Dr. Alvaro Huerta is an urban planning and ethnic studies scholar. Expert on public policy, Latina/o immigration, informal economy & ethnic economies.
Dr. Alvaro Huerta holds a joint faculty appointment in Urban & Region Planning and Ethnic & Women’s Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He’s only one of a handful of Chicano scholars who holds a tenure-track or tenured faculty position in urban planning. He’s the author of the book, Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm (San Diego State University Press, 2013).
Dr. Huerta holds a Ph.D. in city & regional planning from UC Berkeley—one of the first Chicanos to do so. He also holds an M.A. in urban planning and a B.A. in history from UCLA.
As an interdisciplinary scholar, he teaches and conducts research on the intersecting domains of community & economic development, Chicana/o & Latina/o studies, immigration & Mexican diaspora, social movements, social networks and the informal economy.
Currently, he’s working on three book projects and one journal article (review and resubmit). This includes: (1) an edited volume on immigration; (2) a book on Latino politics and national immigration discourse; and (3) a book on Mexican immigrants and their social networks in the informal economy. This also includes a peer-reviewed article on an ethnic labor niche in Los Angeles’s informal economy: paid Latino gardeners.
Additionally, Dr. Huerta publishes social commentaries for various publications, such as The Progressive Magazine, Progressive Planning, Planning Magazine, The Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Daily News, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Business Journal, La Opinión and The Hill. This includes online outlets, such as The Huffington Post, CounterPunch, Latino Rebels, ImmigrationProf Blog, LA Progressive and more.
As a nationally recognized speaker and public policy expert, Dr. Huerta has spoken at major universities, colleges, academic conferences, non-profit organizations, television programs (e.g., Tavis Smiley Show), news networks (e.g., Univision) and other forums (e.g., TEDxClaremontColleges).
Prior to pursuing graduate school and securing a faculty position, Dr. Huerta was a community organizer. Among his many community-based (and university-centered) campaigns, he successfully led and co-led two of the most dynamic, grassroots campaigns in California history: (1) defeating a polluting power plant in South Gate (located in Southeast Los Angeles); and (2) defeating the City of Los Angeles’ leaf-blower ban, forcing the city to eliminate draconian penalties against Latino immigrant gardeners. This included a misdemeanor charge, $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail.
Dr. Huerta has received numerous fellowships, awards, recognitions and grants for his scholarship, civic engagement and public policy advocacy for racial diversity, social justice and economic equality. This includes, among many others, the Ford Foundation Diversity Pre-doctoral Fellowship and the American Planning Association’s National Planning Leadership Award: Advancing Diversity & Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff.
Raised in a Mexican slum (Colonia Libertad in Tijuana) and North American barrio (Ramona Gardens housing project in East Los Angeles), Dr. Huerta—a first-generation university graduate—is the product of public schools, from inner-city schools (K-12) to elite universities.