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Marie-Alice L'Heureux, Ph.D.

School of Architecture & Design - Architecture
Associate Professor
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 [Review of the book Russia. Modern Architectures in History. , Richard Anderson, Reaktion Books, London, 2015].

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

L'Heureux, M. (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. (2014). Volume 73, Issue 2, April 2014, Pages: 297–337, [Review of the book Soviet Modernism 1955-1991 Unknown History , Katharina Ritter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair, Dietmar Steiner, and Alexandra Wachter, eds., Arkhitekturzentrum Wien, Zurich: Park Books, 2012 ]. The Russian Review 73(2) University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas: Wiley Periodicals. DOI: 10.1111/russ.10731

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