Few can claim as large an influence on the built environment throughout California as Dana Cuff, Ph.D. Cuff, along with Jane Blumenfeld co-authored AB2299, the law that essentially ended single family zoning in California. Let that sink in. This landmark legislation would be a considerable achievement for a fulltime planner or legislator. For Dana, who is the founding director of UCLA’s CityLAB, it is only part of her story.

She is a Professor of Architecture/Urban Design and Urban Planning at UCLA, who has been extensively published and whose studies include infrastructure, postsuburban Los Angeles, new formulations of green design, the urban design implications of proposed high speed rail. The 2020 AIALA Educator of the Year, has not only sought and implemented progressive tools to resolve challenges in the built environment, but inspired new generations of students and thought. Here’s her honoree questionnaire.

1. Out of your projects, can you select one which you believe has most contributed to the city, how, and… why did you do it?
Definitely the Backyard Homes project, BIHOME, and ADU legislation. We effectively ended single family zoning in California! I’m very proud of that for reasons of sustainability and affordability.

2. What’s the best thing a client or community member can say to you.
Let’s keep working together.

[Celebrate Dana Cuff, Ph.D. with us at the 2020 AIALA Design Awards, October 29, 2020. To purchase tickets for this zoom event, click here.]

3. What’s your favorite public place to safe distance in LA right now?
All the parklets – for workouts, haircuts, coffee, meals out, you name it. I like taking back the street for everyday life.

4. What’s the best depiction of LA architecture in a movie, Netflix project, video or book and why (if you’re so inclined.)
Obscure perhaps, but I love the therapist’s office in “Insecure” which is inside the Gregory Ain Mar Vista Modernique homes.

5. What’s on your bucket list design-wise. What’s that dream project.
I’m working with my team at cityLAB to convert the Backyard Homes model (that led to State policy), into Schoolyard Homes, to show creative design solutions for affordable housing on public school land.

Read the press release announcing the 2020 AIALA Presidential Honoree Recipients.