Dana Cuff

Adjunct Prof


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Dana Cuff is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA where she is also Director of cityLAB, an award-winning think tank that advances experimental urbanism and architecture (www.cityLAB.aud.ucla.edu).

Since receiving her Ph.D. in Architecture from Berkeley, Cuff has published and lectured widely about spatial justice, the architectural profession, and affordable housing. She is author of several books, including The Provisional City about postwar housing in Los Angeles, and a co-authored book called Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City, documenting her collaborative, crossdisciplinary research and teaching at UCLA funded by the Mellon Foundation.

Based on cityLAB’s design research, she co-authored a landmark bill that permits “backyard homes” on virtually all 8 million single-family properties in California (AB 2299, Bloom-2016), doubling the density of suburbs across the state. She and her team are currently working on a wide range of new forms of affordable housing to be co-located with schools.

cityLAB recently initiated a satellite center in one underserved neighborhood of Los Angeles, where a deep, multi-year exchange with community organizations is already demonstrating ways that humanistic design of the public realm can create more compassionate cities.

Cuff was the recent recipient of three prestigious awards that describe her career: Women in Architecture Activist of the Year (2019, Architectural Record), an international prize for Researcher of the Year (2019, Architectural Research Centers Consortium), and Educator of the Year (2020, American Institute of Architects Los Angeles).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Architecture, PhD, University of California Berkeley

… → 1982

Design; Psychology, B.A., University of California Santa Cruz

… → 1976

Research area keywords

  • spatial justice
  • architecture
  • affordable housing
  • experimental urbanism and architecture
  • humanistic design
  • compassionate cities

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or