Dr. Cuff has engaged the cultural studies of architecture as a teacher, scholar, practitioner, and activist. Her leadership in urban innovation is widely recognized both in the U.S. and abroad. In 2006, Cuff founded cityLAB, a research and design center that initiates experimental projects to explore metropolitan possibilities. cityLAB is currently developing sustainable, high-performance, low-cost housing prototypes for infill sites ranging from backyards to schoolyards. In 2017, after a decade of research that included a full-scale demonstration house built on the UCLA campus, Cuff co-authored California State legislation, effectively opening 8.1M single-family lots for secondary rental units. cityLAB represented the United States at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale, was featured on CNN and in Newsweek magazine, and was named one of the top four urban think tanks in the country by Architect Magazine.
Since 2013, Cuff has led a cross-disciplinary team at UCLA with a substantial multi-year award from The Mellon Foundation for the “Urban Humanities Initiative.” UHI offers students from architecture, urban studies, and the humanities a Graduate Certificate for innovative study of collective life in Pacific Rim megacities. Cuff co-authored a book about this effort entitled Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City (MIT Press, 2019). This is the most recent of numerous books, including Architects’ People (with W.R. Ellis; 1989), Architecture: The Story of Practice (1989), The Provisional City (2000), and Fast Forward Urbanism (with Roger Sherman, 2011). Dana Cuff publishes and lectures extensively about the modern American metropolis, the architectural profession, affordable housing, and architecture’s role in the city.