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Photo of López-García, David

David López-García

Assistant Professor

Department of Urban Planning and Policy

Pronouns: he / him


Building & Room:

CUPPA Hall, Suite 215, Office 217


412 S Peoria St., Chicago, Illinois.

Office Phone:


Related Sites:

Courses taught at UIC Heading link

LALS/US 220 – Latin American Cities in a Global Context: Environment, Employment, and Housing.

GEOG/US 100 – Concepts in Geography.

UPP 506 – Plan Making Studio.

UPP 508 – Global Urbanization and Planning.


My research looks at shifts in the urban spatial structure of large urban regions and its implications for accessibility to jobs and the quality of life of workers. I use spatial analytic tools and statistical modeling to understand whether places of increasing employment are accessible to those most in need of work. I also look at the policy-making process of state-led efforts that aim to influence the evolution of urban spatial structure.

My book, "Worker Mobility and Urban Policy in Latin America: Policy Interactions and Urban Outcomes in Mexico City," is a result of my doctoral dissertation published by Routledge in 2023. My book develops and applies the Policy Interactions Framework, an analytical framework inspired by and designed specifically for urban policy analysis. It also puts forward the Choiceless Mobility Hypothesis, a process through which the long-term interaction between economic development, housing, and transport policies have produced mobility situations that consistently increase the transportation costs for worker.

My main research project is titled "Shifts in Urban Spatial Structure and Accessibility to Jobs in Latin American Urban Regions: Mexico City, São Paulo, and Buenos Aires," a comparative study to better understand the production of geographies of low accessibility to jobs in the three larger Latin American urban regions. I have secondary research projects on related topics in Guadalajara (Mexico), Montevideo (Uruguay), and New York City and Chicago (United States).

I am part of several international research networks. I serve as the Academic Director for the Latin American Chapter of the International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low-Income Communities (INTALInC-LAC). I am an active member of the Permanent Seminar for Spatial Inequalities organized by El Colegio de México (Colmex) and the Policy Mobilities Working Group (PMWG) organized by the Tecnológico de Monterrey and the University of Toronto.

At CUPPA, I am Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Urban Economic Development (CUED) and Institute Affiliate in the Great Cities Institute (GCI), I teach in the Economic Development area of specialization, I coordinate the seminar series "The Many Urbanisms of the Global South: Policy Nuances and Particularities", and I co-direct the Urban Spatial Structure Working Group.

Selected Grants

Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP), University of Illinois Chicago, "Race, travel time, and quality job access in Chicagoland: Comparing models of job accessibility with actual commuting burden", Principal Investigator ($10,000)

Gao-Zhang for Geospatial Technologies Research Award. University of Illinois Chicago, Comparative analysis of multiple methods of employment subcenter detection, Co-Principal Investigator ($8,000)

Selected Publications

Peer review journals

López-García, D. (2024) Diverging mobility situations in Greater Mexico City: Exploring the factors behind the mobility situations of public transport commuters. Urban Studies. Online first.

Baker, D. & López-García, D. (2024) Do shifts in the racial and ethnic composition of a neighborhood lead to extreme changes in commuting times? Evidence from New York City. Travel Behavior and Society, 36, 100775.

López-García, D. & Heathcott, J. (2024) Showcase Politics: The production and distribution of new public space in Mexico City. Journal of Urban Affairs. 46(4), 772-790.

López-García, D. & Baker, D. (2023) Diverging Mobility Situations: Measuring Relative Job Accessibility and Differing Socioeconomic Conditions in New York City. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 113(1), 149-168.

Whitney, R. & López-García, D. (2023) Fast-track institutionalization: The opening of urban planning best practice agencies in Mexico City. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 41(3), 600-616.

Heathcott, J. &  López-García, D. (2022) Design Highs and Policy Lows in the Making of New Public Space in Mexico City. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability. Online first.

López-García, D. & Gómez-Álvarez, D. (2022) Estructura urbana del Área Metropolitana de Guadalajara, 1999-2019: Un análisis de subcentros de empleo [Urban structure of Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, 1999-2019: An analysis of employment subcenters]. Estudios Demográficos y Urbanos, 37(2), 427-481.

López-García, D. (2017) Mediation styles and participant’s perception of success in consultative councils: The case of Guadalajara, Mexico. Journal of Public Deliberation, 13(2), Article 10.


Authored books

López-García, D. (2023) Worker mobility and urban policy in Latin America: Policy interactions and urban outcomes in Mexico City. London: Routledge.


Edited books

Delgado, G. & López-García, D. (2020) Cities and COVID-19: New Directions for Urban Research and Public Policies. Mexico City: Knowledge Platform for Urban Transformation, International Network for Government and Science.


Book chapters

López-García, D., Whitney, R. & Heathcott, J. (forthcoming) Institucionalización fast-track y política de vitrina como estrategias para la consolidación de innovaciones en la gestión urbana. In Cesar Rentería and David Gómez-Álvarez (Eds.), Pensar fuera de la caja burocrática: espacios para la innovación pública en América Latina. University of Guadalajara Press.

López-García, D. (forthcoming) Desarrollo Urbano en las Áreas Metropolitanas en Jalisco: Tendencias en la evolución de su estructura urbana e implicaciones para la calidad de la vida. In Adrián Acosta (Ed.), Jalisco, mañana: Proyecto de actualización de Jalisco a Futuro, visión 2050. University of Guadalajara Press.

López-García, D. (2023) Trajectorias residenciales y experiencia de movilidad en la Zona Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México. In Pablo Elinbaum and Gonzalo Sanz Cerbino (Eds.), Espacio, Tecnología y Acumulación: La construcción de una agenda de investigación para los estudios urbano-regionales. Buenos Aires: CONICET, CEUR.

López-García, D. (2023) Desigualdades en el viaje al trabajo en la Zona Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México. In Martha Schteingart, Clara Salazar, and Jaime Sobrino (Eds.), Desigualdades Territoriales: Miradas Cruzadas. México: El Colegio de México.

López-García, D. (2023) El transporte público masivo: accesibilidad y exclusión social. In David Gómez-Álvarez et al (Eds.). Jalisco a medio camino: Balance parcial 2018-2021. Volumen I, Políticas públicas locales. Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara.

López-García, D. (2022) Building Inequality: Infrastructure and Intra-Urban Inequality in the Capitalist City. In Deljana Iossifova, Yahya Gamal and Alexandros Gasparatos (Eds.), Urban Infrastructuring: reconfigurations, transformations, and sustainability in the Global South. Singapore: Springer Nature.

López-García, D. (2019) La Paz, Bolivia: The social construction of risk and vulnerability. In Michael Cohen, Margarita Gutman and María Carrizosa (Eds.) Facing Risk. New Urban Resilience Practices in Latin America, The New School.


Policy reports

López-García, D. (2022) How just is public transport in African Cities? Nairobi: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES).

Cohen, M., Simet, L., López-García, D., Orr, B., De La Cruz, M. & Issadeen, A. (2018) The Habitat Commitment Project: Monitoring and assessing progress at the city level. New York: Global Urban Futures Project, The New School.

Cohen, M., López-García, D., Jaimes, M., Simet, L., Gálvez, J., Delgado, G. & Verduzco, B. (2017) Análisis costo-beneficio de la Ecozona-Toluca [Cost-benefit analysis of Ecozona-Toluca]. New York: German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), The New School.

López-García, D. & Issadeen, A. (2017) Habitat Commitment Index: Access to safe, clean water. New York: Global Urban Futures Project, The New School.

Cohen, M., Orr, B., Simet, L., Carter, C., De La Cruz, M., Jaimes, M., Kim, Y., López-García, D. & Roberts, J. (2016) The Habitat Commitment Project: Assessing the past for a better urban future. New York: Global Urban Futures Project, The New School.

Professional Leadership

Academic Coordinator, Latin American Chapter of the International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low-Income Communities (INTALInC-LAC).

Coordinator, Seminar series "The Many Urbanisms of the Global South: Policy Nuances and Particularities".

Co-Director, Urban Spatial Structure Working Group.


Ph.D. in Public and Urban Policy, The New School.
M.Phil. in Public and Urban Policy, The New School.
M.S. in Comparative Public Policy, FLACSO-México.
B.A. in Management, Universidad de Guadalajara.

Research Currently in Progress

  • Shifts in Urban Spatial Structure in Three Large Latin American Urban Regions and its Implications for Accessibility to Jobs: Mexico City, São Paulo, and Buenos Aires.
  • The governance of urban spatial structure in large urban regions, with the case studies of Mexico City Metropolitan Zone and Guadalajara, Mexico.
  • Race, travel time, and quality job access in Chicagoland: Comparing models of job accessibility with actual commuting burden.
  • Methods for the identification of employment subcenters and their application in the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area.