12 Asian American and Pacific Islander Urbanists Planners Should Know

Learn more about twelve AAPI leaders who have designed buildings and skylines, influenced the built environment, shaped U.S. history, and advocated for communities and residents.

1 minute read

June 1, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By Clement Lau


I.M. Pei

I.M. Pei designed one of the most famous buildings in Paris. | Dmitry Brizhatyuk / Shutterstock

The month of May is officially Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month which was established to recognize the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. In its effort to celebrate and acknowledge AAPIs who have shaped our cities and advanced the field of planning, the American Planning Association (APA)'s Planning magazine recently published this article by Taylor Moore which honors the following twelve distinguished individuals (listed in roughly chronological order):

  1. I.M. Pei (1917-2019)
  2. Fred Cordova (1931-2013)
  3. Norman Yoshio Mineta (1931-)
  4. Robert "Bob" Santos (1934-2016)
  5. Maxine Kahaulelio (1938-)
  6. Moanike'ala Akaka (1944-2017)
  7. Paul Ong (1949-)
  8. Diane Sugimura (1949-)
  9. Manjusha P. Kulkarni (1969-)
  10. Maya Lin (1959-)
  11. Monisha Das Gupta (1961-)
  12. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon (1972-2018)

APA recognizes that the above list is by no means comprehensive, but is intended to "shine a spotlight on the many ways that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have built careers in service of their communities, especially in the face of adversity." To learn more about each individual, please read the source article.

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