Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

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:

312 355 1819

Related Sites:


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy (UPP), contributing to the department's Economic Development area of specialization. I am a research fellow at the Center for Urban Economic Development (CUED) and the Great Cities Institute (GCI). My research looks at shifts in the urban spatial structure of large urban regions and its implications for accessibility to jobs and workers' quality of life. 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. I focus my research on Latin American urban regions and occasionally work in other areas of the Global South and the United States.

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 makes two contributions. First, it develops and applies the Policy Interactions Framework, an analytical framework inspired by and designed specifically for urban policy analysis. Second, it puts forward the Choiceless Mobility Hypothesis: a process by which the interaction between the spatial location of the demand for labor, the housing pathways available for workers, and the political economy of public transport interact to produce geographies of low accessibility to jobs with costly mobility.

My ongoing research project titled "The Governance of Urban Spatial Structure" studies the case of Mexico City Metropolitan Zone to understand better what governs the evolution of urban form in large urban regions. To answer this question, I am conducting a series of individual studies about the evolution of economic agglomerations, housing policy and workers' housing pathways, public transport policy, the distribution of urban amenities, changes in land-use regulation, and the spatial distribution of informal economic activity. I have secondary research projects on related topics in Guadalajara in Mexico, São Paulo in Brazil, and New York City and Chicago in the United States.

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. (forthcoming) Diverging mobility situations in Greater Mexico City: Exploring the factors behind the mobility situations of public transport commuters. Urban Studies. Online first.

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.

López-García, D. & Heathcott, J. (2022) Showcase Politics: The production and distribution of new public space in Mexico City. Journal of Urban Affairs. Online first.

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 [Fast-track institutionalization and showcase politics as strategies to consolidate urban innovations]. 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 [Urban Development of Jalisco’s metropolitan areas: Trends in the evolution of urban spatial structure and its implications for quality of urban life]. 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 [Housing pathways and the mobility experience in Mexico City Metropolitan Zone]. 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 [Inequalities in the journey to work in Mexico City Metropolitan Zone]. 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 [Mass public transport: accessibillity and social exclusion]. 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)


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

  • The governance of urban spatial structure in large urban regions, with the case study of Mexico City Metropolitan Zone.
  • The journey to work as relative accessibility to jobs in selected urban regions across Latin America and the United States.
  • Shifts in the spatial location of the demand for labor in Mexican metropolitan areas and in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Urban Growth Machines with Latin American characteristics: The Governance of urban spatials structure in Guadalajara, Mexico.
  • Race, travel time, and quality job access in Chicagoland: Comparing models of job accessibility with actual commuting burden.