Photo: Renia Ehrenfeucht

Renia Ehrenfeucht

  • Professor and Associate Dean for Research
  • / 505-277-2168


    • Ph.D., Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles
    • Master of Urban Planning, University of Washington, Seattle


    • The social production of the built environment
    • Public space, especially sidewalks
    • Shrinking cities

    Renia Ehrenfeucht is a Professor of the Community + Regional Planning Department and the Associate Dean for Research at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture + Planning.

    She also currently serves as the Central Region Representative of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Governing Board.

    Dr. Ehrenfeucht is inspired by all transformational social action to create socially just and equitable institutions, environmentally sustainable societies, and vibrant economies that sustain cultural differences as well as traditional and new ways of life. Her research and teaching is motivated by the belief that committed social action can dismantle colonialism and racism and create ways of living that respect diverse people and all species.

    Her research explores how people reshape built environments. One focus is public spaces and the politics of everyday life, examining how ordinary spaces and local institutions influence people’s opportunities in diverse environments. She has written about food trucks, street work and Airbnb as moments to explore urban transformation in work, daily life and the right to the street. She also studies shrinking cities and how people, places and institutions respond to population loss. In this area, she has written about disaster recovery in New Orleans as a shrinking city and the reasons that people choose to live in shrinking cities which often have limited amenities and work opportunities.

    Her books include Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation in Public Space (with Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris) and Urban Revitalization: Remaking Cities in a Changing World (with Carl Grodach). She also has written numerous journal articles which are listed under Scholarship + Publications.


    Dr. Ehrenfeucht teaching interests include the history of cities in global perspective, comparative approaches to urban planning theory and practice (including environmental planning and historic preservation planning), history and theory of urban design, land use planning, urban theory, contemporary urban issues and public sector responses, the built urban environment, everyday urbanism, and research design and methods.

    Recent Courses

    Political Economy of Urban Development in a Global Era

    The Politics of Land

    The Housing Process


    Journal Articles

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson, 2022, Towards Transformative Climate Relocation Initiatives. Journal of Planning Literature, online first

    Marla Nelson, Renia Ehrenfeucht, Traci Birch & Anna Brand, 2022, Getting By and Getting Out: How Residents of Louisiana’s Frontline Communities Are Adapting to Environmental Change. Housing Policy Debate 32(1): 84-101. DOI: 10.1080/10511482.2021.1925944

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, Marla Nelson, 2021, Beyond Crises (Commentary), Journal of the American Planning Association, 87:3, 438-440, DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2021.1906609

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson, 2020, Just Revitalization in Shrinking and Shrunken Cities? Observations on Gentrification from New Orleans and Cincinnati,  Journal of Urban Affairs 42(3): 435-49

    Marla Nelson and Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2020, Beyond the Jobs versus Amenities Debate: Understanding the Migration of Educated Workers and Implications for Planning, Journal of Planning Education and Research 40(1) 16–30

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson, 2018, Moving to a Shrinking City? Some Suggestive Observations on Why College-Educated Professionals Came to New Orleans and Why They Stayed, Urban Studies 55(12): 2762-2779.

    Kate Lowe and Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2018, Derailed Values: Planning Education, External Funding, and Environmental Justice in New Orleans Rail Planning, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 38(4) 477–489

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2017, Do Food Trucks and Pedestrians Conflict on Urban Streets, Journal of Urban Design 22(2): 273-290.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, Ian Riekes Trivers and Casey Schreiber, 2016, "Towards Sustainable Urban Forms in Shrinking Cities? The Impacts of Rental Housing Configuration in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina," Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 33(2): 121-139.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2016, "Designing Fair and Effective Street Vending Policy: It’s Time for a New Approach," Cityscape 18(1): 11-26. 

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2014, "Art, Public Spaces and Private Property along the Streets in New Orleans," Urban Geography 35(7): 965-979. DOI:10.1080/02723638.2014.945260.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2013, "Nonconformity and Street Design in West Hollywood, California," Journal of Urban Design 18(1): 59-77. DOI:10.1080/13574809.2013.739500.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson, 2013, "Young Professionals as Ambivalent Change Agents in New Orleans after the 2005 Hurricanes," Urban Studies 50(4): 825-841. DOI: 10.1177/0042098012452323.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2012, "Precursors to Planning the Streets of Los Angeles, California, c 1880-1920," Journal of Planning History 11(2): 107-123. DOI:10.1177/1538513211428275.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson, 2011, "Planning, Population Loss and Equity in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina," Planning Practice and Research 26(2): 129-146. DOI:10.1080/02697459.2011.560457.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, 2010, "Planning Urban Sidewalks: Infrastructure, Daily Life, and Destinations," Journal of Urban Design 15(4): 459–471. DOI:10.1080/13574809.2010.502333.

    Evelyn Blumenberg and Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2008, "Civil Liberties and the Regulation of Public Space: The Case of Sidewalks in Las Vegas," Environment and Planning A 40(2): 303-322. DOI:10.1068/a37429.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, 2007, "Constructing the Sidewalk: Municipal Government and the Production of Public Space in Los Angeles, 1880–1920," Journal of Historical Geography 33(1): 104-124.

    Marla Nelson, Renia Ehrenfeucht and Shirley Laska, 2007, "Planning, Plans and People: Professional Expertise, Local Knowledge and Governmental Action in Post-Katrina New Orleans," Cityscape 9(3): 23-53 [Invited].


    Carl Grodach and Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2016. Urban Revitalization: Remaking Cities in a Changing World (textbook), Routledge.

    Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2009, Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation over Public Space, The MIT Press. Paperback published in 2012.

    Book chapters

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2020, In Pursuit of Inclusive Spaces: Memory, Monuments and the Politics of Public Storytelling. In Companion to Public Space, pp. 320-331, Routledge.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2020, Street Vending and Everyday Life in an Authentic 21st Century. In Routledge Handbook of Street Culture, pp. 147-158, Routledge.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2019, Designing the Inclusive City: Urban cultures, street arts, and public life, in The New Companion to Urban Design, edited by Tridib Banerjee and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Routledge.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Ana Croegaert, 2017, "Learning from New Orleans: Will Revising or Relaxing Public Space Ordinances Create a Just Environment for Street Commerce," in From Loncheras to Lobsta Love: Food Trucks, Cultural Identity and Social Justice, edited by Julian Agyeman, Caitlin Matthews, and Hannah Sobel, The MIT Press.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2017, "Restructuring Public Landscapes in Gentrifying New Orleans", in Cities as Multiple Landscapes, edited by Christina Antenhofer and Robert Dupont, The University of Chicago Press.

    Marla Nelson and Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2016, "Moving to Safety: Opportunities to Reduce Vulnerability through Relocation and Resettlement Policy," in How Cities Will Save the World: Urban Innovation in the Face of Population Flows, Climate Change and Economic Inequality, edited by Ray Brescia and John Travis Marshall, Routledge.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, 2014, "The Irreconcilable Tension between Dwelling in Public and the Regulatory State," in The Informal American City: Beyond Day Labor and Taco Trucks, edited by Vinit Mukhija and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, The MIT Press.

    Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2014, “'This Is My Front Yard!' Claims and Informal Property Rights on Sidewalks," in The Informal American City: Beyond Day Labor and Taco Trucks, edited by Vinit Mukhija and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, The MIT Press.

    Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson, 2013, "Recovery in a Shrinking City: Challenges to ‘Rightsizing’ Post-Katrina New Orleans," in The City after Abandonment, edited by Margaret Dewar and June Manning Thomas, University of Pennsylvania Press.

    Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Evelyn Blumenberg and Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2004, "Sidewalk Democracy: Municipalities and the Regulation of Public Space," in Regulating Place: Standards and the Shaping of Urban America, edited by Eran Ben-Joseph and Terry Szwold, Routledge.


    Department of the Interior’s South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center. Subaward from University of Oklahoma (consortium convener). Lead PI, co-PIs John Fleck and Lani Tsinnajinnie

    NSF SRS RN: Transforming Rural-Urban Systems: Trajectories for Sustainability in the Intermountain West, Diverse Economies Charter

    I-WEST: Intermountain West Energy Sustainability & Transitions; Lead on the Environmental and Social Justice chapter; UNM Lead: Janie Chermak

    (completed) From Adapting in Place to Adaptive Migration: Designing and Facilitating an Equitable Relocation Strategy - A project examining how residents in Louisiana coastal communities are deciding whether to continue to live near the coast or move farther inland funded by The Water Institute of the Gulf. Report available: Beyond Buyouts: Adaptive Migration and the Need for Equitable Relocation Strategies, authors: Marla Nelson, Renia Ehrenfeucht, Traci Birch, Anna Brand and Jessica Williams


    Albuquerque Affordable Housing Coalition

    Central Regional Representative of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Governing Board

    Mayors Institute on City Design, West Regional Meeting, Albuquerque NM, Sept 28 – 30, 2016, Resource Team Member

    Future Ground Design and Policy Competition, sponsored by the Van Alen Institute and New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, Aug 2014 – May 2015, Juror and Future Team Member

    Current Issues

    Out of the Way, Human! Delivery Robots Want a Share of Your Sidewalk Scientific American, by Jeremy Tsu (February 19, 2019)

    Is it safe to walk over New York’s sidewalk cellar doors?Curbed NY  By Ashley Fetters (January 25, 2018)

    Kansas City Privatizes Sidewalks in Rowdy Entertainment DistrictNext City By Mark Dent (January 17, 2018)

    Delivery robots: a revolutionary step or sidewalk-clogging nightmare? The Guardian By Julia Carrie Wong (April 12, 2017)

    Published Bibliographies

    Gentrification, Oxford Bibliographies in "Geography". Ed. EIC Barney Warf. New York: Oxford University Press, 6-27-2017. DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0162.

    Urban Planning and Geography, Oxford Bibliographies in "Geography". Ed. EIC Barney Warf. New York: Oxford University Press, 8-26-2013. DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0080.

    Professional Publications

    "Moving Beyond the Mobile Myth: Preserving Manufactured Housing Communities", published by the Grounded Solutions Network

    Report: "Walking in the City, Sponsoring Agency US DOT through the Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency," Project 11-11, June 2013 (with Justice McPherson)

    Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Renia Ehrenfeucht, 2010, "Vibrant Sidewalks in the United States: Reintegrating Walking and a Quintessential Social Realm", ACCESS 36: 22-29 (with Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris)

    Book Reviews

    "Walking in Cities: Quotidian Mobility as Urban Theory, Method and Practice," American Journal of Sociology 122(6): 1991-1993, 2017

    "The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of Urban America," Journal of Urban Affairs, online first: DOI: 10.1111/juaf.12231, 2015

    "My Storm: Managing the Recovery of New Orleans in the Wage of Katrina," Journal of Urban Affairs 35(4): 493–500, 2013

    "City Rules: How Regulations Affect Urban Form," Annals of the Association of American Geographers (102(6): 1535-1537, 2012

    "Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities," Journal of Historical Geography 37: 394-395, 2011

    "The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space," Journal of Historical Geography 36: 111-112, 2010.

    "Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity," Urban Affairs Review 43: 125-128, 2007.