Boyz N The Hood Turns 30

The Boyz N The Hood film and years of street reporting on NWA albums helped me become an urban planner in/for South Central LA.

I learned the word “gentrification” from Furious Styles’s speech on the street corner in Compton.

Voices of Equity and Embedded Planning

Recorded January 18, 2019 at American Planning Association HQ amidst our work on the national Social Equity Task Force. Since then, #EmbeddedPlanning has exploded onto the scene. And as my mentees will attest, I continue to big up Mike Davis’s City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1990). Start with the Fortress LA chapter. It’s a groundbreaking critique of #HostileArchitecture ⚔️

Podcast: Embedded Planning in the Plains of Id

Excerpt of South Central LA Thick Map for “Flatlands: We Cannot Pod From Our Desks”

In November 2020, I was interviewed by grad students from the UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative. Their research methods seminar examined LA urban theory + praxis through the lens of Reyner Banham’s Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971).

I spoke at length about @EmbeddedPlanning praxis, west coast hip hop origins, and South Central LA.

The group distilled our conversation into a dope podcast called, “Flatlands: We Cannot Pod From Our Desks.”

Listen to my podcast interview and view the companion Thick Map of South Central LA — portion of it is this post’s image. Check out all project podcasts and infographics.

Thank you to Samantha Solis, Miranda Hirujo-Rincon, Carrie Gammell, and Celia Sanchez Zelaya.

Support My Writing and Publishing Through Ko-Fi

For a micro-donations platform, I use Ko-fi (coffee, but it rhymes with “No Fee”)

Ko-fi enables folks to support my writing and publishing passion projects.

A key feature of the platform is that Ko-fi sends 100% of the donations to me as creator ☕️

As my work on Embedded Planning praxis progresses, I’m now starting, in earnest, to write on more topics close to my heart. This includes reflective autobiography, critical analysis of public space, Los Angeles and Southern California history, and profiles of community leaders written from my on-the-ground perspective.

Donations help fund many aspects in my creative process, such as research, printing, database access, copyediting fees, and of course, the iterative and emotional part of writing.

Anything helps.

If you support my writing, please consider donating through Ko-fi so I can bring these stories to the people.

Thank you,

Jonathan Pacheco Bell, MAUP, MLIS @c1typlann3r

Creating Equitable Public Spaces Through Embedded Planning

On April 20, 2021, I delivered the guest lecture, “Creating Equitable Public Spaces Through Embedded Planning.”

It was originally scheduled for one graduate class at UCLA. By day’s end I added a second talk for undergraduates at Cal Poly Pomona.

The talk was created for the UP 279: Public Space Seminar at UCLA Urban Planning. This was one of my favorite courses when I was a student there. Professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris invited me to return as a speaker. She was my advisor in the MAUP (now MURP) program at UCLA, and taught this course back then too.

The presentation traced my work since graduation in 2005. I explained how I’ve created inclusive public spaces, and interrogated exclusionary hostile architecture, through street-level planning praxis.

The second talk was an evening presentation in Professor Alvaro Huerta’s course, Planning for Minority Communities, at Cal Poly Pomona Urban & Regional Planning. I appreciated the students welcoming this unscheduled event. Fun fact: I met Alvaro when we were both MAUP students in Anastasia’s Introduction to the History of the Built Environment course at UCLA Urban Planning.

Many students said that this was their introduction to the concept of #HostileArchitecture. Students continue to show excitement for the idea of Embedded Planning — planning practice on the ground. As always, I learned a lot from both Q & A sessions. Every question, comment, and critique advances Embedded Planning.


Join us for “The Road to AICP,” a comprehensive conversation about the prevailing planners’ certification in the US.

I’m a panelist delivering the segment, 𝘾𝙊𝙐𝙉𝙏𝙀𝙍𝙋𝙊𝙄𝙉𝙏𝙎 𝙏𝙊 𝘼𝙄𝘾𝙋.

Friday, March 19th at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT. Webinar is free to all.


Sponsored by APA Women & Planning Division / APA Ohio.

Embedded Planning Talk in South Bend, Indiana

Just wrapped a presentation on Embedded Planning praxis with planners and city staff at the City of South Bend in support of the Linden Avenue Greenhouse Project ✔️ Shout out to my South Bend colleagues for the conversation and help growing #EmbeddedPlanning. And huge thank you to Dominique D. Edwards for organizing today’s talk 🙌🏽 💙 🏁

Let’s take planning to the streets.

We Cannot Plan From Our Desks!

Embedded Planning Keynote at the University of Utah

Stoked to announce that I’m delivering the keynote address for the Internalizing Equity series at the University of Utah Department of City & Metropolitan Planning:

“𝙒𝙚 𝘾𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙣 𝙁𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙊𝙪𝙧 𝘿𝙚𝙨𝙠𝙨: 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙉𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙁𝙤𝙧 𝙀𝙢𝙗𝙚𝙙𝙙𝙚𝙙 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜,” Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Note the different Timezone start times: 11am Los Angeles / 12pm Salt Lake City.

RSVP to join here:

️Thanks to Bianca Paulino, Claudia Loayza, and Professor Stacy Harwood!

Jonathan Pacheco Bell is a practicing urban planner with over 20 years of experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors spanning the fields of urban planning, architecture, and library/information science. He is the creator of #EmbeddedPlanning, a praxis that situates the work of planners on the ground to advance equity, build authentic relationships, and increase public participation for historically marginalized communities through street-level engagement. Its maxim is: We Cannot Plan From Our Desks! After 14 years as an Embedded Planner in South Central LA for local government and community-based organizations, he recently launched C1TYPLANN3R Company, a workshop to produce new thought and action in his intersecting fields. Jonathan holds an MA in Urban Planning from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, an MLIS from SJSU iSchool, and undergraduate degrees in political science and architecture.

Embedded Planning Is Praxis

On February 25th, I launched my new virtual speaking series on #EmbeddedPlanning. It was only right to inaugurate this public talk at UCLA Urban Planning, where I was a student of Edward Soja and Jackie Leavitt in 2003-2005. Much of the DNA of Embedded Planning traces back to their courses.

This talk covered the origins of the idea, defined the praxis, showed what Embedded Planning looks like on the ground, offered some benefits and critiques, and concluded with takeaways for theory and practice. A lively discussion followed, and from there I was able to advance my thinking about the praxis. I also took that opportunity to announce my pivot to freelance practice with the newly launched C1TYPLANN3R Company.

Huge shout outs to our event’s co-sponsors: PRAXIS, Planners of Color for Social Equity, and the UCLA Institute on Inequality and Democracy. Thanks so much for bringing everyone together here. And thank you to everyone who joined from across different time zones, geographies, and hemispheres! The talk was recorded and archived for later viewing. Please contact me if you’d like to see it.

Are you interested in hosting an Embedded Planning talk in your community? Please hit me up.