Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


School of Urban Planning and Regional Studies

Major Professor

David Gladstone, PhD

Second Advisor

Vern Baxter, PhD

Third Advisor

Alex Mikulich, PhD


As the United States experiences a demographic shift that will turn it into a majority people of color nation, with Latinxs making up the largest ethnic minority group, urban planning policies and practices require adjustment to meet the cultural needs of this and other ethnic groups. This dissertation explores how Latinxs’ ethnic identity is socially constructed and intrinsically tied to cultural manifestations that are (re)shaping the nation’s-built environment. This project studies demographic changes and emerging patterns of spatial concentration of the Latinx community in the Greater New Orleans area during the last two decades. I am developing a concept of emerging barrios to describe this phenomenon.

This critical research examines Latino urbanism under the current neoliberal framework of urban development, aiming to expand on the understanding of important relationships between Latinxs and urbanization in a context that features reconstruction and revitalization of cities. Mixed methods are used to look at examples of Latino urbanism in the Greater New Orleans metropolitan area, focusing on the intersections between ethnic identity and uses and (re) adaptations of the built environment. By zooming into four neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of Latinx population in the New Orleans metropolitan region (all located in the city of Kenner), I evaluate two main assumptions behind the Latino urbanism framework in this context: 1) that Latinxs are re-shaping suburban neighborhoods and revitalizing underutilized retail corridors, improving both the quality of life and the local economy for all residents; and 2) that Latinxs have a cultural preference to live in “compact cities”. Both assumptions are intrinsically connected to Latinx’s ethnic identity formation that operates in a larger context of globalization, where neoliberal urbanism is itself always shaped - as the city always is - by both structural forces and resistance to these forces. This critical research explores how Latino urbanism might be a different paradigm for built environments by examining how this framework applies to the New Orleans metro area, with the goal of using findings to provide recommendations for equitable and inclusive policy planning that redress the imbalances of power, opportunities, and resources that contribute to the material and social inequities experienced by the largest ethnic minority group in the United States.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 17, 2024