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About Us - LAtino Urban Forum

The Latino Urban Forum (LUF) was founded in 1999 by a group of urban planners and architects whose concern was to establish a venue to address urban issues affecting Latino communities.

The need to establish this group was identified after James Rojas’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1991 masters thesis “The Enacted Environment:  The Creation of Place by Mexican/Mexican Americans in East Los Angeles”.  His research demonstrated that Latinos are retrofitting public space to fit their needs and are reshaping urban America in this process. However there is clear disconnect between land use and transportation policies that regulate Latino communities.  This disconnect between existing urban policies and the well being of Latino communities has been the force behind the Latino Urban Forum’s philosophy of good urban planning

LUF initial focus brought together urban planners, and like minded people to discuss and educate each other on the Latino built environment.  LUF’s meeting focused on landuse, transportation, housing and cultural planning. Soon LUF was presenting its though provoking ideas on Latino urbanism at community meetings, high schools, colleges, universities and professional urban planning, transportation and architectural conferences as well as writing articles for news papers and trade journals on the subject.  The new awareness on Latino urbanism generated by LUF attracted new research in this field of study at major universities and think tanks.

LUF has become an articulate voice for the LA’s Latino community for landuse and transportation projects impacting them.  Through this voice LUF has gained credibility and has developed extensive partnerships with several other advocacy groups through a series of projects and campaigns.  These partnerships have included, but not limited to: Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR), North East Trees, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition, LA Walks, the Chinatown Alliance and the Mothers of East LA as well as the offices of several public officials.  These partnerships have saved public space in Northeast Los Angeles, advocated for pedestrian safety, created a jogging path in Boyle Heights and advocated for a park bond and more funds for open space.  Incorporating the group will lend greater leveraging resources to the Latino Urban forum to continue to improve its projects through partnerships.

LUF mission has been able to recruit highly educated, professional Latinos to utilize their knowledge and skills to problem-solve and innovate, to the benefit of underserved, and often underprivileged, communities of Los Angeles.  To date, over 500 volunteer architects, urban planners, public administrators and lawyers have combined their skills to develop strategies and provide technical expertise on various infrastructure and land-use issues in the Latino community.

As the Latino population increase in the US so does the need to create urban policies and projects that promote, protect and enhance their communities, therefore expanding LUF visionary role of equitable urban planning for these communities.  

LUFs Mission Statement:
 Latino Urban Forum (LUF) is dedicated to improving the quality of life and sustainability of Latino communities in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. LUF partners with communities through public education and dialogue, the provision of technical assistance and capacity building, and advocacy on such critical urban issues as planning, land use and the environment and their effects on health and culture.