and 2% identify as non-binary. 41% identify as First-Generation college graduates.