Keith PezzoliKeith Pezzoli

Director, Urban Studies and Planning Program

Associate Teaching Professor, Communication Department


Ph.D., Urban and Regional Planning, University of California, Los Angeles, 1990


Keith Pezzoli's research couples theory building, narrative development, and civic engagement with a focus on urban, rural and bioregional development. Pezzoli directs UC San Diego’s Bioregional Center for Sustainability Science, Planning and Design (Bioregional Center). The Bioregional Center builds and facilitates knowledge-action collaboratives focused on conceptualizing, designing and enabling healthy placemaking. This effort includes several interconnected multidisciplinary team projects striving to: (1) create actionable theories of socio-ecological change, and narrative frameworks, that can be used to advance sustainability, resilience and justice in regenerative city-region development; (2) build cyber-infrastructure for civically engaged research and action that fosters democratic participation and reduces inequities in the way culture and power operate in knowledge production, networking and use;  (3) design and implement green infrastructure to deal with fire, flood and drought associated with climate change; (4) eradicate food disparities; (5) restore biotic, soil and ecological health in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.


Courses Keith Pezzoli has taught include Sustainable Development, Politics of the Environment, Science Communication, Food Justice, Urban World Systems, and Field Research Methods. Pezzoli’s methods course is capstone requirement for UCSD’s Urban Studies and Planning Program—a 12 unit, fall-winter field research practicum called the Senior Sequence. The Senior Sequence guides students in designing/doing civically engaged research, writing a scholarly thesis, producing a scientific poster, artfully crafting a video that highlights findings of their senior research project, and presenting their work publically at an annual Urban Expo. Pezzoli brings in grant funding that enables students to gain field based experiential learning through community-university engagement. Topics and themes that run through Pezzoli’s in-class and off campus teaching are listed below:

Food Justice

Food justice spurring communication/linkages among social, labor, race, ethnicity, gender and environmental justice. Food justice organizations and movements.

Bioregional Theory/ Justice

Space, power and inequality; discourse analysis of socio-ecological change literature, bioregional movements and justice.

Ecopolity and Communication

New institutional and communication systems for rooted community, drivers of localization in relations of governance, economy and lifeplace stewardship, watersheds/foodsheds.

Epistemic Cultures & Science Communication

The ontological/logistical/communicative and business model challenges of federating distributed intelligence across time, space, cultures in use-inspired, problem solving ways.  New means of data visualization, mapping, integration for common wellbeing.

Citizen Science and Popular Education

Gathering, sharing and communicating data/information/knowledge by non-specialists, use of social media, crowdsourcing, democratization of science and technology, participatory planning, and decision support systems.

The Engaged University

Historical-Comparative perspective of higher education, globalization of science and academic communications, community-university relations, engaged scholarship.

Key Publications 

Pezzoli, K. (2017). “The bioregionalization of survival: Sustainability science and rooted community.” In H. Rangan, M. K. NG, L. Porter & J. Chase (Eds.), Insurgencies and Revolutions: Reflections on John Friedmann’s Contributions to Planning Theory and Practice. NY, NY: Routledge.

Pezzoli, Keith. (2016). “Bioregionalism.” In J. Adamson, W. A. Gleason & D. N. Pellow (Eds.), Keywords for environmental studies (pp. 25-28). New York: New York University Press.

Pezzoli, Keith, & Leiter Robert, Allen. (2016). “Creating healthy and just bioregions.” Reviews on Environmental Health, 31(1), 103-109. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2015-0050

Pezzoli, K., Justine Kozo, Karen Ferran, Wilma Wooten, Gudelia Rangel Gomez, and Wael K. Al-Delaimy 2014. “One Bioregion/One Health: An Integrative Narrative for Transboundary Planning Along the US–Mexico Border”, Global Society, 28: 419-40.

Pezzoli, K., Kerry Williams, and Sean Kriletich. 2011. “A Manifesto for Progressive Ruralism in an Urbanizing World”, Progressive Planning, 186, Winter: 16-19.

Pezzoli, K., Michael Hibbard, and Laura Huntoon.  2009. “Introduction to Symposium: Is Progressive Regionalism an Actionable Framework for Critical Planning Theory and Practice?”, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 28: 336-40.

Pezzoli K, Tukey R, Sarabia H, Zaslavsky I, Miranda ML, Suk WA, Lin A, Ellisman M. 2007. “The NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Data Resource Portal: Placing Advanced Technologies in Service to Vulnerable Communities.” Environ Health Perspect: doi:10.1289/ehp.9817. [Online 22 January 2007]

Pezzoli, K. 2000. Human Settlements and Planning for Ecological Sustainability: The Case of Mexico City. Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press.

Websites and Multimedia

Doing Civically Engaged Research – Overview, by Keith Pezzoli
Keith Pezzoli provides a broad overview of the meaning and practice of  "Civically Engaged Research" at the outset of a field research practicum he teaches at UC San Diego.

Los Laureles Canyon: Research in Action
Premiere Date: 11/2/2009; 29 minutes.
Keith Pezzoli led researchers from Mexico and the United States in a collaborative effort to address environmental challenges along the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Bioregional Theory Part 1, by Keith Pezzoli
Part of a series that examines the bioregionalization of planning in theory and practice.
Bioregional Center for Sustainability Science, Planning and Design (A Transdisciplinary Frontiers of Innovation Center Directed by Keith Pezzoli)
The UC San Diego Bioregional Center for Sustainability Science, Planning and Design brings diverse people and organizations together to collaboratively study and equitably improve health and wellbeing in neighborhoods and city-regions. The Bioregional Center’s transdisciplinary teams are working on initiatives to: (1) democratize science and technology in the quest for sustainable development and bioregional justice, (2) build communication systems and cyberinfrastructure that can help reduce inequities in the way culture and power operate in knowledge production, networking and use; and (3) generate theories, plans, policies and designs to make human settlements more adaptive and resilient while eradicating root causes of ecological degradation, poverty, social strife and injustice.

Global Action Research Center (The Global ARC):
Vimeo channel with 57 videos re sustainability: