Helga Leitner

Helga Leitner

Emeriti Faculty

UCLA Geography, Center for South-East Asian Studies, Asia-Pacific Center, Institute for Inequality and Democracy, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Austrian Academy of Sciences

Office: 1144 BUNCHE HALL

Email: hleitner@geog.ucla.edu

Phone: 3108251071

Curriculum Vitae


(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.


Ph.D. University of Vienna, Austria


My current research projects focus on rethinking global urbanism, and land transformations and displacement in cities and peri-urban areas of the global South, using Jakarta as a case study, local politics of immigration and belonging, and cities as sites of multicultural encounters.

Selected Publications


Leitner, H., Peck, J. and Sheppard, E. (eds.) 2019. Urban Studies Inside/Out: Theory, Method, Practice. London: Sage Publications.https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/urban-studies-insideout/book258268

Fincher, R., Iveson, K., Leitner, H., Preston, V. 2019. Everyday Equalities: Making Multicultures in Settler Colonial Cities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/everyday-equalities

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

Nijkamp, P., Leitner, H. and Wrigley, N., (eds.), 1985. Measuring the ‘Unmeasurable’:  The Analysis of Qualitative Spatial Data.  Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague. 713 pp.

Leitner, H., 1983. “Gastarbeiter in der städtischen Gesellschaft – Zum Problem der Segregation, Integration und Assimilationvon Arbeitsmigranten am Beispiel der jugoslawischen Gastarbeiter in Wien”. Verlag Campus, Frankfurt/New York. 328 pp.



Blumberg, R., Leitner, H. and Cadieux, V. 2020. For food space: Theorizing alternative food networks beyond alterity. Journal of Political Ecology 27, 1, 1-22.

Tjung Ju L., Leitner, H., Sheppard, E., Herlambang, S., and Astuti, W. 2020. Space grabs: Colonizing the vertical city. Forthcoming in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E. 2020. Global urbanism inside/out: Thinking through Jakarta. Forthcoming in C. McFarlane and M. Lancione (eds) The Handbook on Global Urbanism: Essays on the City and its Future. Routledge.

Webber, S., Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E. 2020. Wheeling out urban resilience: Philantrocapitalism, marketization and local practice. Forthcoming in Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

Sheppard, E., Sparks, T. and Leitner, H. 2020. World class aspirations, urban informality, and poverty politics: A North-South comparison. Antipode 52, 2, 397-407.

Leitner, H. 2019. Towards new meeting places – engagements, reconstructions, reorientations. Review symposium on: David Harvey (1989) from managerialism to entrepreneurialism: the treansformation in urban governance in lage capitalism, Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, 71 (1) 3-17 and Clarence Stone (1989) Regime Politics. Governing Atlanta, 19436-1988. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press. Urban Geography https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02723638.2019.1697074

Leitner, H., E. Sheppard and J. Peck 2019. Urban Studies Unbound: Postmillennial spaces of theory. In H. Leitner, J. Peck, and E. Sheppard (eds) Urban Studies Inside-Out: Theory, Method, Practice. Los Angeles: Sage, pp. 3-20.

Sheppard, E., H. Leitner and J. Peck 2019. Doing Urban Studies: Navigating the methodological terrain. In H. Leitner, J. Peck, and E. Sheppard (eds) Urban Studies Inside/Out: Theory, Method, Practice. Los Angeles: Sage, pp. 21-44.

Peck, J., H. Leitner and E. Sheppard 2019. Urban Studies Inside/out: a guide for readers and researchers. In H. Leitner, J. Peck, and E. Sheppard (eds) Urban Studies Inside-Out: Theory, Method, Practice. Los Angeles: Sage, pp. 45-68.

Leitner, H., Peck, J. and E. Sheppard 2019. Turning Urban Studies Inside/out. In H. Leitner, J. Peck, and E. Sheppard (eds) Urban Studies Inside-Out: Theory, Method, Practice. Los Angeles: Sage, pp. 229-244

Herlambang, S., Leitner, H., Tjung, L., Sheppard, S., Anguelov, D. 2018. Jakarta’s great land transformation: Hybrid neoliberalisation and informality. Urban Studie Available Online: DOI: 10.1177/00420980187


Leitner, H., Sheppard, E., Webber, S., and Colven, E. 2018. Globalizing urban resilience. Urban Geography. Available online: DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2018.1446870

Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E. 2018. Grassroots struggles for the city of the many:  from the politics of spatiality to the spatialities of politics. In Doreen Massey – Critical Dialoguesedited by Jamie Peck, Marion Werner, Brett Christopher and Rebecca Lave. Newcastle, UK: Agenda Publishing, 313-324.

Anguelov, D., Leitner, H. and Sheppard, E. 2018. Engineering the financialization of urban entrepreneurialism: The JESSICA urban development initiative in the European Union. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 42: 573-593.

Sheppard, E. and Leitner, H. 2018. A tale of two GPEs: Decentering macro-geopolitics. Environment and Planning A 50, 2: 479–483.

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. In A. Jonas, B. Miller, K. Ward and D. Wilson (eds) The Routledge Handbook on Spaces of Urban Politics. London: Routledge, 451-464.

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 92, 1-55.

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, 86-108.

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)

Grants & Awards

2019 Recipient of the of the Association of American Geographers Distinguished Scholarship Honors.

2018  Recipient of the Österreichisches Ehrenzeichen f. Wissenschaft und Kunst – Austrian Honorary Medal for Sciences and the Arts

2018  Fellow of the Association of American Geographers

2014-present Elected to the Research 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

Graduate Students

Current Ph.D. advisees:  D. Anguelov, Ph.D. candidate, UCLA; D. Irawaty, Ph.D. candidate, UCLA, S. Nowak, Ph.D. candidate UCLA

Former Ph.D. advisees: KT Bender,  Lecturer, UCLA; Emma Colven, Asst. Prof., University of Oklahoma; A. Ikizoglu, Asst Prof. Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey; A. Huff, Postdoctoral Fellow, Kettering Foundation, Ohio; S. Butcher, Asst Prof., University of Witwatersrand, South Africa (2015), U. Lang, Postdoctoral Fellow, Rhode Island School of Design, RI; Renata Blumberg, Asst. Prof. Montclair State University, J. Shannon, Asst. Prof. University of Georgia, Athens, C. Strunk, Assoc. Prof. Augustana College; K. Walker, Assoc. Prof. TCU; J. Blecha, Assoc. Prof. SFSU; D. Martin, Assoc. Prof. Clark University; D. Maralack, Asst. Prof. University of Cape Town, SA; J. Byers, Minneapolis Planning Department; T. Matejskova, Assoc. Prof. Roskilde University, Denmark; N. Clough, Univ. of Minnesota, Duluth; L. McCarthy, Assoc. Prof. Univ. Wisconsin; P. Ehrkamp, Prof. Univ. Kentucky; U. Pillay, HSRC, South Africa; S. Elwood, Prof. University of Washington; P. Sabourin, Assoc. Prof. Normandale University; K. Sziarto, Assoc. Prof. U of Wisconsin; J. Gubsa, Univ. of Asmara; H. Jung, Assoc. Prof., Seoul National University; A. Kiaga, ILO East Africa Migration Division; H. Kurtz, Prof. Univ. Georgia.