Nan Ellin

Chair and Professor

Nan Ellin is Chair of the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning. Ellin’s work in urban design, placemaking, community-building and university-neighborhood partnerships aims to enhance quality of life, specifically through improving the built and natural environments. She has developed a process for accomplishing this called VIDA: Visioning, Inspiring, Demonstrating, and Advocating. Most recently, Ellin applied this process with students and communities to introduce canalscape. This metropolitan initiative is leveraging the vast network of canals in the Phoenix region, originally built by early inhabitants over a millennium ago, by creating vital urban hubs where canals meet major streets. Canalscape is one of the Green Phoenix initiatives and was awarded an Arizona Humanities Council Grant and designated an Official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project by the Arizona Governor’s Centennial Commission.

Ellin’s book Postmodern Urbanism (1996) surveys and critiques urban design in the Western world from the late 1960s to 1990. She served as editor of Architecture of Fear (1997), an anthology about the relationship between fear and city-building. Integral Urbanism (2006) describes a potentially optimistic big picture currently unfolding in the United States and Western Europe, offering a primer on restoring heath and well-being to the contemporary city by incorporating five qualities: hybridity, connectivity, porosity, authenticity, and vulnerability. Ellin’s new book, Good Urbanism describes a paradigm shift currently underway from focusing on deficits to assets, fostering a felicitous turn in urban design, placemaking, and community building. Illustrated with 10 case studies from around the U.S., Good Urbanism offers a clear path for accelerating this shift in our own practices.

Her collected public scholarship about Metropolitan Phoenix, Desert Urbanism, can be viewed by clicking on a link below:
Part I
Part II
Part III

Ellin holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Urban Planning from Columbia University, an M.A. from Columbia University in Cultural Anthropology, and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in Anthropology and Hispanic Studies.

Urban and suburban revitalization, Urban Design, Placemaking, Community Building, Integral urbanism, Sustainable urbanism, Nature in the City, University-Community Partnerships.