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Lisa Schweitzer on flourishing as the central human value of urban planning

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

by Brettany Shannon

Welcome, listeners, to the third season of LA#itself! As you know, each season has had a specific focus. Fall 2016 season featured people from various sectors discussing how they use digital media for urban and social placemaking. In fall 2017, we asked people how they use digital media to preserve, resist, heal, and transform their communities in this challenging sociopolitical climate. This spring, we’re centering the podcast exclusively around women, and have thus renamed it Los Angeles Hashtags Herself (complete with a Barbara Kruger logo homage).

This season is about amplifying the important work that incredible women do in and for this city of Los Angeles, and I can think of no one better to open our current series than Professor of Urban Planning at USC, Dr. Lisa Schweitzer.

Lisa is a respected and celebrated scholar, colleague, and instructor. Among other accolades, she was unanimously selected to receive the 2016 Margarita McCoy Award by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning’s Faculty Women’s Interest Group, or FWIG, for demonstrating excellence in research on women and social justice issues in planning. About the Margarita McCoy Award, FWIG’s vice-president noted, “there is no ‘and/or’ in [Lisa’s] record, as [she has] contributed so meaningfully in” service, teaching, and research. Lisa’s response, I think, underscores the righteousness of the recognition: “I’m thrilled with the idea that people think I’m deserving of recognition, but it also feels like I’m getting an award merely for doing my job. I’ve tried to spend my career amplifying women’s accomplishments. I point out to people when my colleagues and students do well and produce important findings.”

This attitude is what distinguishes Lisa. In addition to being a rigorous, pathbreaking researcher, a tireless colleague, and unwavering mentor (to me and many others), Lisa is a mensch. She is a good, honest, caring, compassionate person who brings her talents to advocate for “flourishing” as planning’s “primary central human value.”

Listen to this engaging (again, to me and many others) conversation to learn what Lisa means by “flourishing,” as well as her thoughts about her intellectual and emotional path to research, her feminism, her teaching, and her blog. All are related and because it’s Lisa, delightfully articulated. I repeat, listen!

Many thanks to Lisa for joining me in the Price School recording studio and to you, as always, for listening. Leave us a review and tell us what you thought of the conversation on Twitter (Bedrosian, me), Facebook, or email.


If you haven’t already subscribed to Lisa’s blog, you will want to after the episode. Here’s the link again, and here she is on Twitter and Instagram. Follow, follow, follow. Also, Lisa regularly contributes to another great Bedrosian podcast, the Bedrosian Book Club. You should probably subscribe to that, too.

LA#Herself is produced by Aubrey Hicks, Jonathan Schwartz, and myself and mixed by Corey Hedden. Stream the interview on this page, or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcasts, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

Bedrosian Center