Dr. Michelle Zuñiga

Dr. Michelle Zuñiga

• Assistant Professor
Neighborhood change, Latinx communities, Community Planning, Environmental Justice
McEniry 308

Michelle E. Zuñiga, AICP (she/her/ella) holds a PhD in Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy from the University of California, Irvine. Since 2012, Michelle has focused her research on Latinx communities particularly, low-income, immigrant communities and how they experience and respond to environmental injustice and threats of displacement. Michelle explores their perspectives and experiences in the context of planning processes and urban policy. In parallel, Michelle also researches the implementation and challenges of environmental justice land use policy that call for drastic changes to how planning is conducted and how residents are engaged.

Michelle uses qualitative tools, community engaged methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to better understand the multifaceted dimensions and complexities related to neighborhood change and environmental justice. Before turning to a full-time academic career, Michelle also worked as an environmental justice organizer in Denver, where she worked alongside residents advocating for mitigation and more engagement in transportation and environmental planning processes.


PhD               Department of Urban Planning & Public Policy, University of California, Irvine, 2021

MURP           College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado, Denver, 2014

BA                 International and Cultural Studies, University of Tampa, 2010

Teaching and Research Interests:

  • Urban Planning
  • Environmental Justice
  • Public Policy
  • Community Engagement and Organizing
  • Planning in Latinx Communities
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Transportation Planning
  • Gentrification and Displacement
  • Housing justice