Urban Community and Environment

In the Urban Community and Environment concentration, students explore the dynamics of diverse forces that shape the urban setting, based on a framework of human rights and the power of action, community organizing, place-making, and social change.

This innovative program recognizes the unique needs and realities of our local and regional human and ecological communities. We acknowledge the need to support and train generations of effective change-makers who can envision a socially, economically, racially, and ecologically just future, and who will participate in the diverse coalitions and alliances necessary to inspire and make that future a reality.


Unique among most academic programs, the Urban Community and Environment curriculum incorporates the study and practice of media; the arts; social, political, historic, cultural, ecological, legislative and economic analysis; and learning from and acting with the people and communities who make up our world. Urban Community and Environment instructors have decades of experience as social justice change-makers, contributors to and shapers of the public, intellectual, and cultural regional and local discourse.

Our goal is to equip students with the practical skills and the deep understanding necessary to become effective leaders working towards social justice and equality, as well as a familiarity with the organizations and networks in the region that participate in these efforts. Urban Community and Environment interns have worked as youth organizers, community gardeners, event coordinators, fundraising assistants, communications and social media practitioners, and researchers in active campaigns at the intersection of social, racial, economic justice and ecological sustainability throughout the region.

The Urban Community and Environment curriculum prepares our students for careers as effective practitioners and activists in the nonprofit sector, the public sector, social enterprise, education, and for graduate study in urban planning, history, American studies, ethnic studies, public policy, and the law.

Courses include:

  • Urban Communities and Environment
  • Global Justice and Ecology
  • Environmental Justice Law and Policy
  • Autonomy, Justice and Sustainability
  • Race, Gender and Migration
  • Urban Youth
  • Environmental and Social History of Los Angeles
  • Toxic Pollution and Environmental Racism
  • Freedom Now! Homelessness and the Right to Housing
  • Community Organizing
  • Writing for Social Change
  • Social Theory of the City
  • Urban Ecology
  • Urban Environmental Social Movements
  • Identity, Community and Social Change
  • Participatory Media
  • The Los Angeles River
  • Los Angeles Architecture
  • The Art of Protest