Embedded Planning

Selected resources on Embedded Planning praxis.

Embedded Planning situates the planner on the ground in the community to understand people’s needs, build trust and authentic relationships, participate in daily community life, increase participation for marginalized communities through street-level engagement, and ultimately advance equity. Embedded planners move with intention to carryout their work from the spaces and places of community members. You de-institutionalize planning. You take planning to the streets. Embedded Planning is a praxis that puts theory into action to better this world.

For a compendium of my Embedded Planning blog posts, click here.


Jonathan Pacheco Bell. We Cannot Plan From Our Desks. Planning. October 2018.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell. I Recognize This Bureaucracy. Medium. December 23, 2022.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell. Embedded Planning in Environmental Justice Communities: Three Takeaways for Practice. Medium. September 17, 2022.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell. Embedded Planning Returns to ELARA. Medium. December 18, 2020.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell. The Unforgettable Role of Cal Poly Pomona in the Development of Embedded Planning. Medium. June 13, 2020.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell. “We Are a Movement:” Students Advance Embedded Planning at the National Planning Conference. UrbDeZine. May 14, 2019.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell. An Urban Planner on the Ground in South Central Los Angeles. UrbDeZine. January 30, 2018.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell. Mutual Aid at Lunchtime. Cultural Weekly. December 6, 2017.

Jake Wegmann and Jonathan Pacheco Bell. The Invisibility of Code Enforcement in Planning Praxis: The Case of Informal Housing in Southern California. Focus: The Journal of Planning Practice & Education 13(1), 20-29. 2016.

Jeannene Przyblyski (with Jonathan Pacheco Bell et al). A Paseo Through Time in Florence-Firestone. East of Borneo Books. 2018. (Embedded Planning was used to write this book in partnership with community members)


University of Utah, City and Metropolitan Planning Department. We Cannot Plan From Our Desks! The Need for Embedded Planning. Keynote, Internalizing Equity Series. April 8, 2021.

University of Utah, City and Metropolitan Planning

American Planning Association. We Cannot Plan For Equity From Our Desks. June 21, 2021.

American Planning Association

AARP Livable Communities Workshop. Engaging Older Adults: Why It’s Good For The Community. Plenary Panel – Collaborating with the Community. September 22, 2021.

AARP Livable Communities

USC Annenberg/JOVRNALISM. Echoes of the Uprising. April 14, 2022.


Podcast Interviews

Urban Planning is Not Boring. Embedded Planning Praxis with Jonathan Pacheco Bell. September 26, 2022.

@UrbanDesignProject (with Isabelle Soares). What is Embedded Planning Praxis? A Discussion on the Interfaces of Urban Planning Research and Practice. Instagram Live. September 25, 2022.

UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative. Fall 2020 Graduate Seminar and Methods Course. Flatlands – We Cannot Pod From Our Desks. May 2021.

The Streets Are Planning. Express Yourself w/ Jonathan Pacheco Bell. February 25, 2021.

You Are Planning (Cal Poly Pomona). Interview with Jonathan Pacheco Bell. May 2020.


Cal Poly Pomona. Expert Q & A – Embedded Planning: A Practitioner’s Origin Story. CPP Magazine. Fall 2022 edition, published January 2023. (Also see short PDF version)

Kenneth Miller. Livable Interview: Jonathan Pacheco Bell. AARP Livable Communities. February 15, 2021.


Michael Mendez. The Reflective Practitioner in the Context of Racial and Environmental Justice. Planning Theory & Practice. June 2022. (Embedded Planning is discussed as a praxis for the future)

Ryan Dickerson. Grief Urbanism: Placemaking, Surrealism, and Freedom Inside Protest Camps. Master’s thesis. Ball State State University. May 2022. (Embedded Planning is cited in the Introduction)

Kha Vue. Understanding Radical Planning Through the Lens of Reflective Practice. Master’s thesis. Cal Poly Pomona. May 2022. (Embedded Planning is discussed in the context of professional practice and connections to Radical Planning)

Carolyn M. Levine. Beyond Trauma: A Healing-Centered Framework for Urban Planning. Master’s thesis. Pratt Institute. May 2021. (Embedded Planning is discussed in the recommendations chapter, PDF forthcoming)

Luis D. Diaz. Urban Planning and Queer Erasure: A Study of Hudson River Park and Reclaiming Our Spaces. Master’s thesis. Pratt Institute. February 2021. (Embedded Planning is referenced in the closing chapter)

Wes Grooms. Planners in Politics: Do They Make a Difference? Journal of the American Planning Association, Volume 87, Issue 2. 2021. (Embedded Planning is referenced in this book review)

Andy Lopez. Exploring the Community Land Trust Model: An Analysis of Community Land Trusts in California, and the Impacts of Assembly Bill 2818. Master’s thesis. Cal Poly Pomona. Spring 2020. (Embedded Planning is discussed in chapters 2 and 3 as an applied method for practice)

Izzak Mireles. Housing is a Human Right. Planning. December 2019. (Embedded Planning is cited in reference to justice and community-grounded practice)

Wes Grooms. Planning is Governing. Planning. July 2019. (Embedded Planning is cited as inspiration for politically active planners)

Hannah L. Diaz. Bidding AD(ie)U to Homelessness? Master’s thesis. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. June 2019. (Embedded Planning is discussed in the recommendations chapter)

Miguel Ramos. An Exploratory Look at Displacement in Highland Park. Master’s thesis. Cal Poly Pomona. Spring 2019. (Embedded Planning is discussed in the anti-displacement strategies and policy recommendations sections)

American Planning Association. Planning for Equity Policy Guide. May 19, 2019. (Embedded Planning is cited in the For Further Reading section)