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Mai Thi Nguyen

Professor, Urban Studies and Planning

Mai Thi Nguyen is a Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and the Director of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego. Before arriving at UCSD in 2021, she held academic appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and San Francisco State University. She received her PhD in Urban Planning from the University of California, Irvine in 2004 and her Master’s in Sociology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1998. She received a prestigious dissertation fellowship from the Public Policy Institute of California. She is an award-winning public scholar, researcher, and teacher, garnering teaching excellence awards for undergraduate and doctoral education. Her research focuses on social and spatial equity and examines planning and policy topics related to housing, immigration, and climate change.  She is passionate about designing cities that are equitable, just, and resilient. She has served on major leadership roles in her professional associations, including Board Chair for the Urban Affairs Association, President of the Faculty Women’s Interest Group for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, and founder and moderator of Planners 2040, a Facebook discussion group with a membership of over 2400 planners across the globe. At UCSD, Dr. Nguyen will lead the Design Lab to work on design and innovation projects that are of utmost societal importance.

  • Ph.D., Urban Planning, University of California Irvine, 2004
  • M.A., Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, 1998