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News & Events

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning is always evolving. From the accomplishments of our students and alumni to the research efforts of faculty, we want to keep the USP community informed. Check back often for information on awards, accomplishments, and accolades. For student facing events please check the USP blog for the latest information on upcoming department and affiliated student organization events.


UC San Diego Student Team Wins NAIOP San Diego University Challenge


Bryan Fernandez Munoz, Taylor Kaczmarek, Jillian Sasaki, Alex Patterson, Liam Winstead, Andras Lengyel, Sophie Werwage, and Dasha Okolysheva

Congratulations to the UC San Diego NAIOP Team on its win at the 14th annual NAIOP San Diego University Challenge. The annual competition features student teams San Diego State University, University of San Diego, and UC San Diego in a real estate battle for the highest and best use redevelopment proposal for a real life site in San Diego.

The event, held April 17th, brought together the students in a head-to-head competition to determine the highest and best use of a real proposed site in San Diego County. Issues teams addressed included financing, transit-oriented issues, sustainable development, traffic patterns, community impact, feasibility and investment returns. The judging panel consists of nine senior level commercial real estate professionals. The teams defended their project privately in front of the committee and then presented to an audience of real estate professionals, industry leaders and fellow students.

NAIOP San Diego provides each team with professional industry resources such as a loan broker, title company, architects, construction estimators, land use attorney and an appraiser. With these resources student teams are challenged with the task of creating the most feasible, highest and best use of space. The location of the project is selected by committee and presented to the student teams 4 months in advance of the due date. The first presentation day is set as an investors’ meeting where student teams must pitch their concept to a panel of judges. The judges are able to ask questions and interview teams. 1/3 of the total score is based on the written proposal, 1/3 is based on the judges Q&A Interview and 1/3 is based on the oral presentation the following day.

For 2024 the competition site was the East Harbor Island Subdistrict. UCSD's winning proposal, SALT San Diego, included four distinct hospitality concepts (micro hotel, boat hotel, boutique and luxury accommodations), a new headquarters for the Port of San Diego, a bridge to the airport, an iconic recreation slope that would provide a recognizable icon to the area, as well as a lagoon and beach, a variety of transit options, and retail and entertainment options.

UC San Diego's team included Bryan Fernandez Munoz, Taylor Kaczmarek, Jillian Sasaki, Alex Patterson, Liam Winstead, Andras Lengyel, Sophie Werwage, and Dasha Okolysheva.  The team was comprised of a mix of juniors and seniors majoring in Real Estate and Development, Urban Studies and Planning, and Environmental Policy, with an accompanying mix of minors in Accounting, Business Economics, Finance, and Urban Studies and Planning. 

UC San Diego also won in 2023, and had back to back wins in 2020 and 2021.

Lecturer Mor Shilon and students in USP 165B publish website and documentary in partnership with the community of Logan Heights

USP honors students, faculty, and alumni at 2024 Urban Expo Awards Banquet

APRIL 2024: Each year, the Department of Urban Studies and Planning honors students with awards for scholarship, research, and service.

To honor the 2024 winners, USP hosted a banquet at UCSD's Great Hall with students, faculty, staff, and alumni in attendance. Award recipients included student presenters at this year's Urban Expo (pictured below), alumnus Betsy McCullough, and Professor Keith Pezzoli. 

USP Winter 2024 Colloquium Series: Documentary Film Screening / Panel / Farmworker Photography Exhibition – CASA Y COMUNIDAD: LATINO/A/X HOUSING IN OREGON

Friday, February 2 3:30-5:30pm, USP Studio PEB 104, Social Sciences Public Engagement Building / Ridge Walk Academic Complex

 Featuring the work of:

  • Dr. John C. Arroyo, Assistant Professor, UCSD Urban Studies and Planning and Chicanx and Latinx Studies
  • Nadya Barba-Ramirez, Photographer, Production Coordinator, and UOregon Law + Master’s in Public Admin. Student
  • Lucero Cortez, Assistant Director, Executive Producer, Editor 
  • Jacky Cortez-Fregoso, Camera Operator and Editor 

Detailed information about the film screening and photography exhibition linked here



USP Speaker Series: Dr. Julia von Mende to give lecture on the materiality of housing and eating practices in Germany


Professional headshot of Dr. Julia von Mende.  

USP has partnered with the Department of German Studies to host Dr. Julia von Mende, an architectural theorist and postdoc-fellow at Bauahus-Universitat Weimer, for an engaging conversation about empirical-methodological experiments that explore housing and eating practices and their physical-material aspects and effects in Germany. UCSD students, faculty, alum, and affiliates, as well as interested community members, are invited to attend. Friday, October 27th, 12:00pm - 2:00pm 


USP Assistant Professor Abigail Andrews publishes collective book about migrants' experiences with deportation

Join USP Associate Professor Abigail Andrews and her students on Thursday, October 5th from 5:30 - 7:00pm for the launch of her new collective book, Banished Men: How Migrants Endure the Violence of Deportation, published in collaboration with UCSD students and alumni. The group will discuss their experience working as a team of 30+ students in Tijuana and their findings on the devastating impacts of deportation, detention, and incarceration. RSVP here:



USP Assistant Professor John Arroyo produces and directs docuseries about Latino/a/x Communities and Housing in Oregon

USP is thrilled to share the official release of Casa y Comunidad: Latino/a/x Housing in Oregon, an oral-history based docuseries produced and directed by Assistant Professor John Arroyo, Ph.D., and an all-Latino/a/x youth team based in Oregon. Professor Arroyo’s innovative project focuses on the major housing issues affecting Latino/a/x essential workers in Oregon. To learn more and view this impactful series in its entirety, check out the trilingual web-based documentary for free on Youtube.

Casa y communidad


Two UC San Diego students awarded California Planning Foundation Scholarships

Congratulations to Adrian Ople (USP) and Kahlea Stanberry-McClendon (RED) for being awarded California Planning Foundation Scholarships! 
The CPF scholarship program awards scholarships to outstanding planning students enrolled at eligible professional planning degree programs in California. Criteria for the scholarships include academic performance, financial need, increasing diversity in the planning profession, and a commitment to serve the planning profession in California after graduation.

Two USP Department students selected for  newest cohort of Merritt Scholars program

zaira headshot.png Jazmin.png

 Zaira Moreno Vazquez                    Jazmin Vasquez

Congratulations to USP Department students Jazmin Vasquez (RED major, USP/Sociocultural Anthropology minors) and Zaira Moreno Vazquez (USP major, RED minor) for being selected as Merritt Scholars!

This program includes a $10,000 scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students, and a meaningful opportunity to learn more about the affordable housing field via access to a mentor, fully paid attendance at local and statewide industry conferences, and engagement with industry leaders. At the conclusion of the program, Merritt may assist scholars in obtaining a job in the affordable housing field. Learn more about the Merritt Scholars program here.


Professor Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell wins 2023 Planning Advocate award from the San Diego chapter of the American Planning Association


The San Diego chapter of the American Planning Association recognized Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell with the 2023 planning advocate award for her 'tremendous commitment to the planning profession in the San Diego/Imperial County region and her immense impact on the many students, staff, and professionals in planning.






Five USP Students awarded 2023 San Diego American Planning Assoication Student Scholarships

The USP Department is proud to announce that five of our students have been awarded 2023 Student Scholarships from the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association.  Congratulations to:

  • Haven Lo
  • Alice Nguyen
  • Adrian Ople
  • Daniel Sjoholm
  • Brandon Tran

Young Planners Society (YPS) hosts affordable housing tour

yps-tour.jpgOn Saturday, June 3, 2023, the Young Planners Society (YPS) hosted an affordable housing tour of San Diego led by Professor Mirle Rabinowitz-Bussell. She was joined by Professor Feiyang Sun and 27 students. Students were able to learn about what affordable housing looks like in different parts of San Diego including Downtown, Southcrest, Southeastern San Diego, and City Heights. They were also provided with a guided tour of the facilities of an affordable housing development in Southcrest built by Community HousingWorks. The facility tour was led by Chris Johnston, CHW's Vice President of Asset Management.
Thank you Professor Bussell for leading the tour and for sharing your knowledge of affordable housing in San Diego. Thank you Chris Johnston for the tour of Keeler Court Apartments. Lastly, thank you to the students who were able to join YPS for the tour and taking the time to engage with the great work being done in San Diego.

Coleen Frost '88, USP Alum, honored as the 2023 UC San Diego Outstanding Alumna


USP Alum Coleen Frost '88, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), was honored asthis year's Outstanding Alumna during the university's Alumni Celebration Weekend 2023.  The campus celebrated four extraordinary Tritons who are innovating new possibilities around the globe. Each of the individuals recognized represent what it means to be a Triton, actively contributing to advancing UC San Diego’s mission as a student-centered, research-focused, patient-centric and service-oriented public university.

“For more than four decades, UC San Diego has celebrated alumni who embrace our spirit of curiosity and seek to solve pressing societal issues,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “These honorees represent our global community of Triton changemakers who think further and challenge the status quo.”

Considered one of the nation’s leading land use and transportation planning experts, Coleen Frost ’88 is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of SANDAG – San Diego’s regional planning agency, responsible for an annual $1 billion budget. Working to reimagine a data-driven future where technology maximizes our transportation system, Frost has built her career around improving quality of life and bringing diverse perspectives together to achieve a greater good. She is actively involved at UC San Diego, mentoring the next generation of planners whenever possible.

Matthew Boomhower, AIA, Esq., USP Lecturer, Reappointed to San Diego Planning Commission 

Matthew C. Boomhower, AIA, Esq. was reappointed to the City of San Diego Planning Commission by a unanimous vote of the San Diego City Council on May 16, 2023. Matthew was originally appointed to the Planning Commission in 2019 by then Mayor Kevin Faulkner and was reappointed by Mayor Todd Gloria. He will serve a four-year term expiring in 2027.

Matthew is the founder and president of Southern Cross Property Consultants (SCPC) a construction management and land-use consulting firm based in San Diego. Matthew is a California licensed Architect with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Tennessee. Matthew holds a license as an Attorney in California and received his Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law. In addition to his work with SCPC, he maintains a boutique law practice at Boomhower Law, APC where he focuses on land-use and construction law and serves as outside counsel to closely held businesses.

Matthew teaches as an adjunct faculty member at the University of California, San Diego, Urban Studies and Planning Department on courses in real estate development and land-use.

Connecting Paradise Screening & Panel Discussion

UC San Diego students and local planning professionals, 66 attendees in total, gathered on April 17th at the UCSD Price Center Theater to watch the film Connecting Paradise and engage in a panel discussion featuring Brian Mooney, the film's director and producer, Diego Velasco, William Anderson, Howard Blackson, and Bruce Appleyard.  
The documentary film, Connecting Paradise, explores San Diego’s historic visions by examining public planning strategies beginning in the late 1800’s through today’s ambitious plans for the 21st Century. The film also examines the issues of leadership and diversity and the role they play in San Diego’s development. The film includes interviews with key participants in planning, designing, and writing about San Diego.  It was directed and produced by Brian Mooney with support from Rick Engineering, SANDAG and San Diego/Tijuana Urban Land Institute.  
The April 17th screening was a collaboration between the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the San Diego American Planning Association's Young & Emerging Planners Committee, and San Diego/Tijuana Urban Land Institute. 

Event recap: 2/10 Badiee Development Site Tour

Students from UCSD, USD, and SDSU were invited by Badiee Development in collaboration with CREW San Diego to a site tour of two developments in Otay Mesa. The projects were in different phases which gave students a unique look at the development process.  Students were able to learn about the specifics of the two industrial projects, the significance of altruism, fostering relationships, and other industry insights.
Thank you to Ben Badiee, President & CEO, and Scott Merry, VP of Construction, of Badiee Development for a very engaging and informative recent site tour.  Thank you to UCSD alum and Badiee Development Financial Analyst Logan Swanson for the invitation and Amanda M. Zimmerman, UCREW, and TREO for making this event a success.

Alihan Polat, USP Lecturer, Utilizes Digital Skills to Help Turkey Earthquake Victims

Alihan Polat grew up in Turkey. When he heard the news of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hitting Turkey and Syria, there was little information available and he didn’t know how to react at first. He found a Discord server of volunteers wanting to help and used his digital skills to help create an interactive tool that uses social media posts to connect resources with those who need them most.  The interactive map is one of several tools that the group from around the world has been able to create. Polat said it is a true sign of synergy.
Another one of the tools that Polat has been focusing on closely is focused on the buildings that were either damaged or collapsed. He is using satellite imagery, combined with other data, to pinpoint what kind of buildings collapsed. He hopes to use that information to better inform construction in the future to protect residents.


Affirmed-tour.jpgEvent recap: 1/13 Affirmed Housing Site Tour

UC San Diego students recently got a behind the scenes tour of Affirmed Housing Group's ShoreLINE affordable housing project which will add 126 affordable apartment homes in the Grantville neighborhood of San Diego. Students were able to hear about the development, design, and construction from the team bringing this project to life.

Thank you James Silverwood, Mellody Lock, Micah Spano, Bryna Geary, Affirmed Housing Group, Jeff Peterson, John Sheehan, FAIA, Studio E Architects, USA, Brady Cahill, Gus Navarro, and HA Builder Group for providing an informative and engaging site tour!


San Diego County Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF) Implementation Kicks off at UCSD

4CC6848C-D352-49FC-9E74-1A5348AC74F4_1_105_c.jpegTo support implementation of the recently-completed Regional Decarbonization Framework,USP faculty Dr Amy Lerner and J.B. Hinds facilitated the first of three planned implementation workshops with staff leadership from the County of San Diego. A collaborative effort with UCSD’s School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), the workshop included orientation to the technical content of the RDF, facilitated discussion of participant and departmental roles in the decarbonization strategy, and participatory GIS mapping where USP undergraduate students managed the GIS exercise and prepared consolidated mapping of the outcomes. The workshop is part of USP and GPS’s three-year contract with the County, where UCSD will support strategic planning for moving the County to a carbon-free future.


Hillary Gnirk, USP senior, honored as Student Veteran of the Year


USP Senior Hillary Gnirk was honored as Student Veteran of the Year. Gnirk was a community college student studying biology when she got the feeling that it was time to do some soul-searching. This wave of inspiration led her to join the Navy, where she served from 2014 to 2019.  Stationed in Lemoore, Calif., Gnirk became an aircraft mechanic who focused on environmental control systems, aircraft ejection seat systems and more.  After her service, Gnirk was accepted to UC San Diego and became the first person in her family to attend college.  Gnirk is now a fourth-year student in the urban studies and planning program. After graduating in Spring 2023, her ultimate goal is to work in the field of environmental planning. “I really want to do something that is involved in environmental conservation and also climate action,” she says.

USP Assistant Project Scientist Katie Crist weighs in on San Diego Slow Streets with San Diego Union Tribune Commetary: "Opinion: The Diamond ‘slow street’ in Pacific Beach is a success. Closing it would be a mistake."

Read about Katie Crist's research on the Diamond Street Slow Street program and opinion on why San Diego should keep Diamond Street designated as a "slow street."

Four UCSD students awarded 2022-2023 California Planning Foundation Scholarships

The USP Department is proud to announce that four UCSD USP Department students have been awarded California Planning Foundation scholarships this year.

Johnathon Lalouz, an Urban Studies & Planning major, was awarded the Virginia Viado Memorial award.

Elinor Oren, a Real Estate and Development major, was awarded one of two San Diego Section CPF awards.

Isabel Perez, an Urban Studies & Planning major, was awarded the California Planning Roundtable award.

Kushinga Pfende, an Urban Studies & Planning major, was awarded the Black Voices in Planning award.

Decolonizing Regionalism Symposium

October 7, 2022, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, Perloff Hall 1317 Portola Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90095

Somewhere between the scale of the site and the scale of the territory lies the “region”: a productively ambiguous term that subsumes notions of geography, ecology, economy, planning, and jurisdiction. What does this particular enclosure—of both spaces and knowledges—do to, and for, historical processes of colonial and decolonial upheaval? What can critical spatial histories of regionalism contribute to theorizations of decoloniality—and vice-versa? And what are we to make of it as a tool of expertise, most prominently in discourses of development for the so-called global South? This symposium will revisit regionalism as a heterogeneous and contested discourse encompassing geopolitical relations, economic frameworks, social formations such as race and ethnicity, ecological processes, and myriad articulations of technical expertise.

This symposium is organized by AUD's Ayala Levin with Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió, Urban Studies and Planning, UC San Diego, on behalf of the UCHRI Multicampus Working Group Decolonizing Regionalism 2021–22

Green New Deal Studio featured at American Planning Association Conference

With the goals of the Green New Deal Congressional proposal in mind, Kathleen Garcia, FASLA, a UCSD USP lecturer, led her undergraduate planning students through multiple studios to re-imagine the Sweetwater River corridor, just south of the city of San Diego, near the border with Mexico. At the American Planning Association‘s National Planning Conference, students from Garcia’s class outlined their creative visions for a three-mile-long segment of the river that courses through National City. Student presenters included: Molly Ryan, Tianyu Liu, Wenshu Cao, Yichen Wang, Rashma Saini, Sara Kamenski, Anupama Sethuraman, Ethan Olson, Amy J Perez, Blake Bayliss, Marisa Rodriguez, and Mitchell Kadowaki.

Two UCSD RED Majors, Elinor Oren and Bailey Kim, awarded Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network Foundation scholarships

Two UCSD RED majors, Elinor Oren and Bailey Kim, were awarded Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network Foundation scholarships. The scholarship program supports future female leaders as they pursue university-level education that will lead to careers in commercial real estate. Each student will receive $5,000 for tuition and books, a paid internship opportunity, a six-month mentoring opportunity, a complimentary 24-month CREW Network student membership, and a complimentary registration to the 2022 CREW Network Convention, Sept. 21-23 in Chicago, Illinois. Bailey and Elinor are two of the first San Diego recipients to receive this award in a number of years. CREW San Diego is proud of their achievement and feels this demonstrates both the impressive accomplishments of upcoming leaders. Congratulations to Bailey and Elinor and thank you to CREW San Diego for their ongoing outreach to San Diego's local universities!

Two Gifts Help Establish San Diego’s First Large-Scale, University-Based Resource on Homelessness

The University of California San Diego is launching the region’s first large-scale, university-based research and data hub focused exclusively on homelessness, thanks to campus friends Phyllis and Dan Epstein and Hanna and Mark Gleiberman. Each couple has donated $1 million to the university to establish the Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego. The new program, in the university’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, will serve as a non-partisan hub for research, education, policy and action on homelessness.

UCSD RED Major Highlighted for being one of UC San Diego men's rowing's coxswains and team captains & on NAIOP Team

It might be hard to imagine real estate and rowing having much in common, but for Bailey Kim, the two worlds are bound together by a common thread: competition. One of UC San Diego men's rowing's coxswains and team captains, Bailey is also a member of the university's team for this year's NAIOP University Challenge real estate development competition. Despite having plenty to prove in her two competitive arenas, she has earned respect in both of them through hard work and caring for her teammates. 

Inaugural Climate Justice and Resilience Fest held Spring 2022

On March 30th, 2022, the UCSD Climate Justice/Action Scholars* held the inaugural Climate Justice and Resilience Fest in alignment with a Global Teach-In on Climate Justice. Over a thousand schools and universities around the world participated by hosting panels and integrating climate and climate justice into their teaching for the day. The aim of the CJ&R Fest was to broaden how people think about climate justice and action, helping them to see that solutions need to go beyond technological strategies to encompass human and systemic solutions of repair, restoration, reconnection (with our land, ecosystems, other people, ourselves), justice, and equity, alongside a radical rethinking of care and inclusion. 

RED Major Scott Nunes awarded NAIOP Diversity Student ScholarshipNunes-Scott.jpeg

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association,  has selected Scott Nunes as a recipient of its annualDiversity Student Scholarship. The  scholarship program supports students who are pursuing a degree in commercial real estate and  is a key component of the association’s pledge to advance diversity in the industry. Scott Nunes is an undergraduate student at UCSD pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a major in Real Estate and Development, and a member of NAIOP San  Diego. He worked as an intern for real estate broker Mayram Kavosi. In this role, Nunes found  leads, wrote contracts, learned databases related to listings and tax databases. He also wrote lease options for purchases and worked with industrial leases. His previous work experience includes being a division sales leader for 24 Hour Fitness; he  earned the distinction of being the top producer worldwide in a salesforce of 5,200 people.


Susan R. Peerson Named to Prestigious Planning College of Fellows


Sue Peerson at FAICP Induction Ceremony

Sue Peerson has achieved the planning profession’s highest honor by being named to the prestigious American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows for her outstanding achievements in urban planning. Fellows of AICP are honored in recognition of their achievements as planners and as individuals whose efforts have led to demonstrably significant and transformational improvements to the field of planning and the communities they served.

“Individuals who make up the College of Fellows are the true leaders of the planning profession,” said past AICP President Valerie Hubbard, FAICP. “These individuals have made lasting contributions to the profession. They are truly awe-inspiring.”

Invitations to join the College of Fellows come after a thorough nomination and review process, ensuring the candidate has had a positive, long-lasting impact on the planning profession. Ms. Peerson is one of 53 inductees in the 2022 College of Fellows; she is one of 7 inductees from the state of California. Inductions are done biennially. This year’s formal induction took place during the American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference in San Diego, on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

Betsy McCullough, FAICP, an alum of the then Urban and Rural Studies Program at UC San Diego, who was a long tenured City of San Diego planning manager was on Sue’s interview panel that hired her to her first professional planner position at the City of San Diego. Ms. McCullough states, “Sue represents the finest attributes of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the planning profession to her students, peers, community, and those of allied professions. Former students attest to success gaining entry level jobs and acceptance into graduate school due to the impact of her classes.”

Ms. Peerson is a Continuing Lecturer in the Urban Studies and Planning Department at University of California San Diego and has more than 30 years of planning experience. She brings together planning, law, urban design, and landscape architecture to her portfolio of public and private sector work. With experience in a large city agency and running her own consulting practice, she knows how to integrate physical plans within the political, social, and environmental context. Her teaching focus is on community-engagement and the public realm where she applies this understanding in her innovative courses teaching urban design practicum, site analysis, graphics & visual communication and advanced urban design. In public service, appointed by two mayors, she served eight years, her last year as chair, on the City of San Diego Planning Commission. She is a passionate educator committed to teach and mentor the next generation of planners.

Congratulations Sue on this outstanding professional achievement.

2021 Mildred C. Hanson, SIOR, Memorial Scholarship Awarded to RED Major Elinor OrenOren_Elinor_Headshot1-768x515.webp

The SIOR Foundation is proud to announce that Elinor Orden (University of California- San Diego) is one of the tworecipients of this year’s  Mildred C. Hanson Memorial Scholarship Elinor Oren is a junior at UCSD pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Real Estate and Development. She is currently attending a study abroad program in Real Estate/Planning at University College London and will be a real estate acquisitions intern at Prudential (PGIM) this summer. She was a Girls Who Invest Scholar and is Vice President of Triton Real Estate Organization at UC San Diego.


First ‘Wise Elder Changemaker’ Awards Celebrate San Diegans Age 65+

Born out of a desire to highlight the life work and current accomplishments of San Diegans 65 years and older “who have had a significant impact on people, land, communities and movements for change across our region,” the inaugural awards recognize change-making work that ranges from food justice to housing advocacy, from the arts to gender and racial equity, to community healing. Nominations for the award were solicited and then selected by students in the Life Course Scholars Program. Now in its seventh year, the LCS program is co-directed by Anthropology doctoral alum and Urban Studies and Planning continuing lecturer  Leslie Lewis. The program brings together UC San Diego students with elders in the region for project-based learning in order to design communities that are accessible and friendly to all ages.

UCSD's Real Estate and Development Program's diversity highlighted in NAIOP article

The [UCSD RED] program is significantly more racially and ethnically diverse than most other bachelor’s degree programs in real estate or real estate development in the U.S.: 53.3% of RED graduates in the 2019-2020 academic year identified as Asian American or Hispanic/Latino.  Some of the RED program’s diversity is attributable to the broader diversity of the undergraduate student body at UC San Diego, but the program has also maintained an explicit focus on recruiting diverse students.

USP's Visiting Scholar, Mor Shilon, PhD, wins "2021 Best Paper Award in Planning and Entrepreneurship"

USP’s Visiting Scholar, Mor Shilon, PhD, wins "2021 Best Paper Award in Planning and Entrepreneurship" from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.  Mor won for the paper  Smart Specialization: A Spontaneous Four-Step Process in the Mixed Arab-Jewish Region of Haifaand Nazareth with co-authors:  Dan Kaufmann, Dafna Schwartz and Alessandro Rosiello.   The paper was selected based on the importance of the topic to the study of planning and entrepreneurship, the connections it makes to existing literature, the rigor of research methods used, and the relevance of the conclusions to practice.

Three USP Students awarded 2021-2022 CPF Scholarships

The USP Department is proud to announce that three of our students have been awarded California Planning Foundation scholarships this year.

Enrique Arcilla, an Urban Studies & Planning major, is the first undergraduate student to win one of CPF's top awards, Outstanding Runner-up.

Liz Laing, an Urban Studies & Planning major, was awarded one of two San Diego Section CPF awards.

Kamron Williams, a Real Estate & Development Major, is the inaugural recipient  of the Black Voices in Planning Scholarship.

The CPF Awards Ceremony will take place via Zoom on Monday, September 13th.

USP Alum, Alex Reep, Reaches Triton Innovation Challenge Semifinals

The Triton Innovation Challenge is a business competition focused on fostering creativity and bringing to the spotlight commercially promising, environmentally focused technologies generated by the finest minds at UC San Diego. The fronTERRA team has made it to the semifinals of the challenge where they will present their project in early May 2021. Read more about their project and app development.

USP Major, Enrique Arcilla, wins Strauss Award

Partnering with UCLA history student, Jiseon Kim, Enrique developed a proposal that  will preserve the second grade program at the Brentwood Learning Garden Project and expand the valuable services that the garden offers to the rest of Brentwood’s students. At the same time, Enrique and Jiseon will pioneer a model of network-building community garden development that can improve the sustainability of this movement into the future. 

Venice Architecture Biennial Features Professor Shvartzberg Carrió

Professor Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió's piece "The Mission Indian Agency Jurisdiction" was published on the website for the Pavilion of Turkey in the Venice Architecture Biennial. Their theme this year is called "Architecture as Measure". This piece will also be exhibited at the Pavilion itself when the Biennial opens in May this year. Read the full article here

2020 California APA Academic Award Winner

The California Chapter of the American Planning Association has awarded the 2019 Pepper Canyon Mobility Hub Designathon and the 2020 Tactical Urbanism Designathon the Academic Award. Both Designathons have been coordinated by the Young Planner's Society in partnership with departments and programs across the UC San Diego campus.

Professor Sue Peerson receives 2019-2020 Distinguished Teaching 

The Barbara J. and Paul D. Saltman Distinguished Teaching Award for Non-Senate members was presented to USP Continuing Lecturer, Sue Peerson. 

The San Diego American Planning Association has awarded the 2019 Pepper Canyon Mobility Hub Designathon and the 2020 Tactical Urbanism Designathon the Academic Award

Spearheaded by the Young Planner's Society, the Designathon brings students, staff, faculty, and community mentors together to tackle urban planning challenges on the UC San Diego campus.

Young Planner's Society Won 3rd Place for the 2020 APA Outstanding Planning Student Organization Award!

For coming in third place, YPS will receive an APA online spotlig as well as blog feature and will participate in the Fall 2020 PSO Town Hall meeting. 

Current USP Senior, Erik Mumm, is Running for CPF Board

The California Planning Foundation (CPF) Board is filling two vacancies. CPF Board members are responsible for all aspects of fundraising and awarding of scholarships to California planning students. They serve four-year elected terms.
Every member of APA California is a member of CPF and is entitled to vote. Student APA membership is free.  Check your APA registered email for your ballot.  Deadline to cast your ballot is Monday, December 16, 2019 by 5:00 p.m.

Recent Alum, Lesly Figueroa, Quoted in the Los Angeles Times

Recent Alum, Lesly Figueroa, highlights the need for equitable development in the Coachella Valley. Lesly currently serves as a policy advocate with the Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability which organizes with communities in the eastern Coachella Valley.

LAI Highlights New Real Estate and Development Major

The first BS in Real Estate and Development in the UC system, housed in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, kicked off last academic year and now has more than 100 students.

USP Student, Erik Mumm, Speaks at Design and Innovation Building Groundbreaking

Erik Mumm, a senior double-major in Urban Studies and Planning as well as Data Science, shared how this interdisciplinary approach to design and innovation has prepared him with the tools to address important societal issues.

Three USP Faculty Named Inaugural Changemaker Faculty Fellows

Keith Pezzoli, Leslie Lewis and Mirle Rabinowitz-Bussell were named UC San Diego Inaugural Changemaker Faculty Fellows for proposing two projects: one, an evaluation of an existing and highly successful two-quarter practicum course series (Life Course Scholars Program), and two, the development of a new two-quarter, experiential learning course series called Urban Challenges: Homelessness in San Diego. 

Alleys in Action! wins California Chapter APA 2019 Academic Award of Merit

Vincent Page II, Julia Lave Johnston, President of California Chapter APA and Sue Peerson, AICP accept Academic Award of Merit for Alleys in Action! UC San Diego. Sharing this moment with our partners the Adams Avenue Business Association and ArtFORM. Department of Urban Studies and Planning, UC San Diego

Alleys in Action! wins San Diego Chapter APA 2019 Academic Excellence Award

The Urban Studies and Planning (USP) Program won the 2019 Academic Excellence Award from the San Diego Chapter American Planning Association (APA). It is an honor for USP and Alleys in Action! to be recognized by the local planning community and colleagues.

Between January 2017 and February 2018, USP faculty member Sue Peerson worked with 19 undergraduate students in USP to conduct research and create a toolkit on best practices focused on how to revitalize San Diego's underutilized alleys.

At the APA event the award was introduced by Mirle Bussell, USP faculty member and Associate Director, Bioregional Center, and given to Sue Peerson, USP faculty member who led the research effort. Sue was joined on stage by the talented students who made it all possible: Vincent Page II, Joyce Lee and Dmitriy Goncharuk.

YPS is name New Student Organization of the Year!

The Young Planners' Society was recently awarded the 2018-2019 New Student Organization of the Year by UCSD's Center for Student Involvement. They are extremely proud of the org's first year efforts in expanding opportunities and community involvement for students in urban planning! To get involved, please reach out to co-chairs Elizabeth Owen or Erik Mumm at for GBM times and leadership opportunities.

Linh Tran wins NAIOP Diversity Scholarship

Real Estate and Development Major Linh Tran has been awarded the NAIOP Diversity Scholarship. Students were selected based on their academic achievement, involvement in NAIOP, commitment to a career in commercial real estate, financial need, and a recommendation letter from an instructor or professor. Congratulations to Linh on this wonderful achievement!

Professor Sue Peerson Appointment Chair of the City of San Diego Planning Commission

On February 11, 2019, Mayor Kevin Faulconer appointment USP Professor, Sue Peerson as chair of the City of San Diego Planning Commission.

Three Students Awarded NAIOP Scholarship

We would like to congratulate Ella Li, Daisy Romero and Daniel Amar who were all awarded the NAIOP San Diego Foundation - UCSD Scholarship for 2018-2019.