Michael Larice, PHD portrait
  • Associate Professor (Lecturer), City & Metropolitan Planning

Research Summary

Prof. Larice is working on publication of a compendium of high density urban neighborhoods that exhibit and help to define characteristics of urban livability. Other projects include: articles on the practice and teaching of indirect urban design; theories of livabilty; and the editing/coordination of the 2nd Edition of Routledge's Urban Design Reader.


  • BA Design, Fine Arts / Design, UCLA. Project: none
  • M. Architecture, Architecture / Graduate School of Arch + Urb Plng, UCLA. Project: Migrant Farmworker Housing in Watsonville, California
  • PhD, City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley. Project: Great Neighborhoods: The Livability and Morphology of High Density Neighborhoods in Urban North America



Michael Larice is an Associate Professor of Urban Design and City Planning at the University of Utah’s College of Architecture + Planning.  Although he is an architect, city planner, and urban designer – he is primarily an urbanist. He takes a comparative approach in teaching and research to help students better understand the various urbanisms and urban theories that operate concurrently across the country and around the world – how places overcome struggle, why they survive, and what makes them thrive. In his teaching he stresses the importance of contextual response and inter-disciplinary collaboration for the success of projects and their sustainability over time. Most of his urban design studios are partnered with clients trying to solve very real public realm and development problems. Among these clients hve been the cities of Abu Dhabi, UAE – Seattle, Washington – Oranjestad, Aruba – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Salt Lake City, Utah, and Vancouver, British Columbia.  This pluralistic and pragmatic approach to design helps students build skills, operationalize theory, and approximate the challenges they will find in their professional careers.

Professor Larice’s professional and academic work focuses largely on the urban design of livable places - streets, transit, housing, neighborhoods and cities. Previous research looked at dense urban neighborhoods, development approvals processes, and slum upgrading.  He has several projects underway now, including: research on the impacts of new urban streetcar lines on community livability and economic development;  urban arterial livability and redevelopment; and, a history and theory of livability thought. With his co-editor Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald of UC Berkeley, a second edition of The Urban Design Reader was published by Routledge in December 2012. A very successful first edition was published by Routledge in 2006. He is currently working on a new book entitled, An American Agenda – Planning and Design for Social Sustainability.

Professor Larice is a California native who holds a PhD in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, where his dissertation work in urban design focused on the form and livability of high density neighborhoods in North America.   He holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts in Design from UCLA. Prior to  joining the University of Utah, he taught urban design, city planning, housing, planning theory, design history, and international development at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of British Columbia, and the University of California, Berkeley. For several years he served as the Urban Design Track Chair for the American Collegiate Schools of Planning. He currently coordinates the University of Utah’s Graduate Certificate in Urban Design and teaches introductory and advanced level urban design studios, urban design methods, urban design case studies, urban theory and form history.  In 2009, Professor Larice was awarded the G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, he was named Professor of the Year at the University of Utah’s College of Architecture + Planning.  In Fall 2015, Professor Larice’s urban design studios won an Honor Award and a Merit Award from Urban Design Utah an AIA sub-committee.  He became Co-Chair of Urban Design Utah in December 2015 .