Helga Leitner

Contact Information

Email    hleitner@geog.ucla.edu
Office  1144 BUNCHE HALL
Phone  3108251071

(Ph.D. University of Vienna, Austria) is a professor with research interests in international migration, politics of immigration and citizenship, urban development & sustainability, global urbanism, urban social movements, and socio-spatial theory. She teaches undergraduate and courses related to her research interests.

Fields of Study

Political and urban geography; international migration, immigrant incorporation, politics of immigration and citizenship, urban development and sustainability, urban social movements, and socio-spatial theory; regional foci USA, Europe, and SE Asia.


2014-present Elected to the Advisory Board of the Austrian Academy of Sciences                                       2012 Residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center 
2011 Co-Director for Social Science Research Council’s Dissertation Proposal Development Field 
2010 Scholar of the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 
2006-2014 Scientific Advisory Board of the Faculty of Geosciences, Geography and Astronomy, University of Vienna, Austria 
2009 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccelaureate, Graduate and Professional Education, University of Minnesota and elected member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers 
2008 Elected Associate Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences 
2007 Outstanding Graduate Student Advising Award, Department of Geography, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Selected Publications

  • Leitner, H., Peck, J. and Sheppard, E., (eds.), 2007. “Contesting Neoliberalism : Urban Frontiers”. New York: Guilford Press. 336 pp


  • Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E. 2017. From Kampung to Condos? Contested accumulations through displacement in Jakarta. Forthcoming Environment and Planning A.

  • Leitner, H. and Nowak, S. 2017. Making multi-racial counter-publics: Toward egalitarian spaces in urbanpolitics. Forthcoming in Spaces of Urban Politics.

  • Jones, JP III, Leitner, H., Marston, S., and Sheppard, E. 2017. Neil Smith’s scale. Antipode 49, S1: 138-152.

  • Leitner, H., Colven, E. and Sheppard, E. 2017. Ecological security for whom? The politics of flood alleviation and urban environmental justice in Jakarta, Indonesia.  In J. Christensen, U. Heise and M. Niemann (eds) The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities. London, Routledge: 194-205.

  • Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E. 2016. Provincializing critical urban theory: Extending the ecosystem of possibilities. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 40, 1: 228-235.

  • Chang, C., Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E. 2016. A green leap forward? Eco-state restructuring and the Tianjin-Binhai eco-city model. Regional Studies 50, 6: 929-943.
  • Sheppard, E., Gidwani, V., Goldman, M., Leitner, H., and Roy, A. 2015.  Urban revolutions in the age of global urbanism. Urban Studies 52, 11: 1947-1961.

  • Fincher, R., Iveson, K., Leitner, H., and Preston, V. 2014. Planning in the multicultural city: celebrating diversity or reinforcing difference? Forthcoming in Progress in Planning 45,000 word manuscript. DOI: 10.1016/j.progress.2013.04.001

  • Leitner, H. and Strunk, C. 2014. Spaces of immigrant advocacy and democratic citizenship. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104, 2: 348-356.
  • Blecha, J. and Leitner, H. 2014. Re-imaging the food system, the economy and urban life: New urban chicken keepers in US cities.  Urban Geography 35
  • Sheppard, E., Leitner, H. and Maringanti, A. 2013. Provincializing global urbanism: A manifesto. Urban Geography 34. (PDF)
  • Strunk, C. and Leitner, H. 2013. Resisting federal-local immigration enforcement partnerships: redefining ‘secure communities’ and public safety. Territory, Politics, Governance 1, 1: 62-85. (PDF)
  • Leitner, H. 2012. Spaces of encounters: Immigration, race, class and the politics of belonging in small town America. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102, 4: 828-846. (PDF)
  • Staeheli, L., Ehrkamp, P., Leitner, H. and Nagel, C. 2012. Dreaming the ordinary: Daily life and the complex geographies of citizenship. Progress in Human Geography 36, 5: 628-644. (PDF)
  • Strunk, Ch. and Leitner, H. 2012. Redefining secure communities. The Nation online
  • Matejskova, T. and Leitner, H. 2011. Urban encounters with difference: The contact hypothesis and immigrant integration projects in eastern Berlin. Social & Cultural Geography, 12, 7: 717-741. (PDF)
  • Walker, K. and Leitner, H., 2011. The variegated landscape of local immigration policies in the US. Urban Geography, 32, 2: 156-178.(PDF)
  • Leitner, H. and Preston, V. 2011. Going local: Canadian and US immigration policy in the new century. In: A. Kobayashi, Wei Li and Carlos Teixeira (Eds.) Immigrants In Canadian and American Cities. Oxford University Press Canada, 2-21.
  • Sziarto, K. and Leitner, H. 2010. Immigrants riding for justice: Space-time and emotions in the construction of a counterpublic. Political Geography, 29, 7: 381-391. (PDF)
  • Sheppard, E. and Leitner, H. 2010. Quo Vadis neoliberalism? The remaking of global capitalist governance after the Washington Consensus. Geoforum 41, 185-194. (PDF)
  • Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E. 2009. The spatiality of contentious politics: More than a politics of scale. In R. Keil and R. Mahon (eds) Leviathan Undone? Towards a Political Economy of Scale. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 231-246.
  • Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E., Sziarto, K. 2008. The spatialities of contentious politics. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 33, 3: 157-172. (PDF)
  • Leitner, H. and Miller, B., 2007. Scale and the limitations of ontological debate: a commentary on Marston, Jones and Woodward/ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 32, 1: 116-125. (PDF)
  • Leitner, H., Sheppard, E. and Peck, J., 2007. Squaring up to neoliberalism. In Contesting Neoliberalism: Urban Frontiers, H. Leitner, J. Peck, and E. Sheppard (Eds). New York: Guilford Press, 311-327.
  • Leitner, H. Sheppard, E., Sziarto, K., Maringanti, A., 2007. Contesting urban futures: Decentering neoliberalism. In Contesting Neoliberalism: Urban Frontiers, H. Leitner, J. Peck, and E. Sheppard (Eds). New York: Guilford Press, 1-25.
  • Leitner, H. and Ehrkamp, P., 2006. Transnationalism and migrants’ imaginings of citizenship. Environment and Planning A, 38, 9: 1615-1632. (PDF)
  • Ehrkamp, P. and Leitner, H., 2003. Beyond national citizenship: Turkish immigrants and the (re)construction of citizenship in Germany. Urban Geography 24, 2: 127-146.
  • Elwood, S. and Leitner, H., 2003. GIS and Spatial Knowledge Production for Neighborhood Revitalization: Negotiating State Priorities and Neighborhood Visions. Journal of Urban Affairs 25, 2: 139-157.
  • Leitner, H., 2003. The politics of scale and networks of spatial connectivity: Transnational inter-urban networks and the rescaling of political governance in Europe. In E. Sheppard and R. McMaster (Eds.) Scale and Geographic Inquiry: Nature, Society and Method. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2003, 236-255.
  • Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E., 2002. Die Stadt ist tot, es lebe das Netz – Harnessing inter-urban networks for a neoliberal urban agenda? Antipode vol. 31: 595-618. Reprinted in N. Brenner and N. Theodore (eds.), 2002. Spaces of Neoliberalism – Urban restructuring in North America and Western Europe. Oxford: Blackwell: 148-171.
  • Leitner, H., Sheppard, E., Elwood, S., McMaster, R., and McMaster, S., 2000. Modes of GIS provision and their appropriateness for neighborhood organizations – examples from Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, vol. 12, 4: 45-58.
  • Leitner, H., 1997. Reconfiguring the spatiality of power - The construction of a supra-national migration framework for the European Union. Political Geography, 16, 2: 123-143.
  • Delaney, D. and Leitner, H., 1997. The political construction of scale. Political Geography, 16, 2: 93-97. (PDF)


My current research projects focus on local politics of immigration and belonging, cities as sites of multicultural encounters, and rethinking global urbanism.

Grad Students

Former Ph.D. advisees: Renata Blumberg, Asst. Prof. Montclair State University, J. Shannon, Visiting Asst. Prof. University of Georgia, Athens, C. Strunk, Asst. Prof. Augustana College; K. Walker, Asst. Prof. TCU; J. Blecha, Asst. Prof. SFSU; D. Martin, Assoc. Prof. Clark University; D. Maralack, Asst. Prof. University of Cape Town, SA; J. Byers, Minneapolis Planning Department; T. Matejskova, Central European University, Budapest; N. Clough, Univ. of Minnesota, Duluth; L. McCarthy, Assoc. Prof. Univ. Wisconsin; P. Ehrkamp, Assoc. Prof. Univ. Kentucky; U. Pillay, HSRC, South Africa; S. Elwood, Prof. University of Washington; P. Sabourin, Assoc. Prof. Normandale University; K. Sziarto, Asst. Prof. U of Wisconsin; J. Gubsa, Univ. of Asmara; H. Jung, Lecturer, Seoul National University; A. Kiaga, ILO East Africa Migration Division; H. Kurtz, Assoc. Prof. Univ. Georgia.