Hello! I am a social scientist and designer interested in culture, politics, and place. I am currently Assistant Professor of Public & Applied Humanities at the University of Arizona, with courtesy appointments in Architecture, Art, Geography, and Urban Planning. I also direct the Studio for Shared Futures and am Core Faculty in Asian Pacific American Studies. I teach classes on design thinking and innovation, the future of cities, and Asian American cultures. I'm currently finishing a book that focuses on the role that art and culture can play as forms of political engagement in gentrifying cities. Feel free to reach out!


n.b.—I'm happy to share copies of my work, just send me an email!


📔 2020, Dana Cuff, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Todd Presner, Maite Zubiaurre, and Jonathan Jae-an Crisman, Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) [link]

Edited Volumes

📚 2016, Jonathan Crisman and Susan Moffat, eds., “Urban Humans,” special issue, Boom: A Journal of California 6, no. 3 [link]
📚 2016, Jonathan Crisman and Matthew Gillis, eds., “Interior Urbanism,” special issue, Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design [link]
📚 2016, Jonathan Crisman, ed., Urban Humanities in the Borderlands: Engaged Scholarship from Mexico City to Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative) [link]
📚 2015, Jonathan Crisman and Yang Yang, eds., “Urban Humanities: Producing Knowledge on the Megacity,” special issue, Urban China 72 [link]
📚 2014, Jonathan Crisman, ed., Shin-Shinjuku: New Tokyo, Again (Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative) [link]
📚 2012, Jonathan Crisman, ed., Thresholds 40: Socio— (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) [link]

Journal Articles

📰 2021, Monica Landgrave Serrano, Philip Stoker, and Jonathan Jae-an Crisman, “Punctual Urbanisms: Rapid Planning Responses to Urban Problems,” Journal of Planning Literature
📰 2021, Jonathan Jae-an Crisman, “Evaluating Values in Creative Placemaking: The Arts as Community Development in the NEA’s Our Town Program,” Journal of Urban Affairs [link]
📰 2019, Jonathan Crisman and Annette Kim, “Property Outlaws in the Southland: The Potential and Limits of Guerrilla Urbanism in the Cases of Arts Gentrification in Boyle Heights and Street Vending Decriminalization in Los Angeles,” Urban Design International 24, no. 3; Reprinted in special issue on “Guerrilla Urbanism,” ed. Jeff Hou, Urban Design International 25, no. 2 [link]
📰 2016, Jonathan Crisman, “Practicing the Future: Exercises in Immanent Speculation,” Boom: A Journal of California 6, no. 3 [link]
📰 2015, Jonathan Crisman, “Magical Dining, Modern Cuisine,” Pidgin 19 (Spring): 205–213 [link]
📰 2012, Jonathan Crisman, “POP-AGANDA! Reading Julius Shulman,” PLAT Journal 2 (Spring): 106–113 [link]

Book Chapters

📖 2021, Jonathan Jae-an Crisman, “The Edgy Bit,” in Best Practices, Erin and Ian Besler (San Francisco: Applied Research + Design Publishing) [link]
📖 2021, Jonathan Jae-an Crisman, “Art and the Aesthetics of Cultural Gentrification: The Cases of Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo in Los Angeles,” in Aesthetics of Gentrification: Seductive Spaces and Exclusive Communities in the Neoliberal City, ed. Christoph Lindner and Gerardo Sandoval (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press) [link]
📖 2020, Jonathan Jae-an Crisman, “From the Dust of Bad Stars: Disaster, Resilience, and Placemaking in Little Tokyo,” in The Routledge Handbook of Placemaking, ed. Cara Courage (Abingdon: Routledge) [link]
📖 2020, Jonathan Jae-an Crisman, Ken S. McAllister, and Judd Ethan Ruggill, “In Praise of Stupid: Games, Play, and Ideology in the Smart City,” in Games and Play in the Creative, Smart and Sustainable City, ed. Dale Leorke and Marcus Owens (Abingdon: Routledge) [link]
📖 2017, Jonathan Crisman and Yang Yang, “A Pacific Dialogue: Architecture and Urbanism from California to Asia,” in Building As Ever, ed. Cassandra Coblentz (Newport Beach, CA: Orange County Museum of Art and Prestel Publishers) [link]


📑 2019, Jonathan Crisman, Protecting Ibasho: The Impact of the Arts and Culture in Little Tokyo (Los Angeles, CA: Sustainable Little Tokyo) [link]
📑 2017, Jonathan Crisman and Tyler Hiebert, #Vote16: The Current State of Efforts to Lower the Voting Age in the United States (Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California); Prepared for Khmer Girls in Action and Liberty Hill Foundation [link]

Book Reviews

📘 2019, Jonathan Jae-an Crisman, review of Modernism’s Visible Hand: Architecture and Regulation in America by Michael Osman, Journal of Planning Education and Research [link]
📘 2016, Jonathan Crisman, “Citizen Jackson,” review of Drawn to Landscape: The Pioneering Work of J. B. Jackson ed. Janet Mendelsohn and Chris Wilson, The Architect’s Newspaper [link]
📘 2016, Jonathan Crisman, “The Future with Chinese Characteristics,” review of Shanghai Future: Modernity Remade by Anna Greenspan, City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action 20, no. 4 [link]
📘 2012, Jonathan Crisman, “Details, Details!,” review of The Architectural Detail by Edward R. Ford, Los Angeles Review of Books [link]


💬 2021, Jonathan Jae-an Crisman and Newton Harrison, “Swamp Reclamation and the Life Web: An Interview with Newton Harrison,” in Swamps and the New Imagination, ed. Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press / Berlin: Sternberg Press) [link]
💬 2019, Jonathan Crisman, “How Does Policy Shape Architecture and Community? Notes on Developing Urban Space,” in Sunset Market Plaza: Meditations on Strip Malls in Los Angeles, ed. Shaina Goel and Use All Five (Los Angeles, CA: Use All Five) [link]
💬 2016, Karen Tei Yamashita with Jonathan Crisman and Jason S. Sexton, “A Boom Interview,” Boom: A Journal of California 6, no. 3 [link]
💬 2012, Reinhold Martin and Jonathan Crisman, “Conjuring Utopia’s Ghost,” in Thresholds 40: Socio—, ed. Jonathan Crisman (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) [link]
💬 2012, Steve Kurtz and Jonathan Crisman, “On Radiation Burn,” in Thresholds 40: Socio—, ed. Jonathan Crisman (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) [link]


Chill City

Chill City (2020) is a web-based educational game about the climate risk of extreme heat. Learn what kind of local interventions can mitigate extreme heat and try your hand at making the chillest city! You can play online by clicking here. Chill City was created with a seed grant awarded by the University of Arizona Built Environment Strategic Initiative. Role: PI and project director, with developer and designer Derek Lieu, and co-PIs Ladd Keith and Gregg Garfin.

Ibasho: Arts Activism in Little Tokyo

Ibasho: Arts Activism in Little Tokyo (2018) is an exhibition that went up in ART@341FSN, a two-month pop up arts space that hosted over 2,000 visitors to poetry readings, jazz nights, film screenings, and more. The exhibition and space were a part of the Sustainable Little Tokyo initiative that fights for community control over the future of this historic Japanese American neighborhood in LA. Role: exhibition curator and Arts Action Committee / ART@341FSN organizer, with SLT director Scott Oshima, designer Yuji Sakuma, and Arts Action Committee members.

Breadagogy / Overcrossings Project

Breadagogy (2016) is part of Overcrossings Project, an artist-initiated project and publication that engaged the three pedestrian overcrossings over the historic Arroyo Seco freeway. Breadagogy brings together naturally leavened bread, clay sculpture, elementary school education, and the Cypress Avenue pedestrian overcrossing to reflect on gentrification and multispecies urban life. Clay molds cast from various parts of the bridge are used to bake loaves of bread which serve as teaching tools in a specially developed risograph printed curriculum that was initially tested at Thank You For Coming, and later shared with Lareto Street Elementary School. Role: primary artist for Breadagogy (as LABOR), with PATAO as baker and Alex Reed as potter, and co-organizer for Overcrossings Project with primary organizer Scott Oshima and co-organizers Erik Benjamins, Heather M. O'Brien, and Jonathan Takahashi.


LA—BOR was a temporary partnership between Jonathan Crisman and Jia Gu that conducted four projects: Six Probable Buildings (2015, solo exhibition at Thank You For Coming); Heavy (2015, temporary installation at the 6th St Viaduct as part of LA Forum's "Out There Doing It"); Probable City (2015, interactive installation at the Hammer Museum); and Untitled (2014, floating sculpture as part of On the Road 4: Pleasure Pools in Palm Springs).

Approximate Translation / OP-CITY

Approximate Translation (2012) was a performance at the MIT Program of Art, Culture, and Technology of the "live model," a new form of urban and architectural representation that uses live mixed audiovisuals to capture the historical, contingent, narratological, and experiential qualities of the city. The initial performance was based on the Boston neighborhood of Allston, while a second version based on the St. James neighborhood in Toronto was developed and performed in collaboration with Steven Beckly as part of OP-CITY (2013) at the University of Toronto.

Hearsay House / (In)dependent People

Hearsay House / (In)dependent People (2012) was a series of installations in the 2012 Reykjavík Arts Festival which explored the Cold War history of the Höfði House, the site of Reagan and Gorbachev's first meeting. The project explored the poetics of data and translations, using a variety of sensors and performances within the house which were then translated as a live feed into abstract sculptural objects in the Reykjavík Art Museum. Role: Leader of Group 4.333 in collaboration with Urbonas Studio.

Processing Music

Processing Music (2010) is an exploration into the overlap between architecture, design scripting, the Processing programming environment, and music. Using the Minim plug-in with Processing, a beat analysis returned a set of data that was then translated into architectural form. Certain frequencies were translated as shear walls in two axes, as well as floor plates, which resulted in variegated room densities and floor heights. The frequency waveform was captured at each floor level and lofted into a façade that reads as more "spiky" in a song of high intensity.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic Appointments

🏫 2019–Present, Assistant Professor of Public and Applied Humanities; Director, Studio for Shared Futures; Core Faculty, Asian Pacific American Studies; Faculty Affiliate, Architecture, Art, Geography, and Urban Planning; University of Arizona
🏫 2016–Present, Research Affiliate, RAP (Race, Arts, and Placemaking Research Collaborative); Research Affiliate, Spatial Analysis Lab (2016-19), University of Southern California
🏫 2013–20, Research Affiliate (2016–20); Project Director and Core Faculty (2013–16), Urban Humanities Initiative, University of California, Los Angeles


🏫 PhD in Urban Planning and Development, University of Southern California
🏫 Master in City Planning, Master of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
🏫 BA in Geography, Architectural Studies, and Urban & Regional Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Invited Talks (selected)

📣 Oct 2020 “Spatial Justice in Little Tokyo,” 11th Annual Tucson Humanities Festival: TOWARD JUSTICE, University of Arizona College of Humanities, Tucson, AZ
📣 Sep 2020 “Organizing as Architectural Labor,” 6° Symposium, Hosted by Art + Practice, Craft Contemporary, ICA LA, Materials & Applications, NAVEL, and Underground Museum, Los Angeles, CA
📣 Feb 2020 “Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City,” School of Geography and Development Colloquium, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
📣 Nov 2019 “Reflecting on Martin Krieger’s ‘What’s wrong with plastic trees?’” 90th Anniversary Research Symposium: Celebrating our Past, Present, and Future, Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
📣 Oct 2019 “Mapping as an Urban Humanities Practice,” Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
📣 Oct 2019 “Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City,” 10th Annual Tucson Humanities Festival: NEXT, University of Arizona College of Humanities, Tucson, AZ
📣 Sep 2019 “Faith, People, and Place: A PAAC Conversation on Urban Planning,” PAAC Speaker Series, online webinar (with Melissa Cerezo and Kenneth Schoon)
📣 Sep 2019 “Civic Expression: Urban Design and Community Activism in Little Tokyo,” Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
📣 Aug 2019 “Sunset Market Plaza: Meditations on Strip-Malls in Los Angeles,” book launch, Artbook at Hauser and Wirth, Los Angeles, CA (with Shaina Goel)
📣 Nov 2018 “EthniCITIES: Mapping Language, Race, and Strip Malls,” Over LA: Aerial Accounts Symposium, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, Los Angeles, CA
📣 Nov 2017 “Art in/by/for the Commons: From Public to Participatory to Placemaking,” UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative
📣 Mar 2017 “Know Your Property Rights,” as part of “The Back 9” with Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD), Rosten Woo, and Materials & Applications, LA CAN
📣 Jun 2016 “Melting,” Big City Forum and LA Design Festival, The REEF LA
📣 Oct 2015 “Recent Work,” Out There Doing It, Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, Helms Bakery, Culver City, CA (with Jia Gu)
📣 Sep 2015 “New Media for Studying Cities,” West Bund Biennial of Art and Architecture Opening Symposium, Shanghai, China
📣 Jun 2015 “Mapping and Design Thinking,” LACMA, Los Angeles, CA

Academic Conferences (selected)

📣 Jan 2021 “Visioning a Cooler City: Participatory Planning for Extreme Heat Resilience,” National Council for Science and the Environment Annual Conference
📣 Nov 2020 “50 Years of Pride: Queer Organizing as Radical Urban Planning,” as part of “Radical Planning 1: Practice in Shifting Narratives,” with Marisa Turesky; and “Aesthetics of Gentrification: Seductive Spaces and Exclusive Communities in the Neoliberal City,” panel chair, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
📣 Jan 2020 “Forensic Empathy: Mapping Death in the US-Mexico Borderlands,” Mapping for Change / Cartographies of the Urban: Intersectionality and Climate Change Adaptation Symposium, TU Berlin
📣 Oct 2019 Beyond Intelligence: Design and Semantics of Form and Movement (XI Edition), program committee, MIT Design Lab
📣 Apr 2019 “Art and the Aesthetics of Cultural Gentrification: The Cases of Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo in Los Angeles,” Aesthetics of Gentrification: Art, Architecture, and Displacement (Slow Lab International Conference), University of Oregon in Portland
📣 Apr 2019 “Unlovely Memories: Strip Malls and the Urban Experience of Immigrant and Ethnic Entrepreneurs,” as part of “Selling Out or Selling In: Ethnic and Racial Placemaking and Spaces of Belonging,” Urban Affairs Association
📣 Oct 2018 “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Strip Mall: Commercial Spaces Designed for and by Immigrant Entrepreneurs,” as part of “Selling Out or Selling In: Ethnic and Racial Placemaking and Spaces of Belonging,” session organizer; and “Art and Urban Planning: Potentials for Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy,” panel chair, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
📣 Oct 2017 “The Gospel of Phillips Chapel in Santa Monica, California,” as part of “Mythologies & the Built Environment in Greater Los Angeles,” session organizer, Society for American City and Regional Planning History

Teaching & Curriculum Development

University of Arizona
📚 Asian Pacific American Cultures in Public Life
📚 Life in the City of Tomorrow: Time Travel, World Building, and Speculative Futures
📚 Innovation & the Human Condition: Learning How to Improve Life in the Community & Beyond
📚 Introduction to Applied Humanities
📚 Memes: The Art and Craft of Microstorytelling
📚 Applied Humanities Practice: Techniques and Technologies for Public Enrichment

University of Southern California
📚 Race, Arts, and Placemaking

University of California, Los Angeles
📚 Los Angeles / Mexico City: Proximities and Spatial Justice
📚 Shanghai and Contested Spaces of Identity
📚 Tokyo Risk and Uncertain Shinjuku
📚 Introduction to Urban Humanities

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
📚 Advanced Seminar in Networked Cultures & Participatory Media