Marie-Alice L'Heureux

Marie Alice L'Heureux
  • Associate Director; Faculty Mentor
  • Professor

Contact Info

Office Phone:
Department Phone:
Marvin Hall, room #405C


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' 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


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

Selected Publications

L’Heureux, Marie-Alice. 2016. “Review of Russia. Modern Architectures in History, byRichard Anderson, London: Reaktion Books, 2015.” Book Reviews. The Russian Review.
L’Heureux, Marie-Alice. 2015. “The Twentieth-Century City: Socialist, Capitalist, Modern.” Journal Articles. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 2 (3): 297–306. http://
L’Heureux, Marie-Alice. 2015. “Making Sense of Sustainability: Balancing Technology, User Satisfaction, and Aesthetics.” Book Chapters. In Revisiting Social Factors: Advancing Research into People and Place, edited by Georgia Lindsay and Lusi Morhayim, 139–65. Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
L’Heureux, Marie-Alice. 2015. “The Creative Class, Urban Boosters, and Race: Shaping Urban Revitalization in Kansas City, Missouri.” Journal Articles. Edited by Pamela Karimi and Thomas Stubblefield. Reinventing the American Post-Industrial City 41 (2): 245–60.

Selected Presentations

L'Heureux, M. (11/9/2017 - 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. (6/2/2017). 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. Panel 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. (9/8/2016). Urban Renewal and Urban Highway-Cataclysmic Development and the Culture of the City. Urban Experience Seminar. Hall Center
L'Heureux, M. (3/20/2016). A Tale of Two Cities: Urban Renewal Claims and Realities in Kansas City. Main Branch Public Library, Kansas City, MO. Kansas City, Missouri,.
Silva, K. (11/5/2015). 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. (11/20/2015). Teaching the Socialist City. ASEEES. Philadelphia, PA
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.
L'Heureux, M. (5/29/2014). Neighborhoods Back from the Edge: "Make it Right" / "Do It Yourself" two neighborhood revitalization projects in Kansas City. Environmental Design Research Association Conference. New Orleans, LA.
L'Heureux, M. (4/12/2014). Selling and Buying the Socialist City: Architectural Practice and the State. Visions and Foundations Second World Urbanity: Between Capitalist and Communist Utopias
. Washington, DC.
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. (6/16/2013 - 6/19/2013). 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. (4/30/2012). Energy Consumption and the Built Environment: Estonia into the 2020s. Panel on ‘Environment and Public Health’, Association of Baltic Studies Conference
L'Heureux, M. A. (3/1/2012). Utopias Dystopias from the Progressive Era to a Sustainable Future. Presentation, Digital Aptitudes. Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Boston, MA

Awards & Honors

Graduate Faculty Research Funds
University of Kansas
2013 - 2014
Graduate Faculty Research Funds
University of Kansas
2012 - 2013
Course development grant
University of Kansas, International Studies Program
2009 - 2012
New Course Development Grant
CREES (Center of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies)
2009 - 2012
Sabbatical Leave
Fulbright Scholar, Finalist, Estonia
Jack and Nancy Bradley Award for Excellence in Teaching
University of Kansas, School of Architecture, Design and Planning
Interdisciplinary Teaching Seminar
CTE (Center for Teaching Excellence)
2008 - 2010
Graduate Faculty Research Grant
University of Kansas
2007 - 2008
Hall Center for the Humanities, Research Grant
Hall Center, University of Kansas
Hall Center for the Humanities Dissertation to Book Workshop
Hall Center, University of Kansas
Project Manager, National Park Service, American Institute of Architects’ Historic Structure Report and Feasibility Study Grant, Mutual Musicians Foundation, 2005-2006.
American Institute of Architects (AIA)
2005 - 2006
New Faculty General Research Grant, “Top down/Bottom Up: Comparing Traditional Planning and Community Controlled Development Methods and Projects,”
University of Kansas
ACLS, American Council of Learned Societies, Dissertation Fellowship
Eva Li Memorial Fellow
Architecture, UC Berkeley
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor
UC Berkeley


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;