• Assistant Professor, City & Metropolitan Planning

Research Summary

As an academic, my ultimate goal is to enhance the role of planning organizations, non-profits, universities, and resident associations as valuable community resources to advance diversity, access, and inclusion.


  • Bachelor of Science, Biology-Environmental Sciences , Inter-American University
  • Associates of Applied Science , Environmental Safety & Health, Central New Mexico Community College
  • Master, Latin American Studies, University of New Mexico. Project: Thesis: From Bomb Zone to Boom Town: Real Estate Trends and Community Based Practice in Vieques, Puerto Rico
  • Master , Community and Regional Planning, University of New Mexico. Project: From Bomb Zone to Boom Town: Real Estate Trends and Community Based Practice in Vieques, Puerto Rico
  • PhD , Urban Planning and Policy , University of Illinois at Chicago. Project: The Puerto Rican Identity: Reconstructing Ownership in the Face of Change


Ivis Garcia Zambrana is an Assistant Professor in City and Metropolitan Planning (CMP). At CMP she works in close collaboration with the University Neighborhood Partners (UNP). Her philosophy, methodology, and ethos revolves around conducting research and plans in partnership with stakeholders, being from the grassroots or from institutionalized forms of government.

Dr. Garcia is an urban planner with research interests in the areas of community development, housing, and engagement. She has spent time as a community organizer and planner in Albuquerque, New Mexico, San Francisco, California, Springfield, Missouri, Washington, D.C., and most recently Chicago. As a practitioner, Dr. Garcia has led several large-scale housing projects such as the BRAC Homeless Assistance Submission for the Concord Community Reuse Project and a program evaluation for the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund. She completed a series report for the Illinois Latino Family Commission to advise the Governor and General Assembly about issues affecting Latino families at the state level.

She has a long history of working with and for communities throughout the country. Specifically, by facilitating the integration of racialized and ethnic groups into planning democratic processes. Her most recent theoretical studies have sought to elucidate currently existing as well as historic relationships between market typologies, the structured dynamics of housing stratification and distribution, and community development strategies in diverse (primarily Latino) communities. Her work has implications pertaining to the problems of uneven development, the role of the state in the formation and maintenance of market-economies, grassroots organizing, and housing policy more generally.

Ivis earned her Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds dual master's degrees from the University of New Mexico in Community and Regional Planning and Latin American Studies and a bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences from Inter-American University in Puerto Rico.