The mission of the UCLA Luskin Latin American Cities Initiative is to develop and deepen knowledge networks among students, educators, and professionals in the arena of urban planning and policy in South, Central, and North America. At present, its scope covers three groups of activities:

1) teaching and public events at UCLA and Casa de California in Mexico City

2) connecting with and coordinating academic and professional networks to enhance the knowledge base in urban planning and policy

3) individual student research and internships.

The teaching will feature an annual speaker series – bringing scholars and practitioners from Latin America to UCLA – under the umbrella of a seminar course, and multiple courses on cities in Latin America including a studio course in which students will travel to Latin America to carry out research. Additionally, we will organize a symposium at the Casa de California in Mexico City in the Spring Quarter to highlight student work and solidify connections with professional and academic networks.

At present, we are focusing on identifying and establishing connections with academic and professional networks across the region, and beginning to invite scholars from Latin America to UCLA. As the initiative grows, we will seek to serve as a networking and information portal for groups and individuals. and to fund collaborative research projects.

Finally, the initiative will sponsor travel to Latin America for some UCLA student capstone projects and summer internships, which focus on areas of thematic interest for the initiative or have exceptional promise. We also seek to connect UCLA Luskin students with counterparts at universities in Latin America to promote collaborative projects.


The Latin American Cities Initiative at UCLA Luskin supports educational collaborations around urban policy and planning. Please consider how you can support our vision.


Paavo Monkkonen

Director, Ciudades@Luskin
Vice Chair, Department of Urban Planning
Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy


Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley
MPP in Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles

More About Monkkonen

It is with great excitement that we launch the Latin American Cities Initiative at UCLA Luskin. Los Angeles shares an early history of urbanization with many cities across the Americas, with a colonial development under the guidelines of the Laws of the Indies. Today Los Angeles is home to millions from across Latin AmericaBecause of this shared history and present, and because of the potential for urban learning across the region, we established the Latin American Cities Initiative at UCLA to build and strengthen ties to academic and professional counterparts in South, Central, and North America working on urban planning and policy.

We hope that this initiative is the beginning of something larger that deepens connections and intellectual exchange with students, educators, and professionals across North, Central and South America. The Initiative is not topic-driven. Urbanists can learn from one another’s experiences with issues ranging from public space, mobility, historical preservation, and redevelopment, to indigeneity, local democracy, integration and local public finance.

As the initiative grows, we will work to develop our networks of knowledge and practice through collaboration among students, scholars, and practitioners at UCLA and across Latin America. We seek to fund student research collaborations between students at UCLA and universities in Latin America, host an annual seminar series, and organize workshops and other events to stimulate conversations around urban issues in Latin America.

The Luskin Latin American Cities Initiative will grow from the ideas and actions of our students and networks. We hope you will participate!

Selenne Galeana Cruz

Postdoctoral Fellow, Ciudades@Luskin


Ph.D. in Urbanism, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
MA in Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Guadalajara

Dinorah González

Urban Studies Foundation International Fellow, Ciudades@Luskin


PhD Social Sciences, Colegio de la Frontera Norte (Colef)
Master in Urbanism, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Fernanda Jahn Verri

Graduate Fellow, Ciudades@Luskin


BA in Architecture and Urbanism, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre – Brazil
Master in Urban and Regional Planning, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre – Brazil

More About Fernanda

Aurora Echavarria

Graduate Fellow, Ciudades@Luskin


MSc Urban Development Planning, University College London

BA in International Relations and Geography, George Washington University


Nestor Garza

Assistant Professor- California State University


PhD in Land Economy by the University of Cambridge
M.Sc. Economics by Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Veronica Herrera

Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Political Science- UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Soledad Guilera

Smart Cities Professor- School of Government, University Torcuato Di Tella

Chris Tilly

Professor and Department Chair of Urban Planning


B.A., Biochemistry, Harvard College, 1976;
Ph.D., Economics and Urban Studies and Planning, MIT, 1989

Amy Ritterbusch

Assistant Professor of Social Welfare, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Department of Social Welfare

Paloma Giottonini

Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, CSUN


Ph.D. in Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles
MUEP in Urban and Environmental Planning, Arizona State University

More About Paloma