Meredith Drake Reitan, Ph.D., MPL

Adjunct Associate Professor


Dr. Meredith Drake Reitan is an Associate Dean in the Graduate School at the University of Southern California and an adjunct professor in USC’s Price School of Public Policy where she teaches classes on planning history, urban design and planning theory. Her research is focused on the visual practices of urban planners and has been published in the Journal of Planning History, the Journal of Urban Design, the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, the Journal of the American Planning Association and in an edited volume for Planners Press. She also writes for KCET’s Lost LA series and a blog, called the LAvenuesProject, that uses the thousands of mundane decisions that define the look and feel of LA streets to talk about the long history of the city as a planned environment.

She is the recipient of the 2018 John Nolen Research Award from the Cornell University Library. Her work has also been supported by the Historical Society of Southern California and the California Council for the Humanities.

Prior to her involvement with USC, Dr. Drake Reitan spent many years in the non-profit sector. She served as a VISTA volunteer in rural Arizona, worked for the Corporation for National Service in San Francisco and oversaw service-learning programs for the American Red Cross in Los Angeles. From 1997 to 2001, Dr. Drake Reitan served as the Director of the National Rapid Response Corps, a program recognized by the White House at the 5th Anniversary of AmeriCorps Celebration.

Dr. Drake Retan is a Board Member of the El Pueblo Park Association, an organization dedicated to supporting El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. From 2010 to 2015, she was a Board Member and Chair of the Preservation Committee for Hollywood Heritage, Inc. She has a PhD and Masters in Planning from USC, a Graduate Certificate in Visual Studies from USC, and a B.A. in Spanish Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

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Currently Teaching
  • 550
    Heritage Conservation Policy and Planning
    Heritage Conservation Policy and Planning

    No matter your exact title, institution, training and special skills, whether architect, planner, or elected official, you will act in some capacity as manager, planner, and policy maker for historic sites and buildings. As a conservation professional, you will be expected to have a basic understanding of scholarly research; interpretation; design and aesthetics; materials conservation; public policy and land use law; real estate; and community planning. As such, this course will serve as an overview of the aspects of heritage conservation related to policy and planning.

    Recommended preparation: ARCH 549

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