Position Title

Department of Human Ecology


Drawing from architecture, human geography, and urban planning, Michael Rios's research and writing focuses on urbanism, placemaking, and the social practice of planning and design. Critical essays have appeared in Cities and the Politics of Difference (University of Toronto Press 2015), The Informal American City (MIT Press 2014), Insurgent Public Space (Rutledge 2013), Beyond Zuccotti Park (New Society Press 2013), and Landscape Urbanism and its Discontents (New Society Publishers 2013). Michael recently co-edited “Community Development and Democratic Practice,” a special issue of Community Development: The Journal of the Community Development Society. His co-edited book, Dialogos: Placemaking in Latino Communities (Routledge 2012), takes note of how Latinos are shaping the American landscape and considers how these changes both challenge and offer insight into placemaking practices in an increasingly multi-ethnic world. Michael received his Ph.D. in Geography from The Pennsylvania State University and Master of Architecture and Master of City Planning degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael is past Chair of the Community Development Graduate Group and currently serves as Housing Commissioner for the County and City of Sacramento. For his 2016/2017 sabbatical, Michael is  working on a book project focusing on design activism, image politics, and the role of institutions in cultural production. He is also developing a curriculum on social and cultural inclusion for the CA Department of Housing & Community Development.