Jesus J. Lara

  • Professor

294 Knowlton Hall
275 W Woodruff Ave
(614) 292-7452

Hamburg’s State Ministry for Urban Development and the Environment , Study Abroad Program 2017
Hamburg’s State Ministry for Urban Development and the Environment, Study Abroad Program 2017

Jesus J. Lara is a Professor in the Knowlton School's City and Regional Planning Section at Ohio State University.  His research and pedagogy are centered on sustainable urban design, Latino Urbanism, community development, and on the sociocultural factors which influence planning and design. He is both co-editor and principal contributor in Remaking Metropolis: Global Challenges of the Urban Landscape (Routledge, 2013). He is also the guest editor and contributor of a special issue of Journal of Urbanism entitled, “International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability in 21st Century American Cities.” Prof. Lara is also the lead curator and contributor with respect to the extensive literature review on Latino Urbanism found in the Oxford Bibliographies in Latino Urbanism. He is further the sole author of Latino Placemaking and Planning: Cultural Resiliency and Strategies for Re-urbanization (University of Arizona Press, 2018), a work which examines the application of the principles of Latino Urbanism in the revitalization of American cities.

Throughout his career Prof. Lara's research has focused broadly on topics related to emerging approaches to planning, design and development that responds to lifestyles, cultural preferences, and economic needs that are reflected in the built environment. This approach is evident in his current teaching, research and publications. Since joining the faculty in the City & Regional Planning program, he has built upon this foundation while narrowing his research into three primary subfields of planning enquiry. 1) Planning and placemaking for emergent immigrant communities, 2) Community development through service-learning education, and 3) Pedagogic approaches to sustainable urban design.

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. This work was funded by the German Academic Exchange Program (DAAD).

During the 2022-2023 academic year Prof. Lara was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award and a DAAD Research Stays for University Academics and Scientist Award for his project "A Place to Call Home: A study of the relationship between social change and the built environment, and the role of immigrant populations in the process sustainable urban design, informality and placemaking." During this time Prof. Lara was hosted at the Institute of Sustainable Urbanism (ISU) at the Technical University of Braunschweig and the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning at the Technical University Berlin where the taught courses and conducted research.



Meatpacking District, Copenhagen Denmark, Study Abroad Program 2019
Meatpacking District, Copenhagen Denmark, Study Abroad Program 2019

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.

As a teacher, Prof. Lara's goal is to influence and inspire students to become reflective, knowledgeable planning and design professionals and ultimately leaders who can effectively engage the communities they serve. His personal philosophy of teaching has been shaped by his life experiences, particularly those during my academic preparation, which have spanned several countries and two continents. Being trained as a landscape architect, urban planner, and environmental designer, his professional orientation embodies a form of transdisciplinary research and practice. Working in diverse settings has led him to an integrative approach to pedagogy, scholarship, and practice. He has learned from personal experiences that two very important elements are necessary for effective design, research, and teaching. The first is direct experience of a wide range of human and natural environments; the second is close observation and cultural immersion in those environments.

Selected Publications

Lara, J. J. (April 01, 2020). 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, 93. . Publisher

Lara, Jesus J., (2018) “Latino Placemaking and Planning: Cultural Resilience and Strategies for Re-Urbanization”. University of Arizona. Publisher

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

Chen, Q., Acey, C., & Lara, J. (2015). Sustainable Futures for Linden Village: A model for increasing social capital and the quality of life in an urban neighborhood. Sustainable Cities and Society. Publisher

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

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

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. Publisher

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. Publisher

Lara, J. J. (2009). “Sustainable Phoenix: Lessons from the Dutch Model”. In Visualizing Sustainable Planning. Series: X.media.publishing. Edited by Steinebach, Gerhard; Guhathakurta, Subhrajit; Hagen, Hans (Eds.). Berlin- Heidelberg, Germany: Springer. Publisher


CRP 3200 Fall 2017
CRPLAN 3200 Placemaking in an Age of Globalization,  Autumn 2017 
CRPLAN 2210 Sustainable Urbanism Fall BSCRP Elective
CRPLAN 3200 Placemaking in an Age of Globalization Fall/Spring BSCRP Core
CRPLAN 5461 Latino Urbanism and the Reinvention of the American City  Spring BSCRP/MCRP Elective
CRPLAN 5798 Study Abroad Program: European Cities and Sustainable Urban Planning Practices Summer BSCRP/MCRP Elective
CRPLAN 6430 Outlines of Urban Design Fall MCRP Elective
CRPLAN 4910/6920 Service-Learning Community Design Studio  Fall/Spring BSCRP/MCRP Core


Affiliated Faculty Positions

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