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Jesus J. Lara, PhD

  • Associate Professor, Master's Program Chair, City and Regional Planning Section
294 Knowlton Hall

Dr. Jesus J. Lara is an associate professor in the Knowlton School’s City and Regional Planning Section. Prof. Lara’s research in urban planning further examines the effects of social and economic inequity as it relates to ethnicity and how this influences access to social and cultural infrastructure and, consequently, the health and well-being of individuals and communities His teaching, research, and community service emphasize a social consciousness that focuses on enhancing the built environment’s ability to generate social capital. Prof. Lara’s pedagogy addresses global issues in planning and research that is site appropriate and involves student and community involvement. This approach is critical to his community service, research, teaching and scholarly work, and creates an academic agenda that seeks to balance social, cultural and ecological needs in producing a more sustainable urban environment. This perspective is reflected in the research and design topics of his studies, seminars, and course work. His interdisciplinary education and professional experience allow him to draw from related disciplines, as well as to work in diverse teams and settings.

Prof. Lara received a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from California State Polytechnic University in 1994, a Master’s in both Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture from the University of Southern California in 2001, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning from Arizona State University in 2006. He was a Fulbright Fellow at Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University, the Netherlands, between 2003 and 2004, where he conducted research on sustainable urban design practices. Between 2014 and 2015 Prof. Lara was a visiting professor at the Institute for European Urban Studies (IfEU) at Bauhaus Universität, Weimar, Germany.

Affiliated Faculty Positions

Center for Latin American Studies
Latina/o Studies
Sustainability Institute
Humanitarian Engineering Center


CRPLAN 2210: Sustainable Urbanism 
CRPLAN 3200: Place Making 
CRPLAN 4461: Latino Urbanism and the Reinvention of the American City 
CRPLAN 5798: Planning Study Abroad 
CRPLAN 6430: Urban Design 

Recent Work

Remaking Metropolis

"Think Globally, Act Locally" is an oft used phrase to encourage citizens to take steps close to home as part of addressing overarching environmental issues. Critics of this view point to the potential for parochial or even myopic approaches, while supporters argue that it creates both a more sustainable and a more culturally grounded environment. Remaking Metropolis brings together real world experiences that combine local action with a global world view, to demonstrate the continuum between the local and the remote.

Selected Publications

Lara, Jesus J. “Problem-Based solutions from the classroom to the Community: Transformative approaches to mitigate the impacts of boom-and-bust in declining urban communities.” Land Use Policy.


Lara, J. J., & Evans-Cowley J. S. (2016). "Internationalization of Urban Design Education." Journal of Urban Design. Vol. 21, no. 5: 3.


Lara, Jesus J. (2014). “Latino Urbanism.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Latino Studies. Ed. Ilan Stavans. New York: Oxford University Press.


Chen, Q., Acey, C., & Lara, J. (2014). Sustainable Futures for Linden Village: A model for increasing social capital and the quality of life in an urban neighborhood. Sustainable Cities and Society.


Cook, E., & Lara, J. J. (2013). Remaking metropolis: global challenges of the urban landscape. New York, NY, Routledge.


Lara, J. J. (2012). Patterns and forms of Latino cultural landscapes: southwest Detroit, a case of incremental re-adaptive use. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 5, 139-156.


Lara, J. J. (2012). Latino Urbanism: placemaking in 21st-century American cities. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 5, 95-100.