Dana Cuff

cityLAB director • UCLA faculty • PhD Architecture (UC Berkeley)
BA Psychology and Design (UC Santa Cruz)

Dana Cuff is a professor, author, and practitioner in architecture. Her work focuses on affordable housing, modernism, suburban studies, the politics of place, and the spatial implications of new computer technologies. Cuff's research on postwar urbanism was published in a book titled The Provisional City (MIT 2000), and she recently edited Fast Forward Urbanism with Roger Sherman (Princeton Architectural Press 2011). She founded cityLAB in 2006, and has since concentrated her efforts around issues of the emerging metropolis. Dr. Cuff is widely published, the recipient of numerous fellowships, and lectures internationally.
(Photo Credit: Emelie Asplund)

Benjamin Leclair-Paquet

Associate Director, Urban Humanities Initiative • Dr.Sc. Architecture (ETH Zurich) • MS Dist. Urban Design in Development (UCL Bartlett) • BS Urbanism (U Montréal).

Benjamin Leclair-Paquet is the Associate Director of the Urban Humanities Initiative at UCLA, and is a principal of Atelier Jaeggi-Leclair. Prior to this, Ben was a curatorial researcher at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, researcher at ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, tutor at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit in London and resident fellow with Decolonizing Architecture in the West Bank. Building on his interests in urban history, urbanism in violent spaces and low-cost housing, he completed a doctoral project focused on housing and the politics of space in the Baltimore ghetto between 1920 and 1968. Ben’s work has been exhibited and published in Space and Polity, Architectural Research Quarterly, Trans, and Harvard Design Magazine.

Jane Blumenfeld

Senior Fellow

Jane Blumenfeld has been affiliated with cityLAB since its inception in 2006. Blumenfeld has nearly four decades of experience as a professional planner, primarily in the public sector, where until 2010 she was Acting Deputy Director of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning and Head of the Citywide Planning Division. Jane was instrumental in implementing some of Los Angeles's most innovative urban policies, including the Small Lot Ordinance and the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance. Her planning career has touched upon almost all major contemporary concerns, from smart growth and bicycle plans to sustainable building and transit-oriented development. Her contribution to cityLAB focuses primarily on affordable housing, and more particularly, backyard housing. She received her Masters of Urban Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.


Aaron Cayer

Senior Research Associate

Aaron Cayer is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Architecture at UCLA. Trained as an architect, Aaron holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in architecture and sociology from Norwich University in Vermont. He has served on the Board of Directors for the AIA of Vermont, practiced architecture in Germany, New York, and Vermont, and has presented urban and architectural research to a broad range of academic audiences. His research focuses on theories of practice within architecture, and his dissertation examines the economic and cultural forces surrounding the emergence of multi-firm architectural organizations during the 1970s and 1980s.

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Yang Yang

Senior Research Associate

Yang Yang is a doctoral candidate in Architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her M.Eng. in Urban Planning from Tongji University, Shanghai and M.S. in Urban Design from Technischen Universität Berlin. She has worked as a planner in Tongji Urban Planning & Design Institute, editor of Urban China Magazine, assistant curator for the 2015 West Bund Biennale on Urban Space and Art in Shanghai, and research coordinator of the Urban Humanities, UCLA. Her area of specialization is visionary urbanism with a focus on the intersection of architecture, urbanism, and art. Her dissertation investigates architecture’s socio-political power by tracing the restructuring of relationships between the individual and the collective within commodity housing practices in post-socialist Shanghai.

Josh Nelson

cityLAB Fellow, 2016-17

Josh is a current M.Arch I candidate at UCLA. He has performed academic and field research at UCLA about the role of infrastructure in the city and affordable housing in Los Angeles. Josh holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Maryland, College Park. Before moving to Los Angeles, Josh ran a screen printing business in Baltimore, MD. Josh’s current research interest lies in addressing the connections between multiple layers of the city, such as infrastructure, architecture, transportation, public space and urban ecologies. Josh supports an interdisciplinary approach to architecture and research informed by multiple perspectives to meet the complex needs of the city.

William Davis

Research Associate

William studied in Bristol, Rotterdam and Lund, gaining bachelors and masters degrees in graphic design and anthropology. His masters thesis linked the complex series of interactions between the research site of urban design, and the laboratory. The text looks at the complexity of architectural research in contrasting environments, it draws on first-hand fieldwork undertaken in Brazil and Switzerland. Prior to coming to UCLA William was visiting researcher at HKDI DESIS Lab, investigating urban density and self-built communities, and project member of Urban Transition Øresund (Malmö and Copenhagen municipalities). He has lectured, taught workshops and served in the jury at Hong Kong Design Institute, Hong Kong University, ETH Zürich, Malmö University, Berlin University of the Arts, Ardhi University Dar es Salaam and SESC São Paulo.

Jon Christensen

Senior Fellow • UCLA faculty • PhD History (Stanford)

Jon Christensen is an adjunct assistant professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, the Department of History, and the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a journalist-in-residence at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and a senior researcher in the California Center for Sustainable Communities, as well as a senior fellow at UCLA’s cityLAB. He is editor of Boom: A Journal of California, a quarterly magazine published by the University of California Press that brings scholars, researchers, journalists, writers, artists, photographers, policymakers, advocates, and the public into common conversations about California in the world. And he is a regular columnist at LA Observed. He is currently finishing a book entitled “Critical Habitat: A History of Thinking with Things in Nature” and is engaged in a multidisciplinary digital environmental humanities research project on nature in cities, as well as a large collaborative project to crowdsource a new, public environmental history of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jonathan Crisman

Research Affiliate, Urban Humanities Initiative

Jonathan Crisman works through several media and personas: he is Executive Director of 58-12 Design Lab, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which produces place-based research and media in order to creative positive social change; he is Principal of No Style, S. P., a proprietor of design goods and services whose value neutral approach finds that neat things can come from nearly anywhere; and he is part of Subjective Objective, an artistic endeavor whose aim is to give the harried contemporary subject a break. He holds an appointment in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA where he is Project Director for the Urban Humanities Initiative, and he holds degrees in geography, architecture, and urban planning from UCLA and MIT.

Roger Sherman

former cityLAB co-director • UCLA faculty • Licensed Architect
MArch (Harvard GSD) • BA Design of the Environment (U Penn)

Roger Sherman was co-founder of cityLAB in 2006 and co-Director until 2015, when he assumed his current position at Gensler architects to undertake urban design projects. As principal of Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design in Culver City, his work and research deals with how new modes of collective life may be produced by harnessing the self-organizing logics of cities. His book "LA Under the Influence: Negotiating the Complex Logic of Urban Property" (Univ of Minn.) uses game theory as a means of understanding the stakeholder dynamics of urban development, and its formal potentials. Most recently, he co-edited, with Dana Cuff, "Fast Forward Urbanism:Reconnecting Architecture and City" (Princeton) Mr. Sherman also organized and edited "RE American Dream: Six Housing Prototypes for Los Angeles" (Princeton 1995). His work has earned wide recognition, including in Newsweek and CNN, and at the 2010 Venice Biennale ("Playa Rosa") and 2009 Rotterdam Biennale ("Duck-and-Cover: Thinking Out of the Big Box"); and has received numerous awards, including form the AIA (RePark, FreshKills Landfill End Use Plan, Staten Island); and Railyard Park (a repurposed railyard-cum-public space in Santa Fe, NM).

Former cityLAB Associates

Katie Chuh
Ryan Conroy
Dr. Per-Johan Dahl
Christina Gray
Karen Kice
Kara Moore
Dami Olufowoshe
Dan Oprea
Ezekiel Reed
Carla Salehian
Dr. Linda Samuels
Kimberly Serrano
Emmanuel Soriano