Photo by Tom Zasadzinski, University Photographer, Cal Poly Pomona

Jonathan Pacheco Bell, MAUP, MLIS @c1typlann3r

I’m a change agent working across conventional disciplinary boundaries. For more than 20 years, my work has spanned the fields of urban planning, architecture, libraries, community and labor organizing, and nonprofit leadership.

I’m a practicing city planner with over 16 years of experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The bulk my work has been done on the ground in working class communities of color, with intentional focus in South Central LA.

While operating as a street-level planner in Florence-Firestone, I created Embedded Planning. The praxis situates the planner’s work on the streets — not in an office — to increase equity and participation for historically marginalized populations, particularly Black and Brown communities harmed by inequitable planning. Embedded Planning has grown into an international, decentralized, horizontal movement embraced by emerging planners. Our maxim is: “We Cannot Plan From Our Desks!”

Through my two decades-long career, I’ve developed expertise in community engagement, participatory planning and design, inclusive public space, General, Specific, Community and Vision Plans, code enforcement, zoning ordinances, planning studies, policy writing, and project management.

Through my movement-based work, I found my way to nonprofit leadership. During my first stint in public sector planning, I was an elected Board Member in the California Association of Professional Employees (CAPE Union, AFL-CIO). I served as an inaugural Board Director for Words Uncaged, a narrative therapy organization for incarcerated Californians. For over a decade, I’ve been a leader in the American Planning Association. I’m a member of the Latinos and Planning Division. I served as 2021 Social Media Director for APA Los Angeles and was the Southern California representative on the APA National Social Equity Task Force. I’m currently serving as Vice President of the Florence-Firestone Community Organization, which we’re now converting into a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

I’m a published author with pieces in popular media, peer-reviewed journals, and books. You can find my writing in Planning Magazine, Cultural Daily, Public Libraries Quarterly, and Focus: The Journal of Planning Practice & Education, to name a few publications. I’m a regular contributor on Medium and a past correspondent for UrbDeZine Los Angeles. My chapter on library history is in the book, A Paseo Through Time in Florence-Firestone.

I’ve guest-lectured widely on planning praxis. My speaking engagements include UCLA, Columbia GSAPP, University of Utah, Pratt Institute, Stanford Engineering, UC Irvine, Woodbury University, Cal Poly Pomona, CSUN, East LA College Architecture, and Pasadena City College Architecture; state and national APA Conferences; and public forums such as MOCA Los Angeles, City Parks Alliance, and the SF Urban Film Fest.

As Adjunct Professor at the Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design, I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning and Department of Ethnic & Women’s Studies. In 2022, I developed a new course from the ground up on community-based planning praxis for Pitzer College.

Born in Boyle Heights and raised in East LA/Montebello, I’m a First Generation scholar-practitioner. This experience motivated me to become a mentor to emerging planners, architects, and designers in the US and Canada. My mentees include high school, community college, undergrad, and graduate students, and the majority are students of color.

A product of the California public school system from kindergarten to graduate school, I hold an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, an MLIS from San Jose State University iSchool, a B.A. in Political Science from Cal State LA, and an A.A. in Architecture/Liberal Arts from East Los Angeles College.

Connect with me at: @c1typlann3r.