Clara Irazábal is the Director of the Urban Studies and Planning Program (URSP) in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (MAPP) at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park, in the Washington DC area. She previously was the Director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies Program and Professor of Planning in at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Irazábal also worked as Associate Professor and Director of the Latin Lab at Columbia University in the City of New York and Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California.
She got her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and has two master degrees, one from UCB and another from the Central University of Venezuela. In her research and teaching, she explores the interactions of culture, politics, and placemaking, and their impact on community development and socio-spatial justice in Latin American cities and US Latinx, immigrant, and minority communities.
Irazábal has published academic work in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. She is the author of Urban Governance and City Making in the Americas: Curitiba and Portland (Ashgate, 2005) and the editor of Transbordering Latin Americas: Liminal Places, Cultures, and Powers (T)Here (Routledge 2014) and Ordinary Places, Extraordinary Events: Citizenship, Democracy, and Public Space in Latin America (Routledge 2008, 2015). Irazábal is an editorial board member of internationally accredited architectural and planning journals and book presses, including associate editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA).
Irazábal has worked as consultant, researcher, and/or professor in countries of the Americas, Europe, and Asia. She is a lecturer at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, where she annually teaches a course in a European Erasmus Mundus program. She has taught award-winning planning and multidisciplinary studios internationally in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Trinidad and Tobago; and domestically in Latinx, Black, and immigrant/refugee communities. Irazábal frequently offers her expertise on local, national, and international media.