Nico Calavita


Doctorate, University of Florence, Italy

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Prof. Calavita’s areas of interest include affordable housing and community development, growth management, the politics of growth, comparative planning, site planning and urban design. His research and publications on housing policies, such as Housing Trust Funds, Housing Linkage Fees, and especially Inclusionary Housing (IH), are based on his direct involvement with local community-based organizations and residents, in attempts to implement those programs in the City of San Diego, as well as other parts of California. For example, he was co-founder of the San Diego Affordable Housing Coalition that was instrumental in the passage of IH in 2002 in the City of San Diego. Similarly, his consulting is connected to community development issues. For example, he was involved in the preparation of land use and transportation plans for communities in Southeast San Diego and – with Professor Roger Caves - the Interim Outcome Assessment of the Enterprise Community Program of the City of San Diego for the US Department of Housing and Community Development.

He has published over two dozen Op-Ed pieces that have appeared in the San Diego Union, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, as well as published in professional outlets such as the American Planning Association’s Planning, CA Planner and academic journals including the Journal of Urban Affair, Journal of Planning Education and Research and Journal of the American Planning Association. In 2010 he co-authored with Alan Mallach, “Inlusionary Housing in International Perspective: Affordable Housing, Social Inclusion, and Land Value Recapture”, published by the Lincoln Land Institute. These works inform community members, public officials, and students by grounding dialogue in evidence-based research, while acknowledging the political context of community decision-making. In recognition of his equity planning work he was awarded the 2016 Marylin Gittel Activist-Scholar Award by the Urban Affairs Association.

After retiring in 2011 he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he has been working with the East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) to implement land value recapture in the Bay Area as a mechanism to produce affordable housing and other community benefits. As part of that collaboration he has co-authored a white paper on The Theory, Economy and Practice of Public Benefits Zoning for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission of the San Francisco Bay Area and published “Practice Value Capture” in Zoning Practice for the American Planning Association.
He has also held leadership positions in the San Diego region. He has served on numerous committees for the City of San Diego, including Chair of the Housing Trust Fund Board of Trustees, and for the regional agency SANDAG, as well as the boards of the City Heights Community Development Corporation, the League of Conservation Voters and the Jacobs Foundation.

His interest in growth has an international component as well. He was consultant to the Tijuana Planning Department (IMPlan) on the update of the General Plan of the city, Tijuana 2000. His publication in the Journal of Urban History “Behind Barcelona’s Success Story: Citizen Movements and Planners’ Power,” (co-authored with Amador Ferrer) is based on his sabbatical research on planning in Barcelona. He has taught at the Universities of Naples, Florence and Reggio Calabria in Italy.