Vinit Mukhija

Vinit Mukhija is Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA. He is the author of Remaking the American Dream: The Informal and Formal Transformation of Single-Family Housing Cities and coeditor of The Informal American City: Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor and Just Urban Design: The Struggle for the Public City, all from the MIT Press.

  • Remaking the American Dream

    The Informal and Formal Transformation of Single-Family Housing Cities

    Vinit Mukhija

    The redefinition of the single-family house, the urban landscape, and the American Dream.

    Sitting squarely at the center of the American Dream, the detached single-family home has long been the basic building block of most US cities. In Remaking the American Dream, Vinit Mukhija considers how this is changing, in both the American psyche and the urban landscape.

    In defiance of long-held norms and standards, single-family housing is slowly but significantly transforming through incremental additions of second and third units. Drawing on empirical evidence of informal and formal changes, Remaking the American Dream documents homeowners' quiet unpermitted modifications, conversions, and workarounds, as well as gradual institutional alterations to once-rigid, local land-use regulations. Mukhija's primary case study is Los Angeles and the role played by the State of California—findings he contrasts with the experience of other cities including Santa Cruz, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, and Vancouver. In each instance, he shows how, and asks why, homeowners are adapting their homes and governments are changing the rules that regulate single-family housing to allow for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or second units.

    Key to Mukhija's research is the question of why the idea of single-family living is changing and what this means for the future of US cities. The answer, this book suggests, heralds nothing less than a redefinition of American urbanism—and the American Dream.

    • Paperback $45.00
  • Just Urban Design

    The Struggle for a Public City

    Kian Goh, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, and Vinit Mukhija

    Contributions by urban planners, sociologists, anthropologists, architects, and landscape architects on the role and scope of urban design in creating more just and inclusive cities.

    Scholars who write about justice and the city rarely consider the practices and processes of urban design, while discourses on urban design often neglect concerns about justice. The editors of Just Urban Design take the position that urban design interventions have direct and important implications for justice in the city. The contributions in this volume contextualize the state of knowledge about urban design for justice, stress inclusivity as the key to justice in the city, affirm community participation and organizing as cornerstones of greater equity, and assert that a just urban design must center and privilege our most marginalized individuals and communities.

    Approaching spatial and social justice in the city through the lens of urban design, the contributors explore the possibility of envisioning and delivering social, spatial, and environmental justice in cities through urban design and the material reality of built environment interventions. The editors' combined expertise includes urban politics and climate change, public space, mobility justice, community development, housing, and informality, and the contributors include researchers and practitioners from urban planning, sociology, anthropology, architecture, and landscape architecture.

    Contributors: Rachel Berney, Rebecca Choi, Teddy Cruz, Diane E. Davis, Fonna Forman, Christopher Giamarino, Kian Goh, Alison B. Hirsch, Jeffrey Hou, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Setha Low, Matthew Jordan Miller, Vinit Mukhija, Chelina Odbert, Francesca Piazzoni, and Michael Rios

    • Paperback $40.00
  • The Informal American City

    The Informal American City

    Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor

    Vinit Mukhija and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

    An examination of informal urban activities—including street vending, garage sales, and unpermitted housing—that explores their complexity and addresses related planning and regulatory issues.

    Every day in American cities street vendors spread out their wares on sidewalks, food trucks serve lunch from the curb, and homeowners hold sales in their front yards—examples of the wide range of informal activities that take place largely beyond the reach of government regulation. This book examines the “informal revolution” in American urban life, exploring a proliferating phenomenon often associated with developing countries rather than industrialized ones and often dismissed by planners and policy makers as marginal or even criminal. The case studies and analysis in The Informal City challenge this narrow conception of informal urbanism.

    The chapters look at informal urbanism across the country, empirically and theoretically, in cities that include Los Angeles, Sacramento, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Kansas City, Atlantic City, and New York City. They cover activities that range from unpermitted in-law apartments and ad hoc support for homeless citizens to urban agriculture, street vending and day labor. The contributors consider the nature and underlying logic of these activities, argue for a spatial understanding of informality and its varied settings, and discuss regulatory, planning, and community responses.

    ContributorsJacob Avery, Ginny Browne, Matt Covert, Margaret Crawford, Will Dominie, Renia Ehrenfeucht, Jeffrey Hou, Nabil Kamel, Gregg Kettles, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Kate Mayerson, Alfonso Morales, Vinit Mukhija, Michael Rios, Donald Shoup, Abel Valenzuela Jr. Mark Vallianatos, Peter M. Ward

    • Hardcover $53.00
    • Paperback $20.00