With Edward Soja on Graduation Day at UCLA 17 Years Ago Today

Edward W. Soja and me on graduation day June 17, 2005 at UCLA Urban Planning. Photo by Jonathan Pacheco Bell

Edward Soja and me on graduation day 17 years ago today. Grad school was tough. I felt the weight of the neighborhood on my shoulders. I nearly dropped out 5 times, but Ed inspired me to stay and keep at it. My work with Soja would help me create Embedded Planning years later. The moral of the story: Find mentors who inspire you.

Keep the Flame Lit

The office of Edward W. Soja at UCLA Urban Planning after the 2015 In Memoriam celebration of Ed’s life. Before going home, I posted my “Epitaph for Edward W. Soja” to say goodbye, and to promise Ed that I would keep the flame lit. Photo: Jonathan Pacheco Bell

Congratulations to my fellow UCLA Bruin planners graduating today 👏🏽 You’re the next generation of planning. We’re in good hands.

Draw on our past to inform (y)our future. See the work of Edward W. Soja, Jackie Leavitt, Leo Estrada, VC Powe, Marty Wachs, John Friedmann and many others who rest in power.

Keep the flame lit.

In solidarity,
JPB @c1typlann3r

We Said Goodbye to Mary Rose Cortese of Florence-Firestone

2015 launch of the “Everyday Heroes” LA County Library project, Florence-Firestone Constituent Service Center, 7807 Compton Avenue, LA 90001. Featured: Mary Rose Cortese, Joseph Titus, and Jonathan Pacheco Bell [Photo by author]

Thank you to AARP Livable Communities Workshop organizers and my fellow panelists for this week’s conversation on engaging older adults.

On September 13th, we lost Ms. Mary Rose Cortese, one of our community elders in South Central LA’s Florence-Firestone community. Mary has joined her brother Joe Titus in the next chapter. I know they’re up there still advocating for Florence-Firestone.

Mary and Joe welcomed me into the community on Day 1 in 2009. They were honorary abuelitos to me and many others. Hug your elders. Ask them to tell you stories. Document their lives. Cherish them every day.

At the end of this #AARP session, I dedicated my presentation to Mary Rose Cortese 🙏🏽💛

In Memoriam: Jacqueline Leavitt (1939 – 2015), Professor Emerita of Urban Planning

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This has been a difficult autumn for the UCLA Luskin family.

Professor Jackie Leavitt passed away on November 27, 2015. I am lucky to have been one of her students. A tireless advocate for urbanized communities of color, Jackie is deeply missed but forever loved and respected.

UCLA Urban Planning will hold a gathering in celebration of Jackie’s life and work on Monday, March 7, 2016 at UCLA.

In Memoriam: Edward Soja (1940-2015), Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning

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Dr. Edward W. Soja. Photo courtesy of UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

I declined a scholarship at another university to study urban planning under Edward W. Soja at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Ed will be greatly missed.

His legacy lives on in us.

In Memoriam: Edward Soja (1940-2015), Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning

A celebration of Ed’s life and work will be held Monday, January 25, 2016, from 4:00PM-6:00PM at the UCLA Faculty Center, Sequoia Room.