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Marie-Alice L'Heureux, Ph.D.

School of Architecture & Design - Architecture
Primary office:
Marvin Hall
Room 405C
University of Kansas
1465 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045


Dr. L'Heureux is a registered architect (California, Kansas, and Missouri) with over twenty-five years of practice experience in New England, Quebec, and California. She obtained a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley in December 2002. Her dissertation focused on ideology and identity in the built environment in the former Soviet Union. She is especially interested in the legacy of infrastructural investment and the impact of unequal development over time. She received a Master of Architecture in Affordable Housing in 1992 and a Bachelor of Architecture (Professional Degree) in 1978 from McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Dr. L'Heureux has taught a variety of design courses including the Kansas City Urban Design Studio until 2008; Comprehensive Studio Arch 609; Graduate Studios 802, 806, and 812; and Arch 208 and 209. She has taught Professional Practice and Architectural Programming. She regularly offers seminars focused on the city (The City in the 20th Century: Capitalist, Socialist, Modern; The Socialist City: Morphology, Physiology, and Ideology; Exploring World Cities; Reading the American City). She has recently started teaching Site Design for Architects and Architectural Research Methods. She was awarded the Jack and Nancy Bradley Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011. She is also very active in the Ph.D. and MA programs having mentored the first Ph.D. student to complete the program and continuing to mentor students within the program and in CREES (at the MA level) and in Geography and History

Teaching Interests

  • Urban Design
  • Architectural design
  • Site Design
  • Urban Seminars
  • Research Methods


Dr. L'Heureux' research is focused around the concept that the built environment (the sum total of all human-made places from the national down to the home)—and the cultural landscape (the complex interaction between people and the natural environments) are created over time and embody the values of the society that created them and also help shape those values. Infrastructural investment is also rarely democratically arrayed—not everyone gets to contribute equally to its form—rulers and elites make more decisions than individual people or groups, yet individuals are far from powerless. Working from this premise she studies: what is built, in what way, and by whom; the way that meanings are ascribed to places; and the impact when multiple meanings come into conflict. Prior to teaching in a professional school her research was focused on the Republic of Estonia within the larger context of the Soviet and post-Soviet realm, including Eastern Europe. Since coming to the University of Kansas, she has broadened her research to include equity in infrastructural investment especially around issues of race and sustainability. She is asking the same questions but using different lenses (including discrimination, race, and poverty) to understand the American cultural landscape within a broader historical context. She is also continuing her research on the Baltic States, former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe. Her recent publications include: "The Twentieth-Century City: Socialist, Capitalist, Modern," 2015; "The Creative Class, Urban Boosters, and Race: Shaping Urban Revitalization in Kansas City, Missouri." Journal of Urban History (2015) and "Infrastructure, Social Injustice, and the City—Parsing the Wisdom of Jane Jacobs," 2012, in The Wisdom of Jane Jacobs", Eds. Sonia Hirt with Diane Zahm. In 2015 she started research on Presidential Libraries and Museums with her colleague, Kapila Silva.

Research Interests

  • Politics of the Built Environment
  • Architecture
  • Infrastructure
  • Urban Studies
  • Sustainability
  • United States and Canadian Cities
  • Former Soviet Union and Eastern and Central European Cities and Architecture
  • Social and Cultural Aspects of Architecture


Professor L'Heureux' service extends from the departmental to the international level. She is particularly interested in promoting scholarly exchanges. In that capacity she sponsored three State Department scholars through the Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) Irina Branko from Albania, (Spring 2009), Milena Dinic, Serbia (Spring 2010), and Sarhat Petrossian, Armenia, Spring 2011. She has served on the University Fulbright and DAAD committees since 2004 and at the national Fulbright selection committee in 2012, 2016 and 2017.

She is a peer reviewer for Urban Design History; Journal of Architecture Planning Research; Journal of Baltic Studies; Archipedia; and the Environment Design Research Association;

Selected Publications

L'Heureux, M. (2016). Russian Review

L'Heureux, M. Lindsay, G. & Morhayim, L. (2015). Making Sense of Sustainability: Balancing Technology, User Satisfaction, and Aesthetics. In , Revisiting Social Factors: Advancing Research into People and Place (pp. 139-65). Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

L'Heureux, M. Karimi, P. & Stubblefield, T. (2015). The Creative Class, Urban Boosters, and Race: Shaping Urban Revitalization in Kansas City, Missouri. Journal of Urban History, 41(2), 245-260. DOI:10.1177/0096144214563504

L'Heureux, M. (2015). The Twentieth-Century City: Socialist, Capitalist, Modern. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies , 2(3), 297-306. http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jucs.2.3.297_1

L'Heureux, M. (2014). Volume 73, Issue 2, April 2014, Pages: 297–337, The Russian Review 73(2) University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas: Wiley Periodicals. DOI:10.1111/russ.10731

Selected Presentations

L'Heureux, M. . (11/09/2017 - 11/12/2017). Microrayon Planning in the Estonian SSSR: Conflicting Modernist and Socialist Principles . (ASEEES) Association for Slavic East European and Eurasian Studies.. Chicago, IL

L'Heureux, M. . (10/26/2017 - 10/29/2017). Urban Renewal Theory and Divergent Practices: Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas” . SACRPH, (Society of American City and Regional Planning History). Cleveland, Ohio

L'Heureux, M. . (06/02/2017). “Two Cities Struggle with the legacy of Urban Renewal and Highways in the Age of Google Fiber” . EDRA Environmental Design Research Association. Madison, WI

L'Heureux, M. . (11/19/2016). “Popular Opinion, Violence, and Late Socialist Normalcy: Responses to the Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-1989,” Discussant. Annual Convention of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies . Washington DC

L'Heureux, M. . (11/18/2016). The Legacy of Stalinism in Soviet Latvia: Repression, Immigration and Industrialization,. Annual Convention, Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. Washington DC

L'Heureux, M. . (09/08/2016). Urban Renewal and Urban Highway-Cataclysmic Development and the Culture of the City. Urban Experience Seminar. Hall Center

L'Heureux, M. . (03/20/2016). A Tale of Two Cities: Urban Renewal Claims and Realities in Kansas City. Main Branch Public Library, Kansas City, MO. Kansas City, Missouri. Available Here

L'Heureux, M. . (03/17/2016). “The Effects of Urban Renewal on Both Kansas Cities,” . Up-to-Date, Radio Interview, March 17, 2016.. KPR Lawrence broadcast from KCUR KCMO 89.3 FM. Available Here

L'Heureux, M. . (11/20/2015). Teaching the Socialist City. ASEEES. Philadelphia, PA

Silva, K. . (11/05/2015). Presidential Libraries and Their Cities: From Rural Memorial to Urban Campus. SACRPH, (Society of American City and Regional Planning History. Los Angeles, CA

L'Heureux, M. . (11/22/2014). Contesting the Red Army's Liberation: War Commemorations in Estonia post-War to post-1989. ASEEES Conference. San Antonio, Texas. Available Here

L'Heureux, M. . (05/29/2014). Neighborhoods Back from the Edge: "Make it Right" / "Do It Yourself" two neighborhood revitalization projects in Kansas City. New Orleans, LA. Available Here

L'Heureux, M. . (04/12/2014). Selling and Buying the Socialist City: Architectural Practice and the State. Visions and Foundations Second World Urbanity: Between Capitalist and Communist Utopias . Washington, DC. Available Here

L'Heureux, M. A. (11/20/2013 - 11/24/2013). Soviet Ideology in Estonian Town Planning. Panelist, Revolutions reconsidered: Soviet Hybridity: Baku, Kiev, Tallinn. ASEEES National Conference. Boston, MA

L'Heureux, M. A. (06/16/2013 - 06/19/2013). Estonian (Baltic) Exceptionalism: Town Planning and Soviet Ideology. Presentation, 10th Conference on Baltic Studies in Europe, Cultures, Crises, Consolidations in the Baltic World, Tallinn University. Tallinn, Estonia

L'Heureux, M. A. (11/17/2012). Binding the City: Mass Transit, Private Cars, and the Organization of Tallinn, Estonia. Panelist, Urban Walls, Infrastructural Barriers, and Peripheral-Boundaries: Post-Soviet Public Space in Ljubljana, Sofia, Tallinn. Association of Slavic East European and Eurasian Studies. New Orleans, LA

L'Heureux, M. A. (04/30/2012). Energy Consumption and the Built Environment: Estonia into the 2020s. Panelist, Environment and Public Health Panel, Association of Baltic Studies.

L'Heureux, M. A. (03/01/2012). Utopias Dystopias from the Progressive Era to a Sustainable Future. Presentation, Digital Aptitudes. Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Boston, MA

Teaching and Research Interests

Marie-Alice L’Heureux, Ph.D., AIA, is a registered architect with over twenty-five years of practice. She obtained a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and has taught at UC Berkeley, at the Ivan Franko University in Lviv, Ukraine, and for the Kansas City Art Institute Summer Program in Kecskemét, Hungary, and has been at the University of Kansas since the Fall of 2003 teaching architectural design and a variety of seminars on the city and sustainability. She worked in the Energy and Environment Division at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the mid-1990s and does research, writing, and teaching on the social and cultural issues that surround the successful implementation of principles of sustainability. These issues have led her to focus on power and the built landscape and to examine the question, who gets to build what, where, and how? She is especially interested in the legacy of infrastructural investment and the impact of unequal development over time. Geographically her work has focused on the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe as well as in the major cities of the United States and Canada.

Dr. L'Heureux has written numerous book reviews, articles, and conference papers on urban infrastructure, sustainability, and the socialist city. She is currently writing an article on LEED and sustainability as it relates to architectural education and urban equity. Her recent publications include "Utopias, Dystopias from the Progressive Era to a Sustainable Future," Digital Aptitudes. Eds. Mark Goulthorpe and Amy Murphy, Washington, D.C., Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2012.

"Infrastructure, Social Injustice, and the City—Parsing the Wisdom of Jane Jacobs,” 2012, in The Wisdom of Jane Jacobs”, Eds. Sonia Hirt with Diane Zahm, Routledge's Series in Planning, History and the Environment: 156-189.

"Reclaiming the Missouri Riverfront: Reconnecting Kansas City and Its River Roots," in Vitruvius on the Plains: Architectural Thought at Kansas, 1912-2012, Ed. Stephen Grabow (School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS) 287-96.

“Modernizing the Estonian Farmhouse, Redefining the Family 1860-1920” Journal of Baltic Studies, 41 (4) 2010 pp. 473-506.

Academic Areas

  • Architecture


Areas of Expertise

Social and Cultural Aspects of Architecture and Urban Design; Baltic, Eastern European and Russian Architecture and Culture; Politics of Urban Design; and the Built Environment and Affordable Housing



  • Ph.D. Arch., California (Berkeley), 2002
  • M. Arch., McGill University (Montreal), 1993
  • B. Arch., McGill University