City and Regional Planning

photo of David Gouveneur

David Gerard Gouverneur Malakoff

Associate Professor of Practice


M.Arch. in Urban Design, Harvard University
B.Arch., Universidad Simón Bolívar

  • Professor in Practice at the Department of Landscape Architecture of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Honorary Professor of the Universidad Rafael Urdaneta, Maracaibo, Venezuela (2014)
  • G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching at PennDesign in 2008 and in 2013

David Gouverneur received his M.Arch in Urban Design from Harvard University (1980) and his B.Arch from the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela (1977). He was Chair of the School of Architecture at Universidad Simón Bolívar (1987-91), as well as a professor in this School's Departments of Architecture and City and Regional Planning from 1980 to 2008. From 1991 to 1994, he was the Director, and from 1995 to 1996, the Adjunct Secretary of Urban Development of Venezuela. He was cofounder and professor of the Urban Design program and Director of the Mayor's Institute in Urban Design at Universidad Metropolitana, both created with the support of Harvard University, in Caracas, Venezuela (1996-2008). He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania since 2002, first as a visiting lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture from 2002 to 2010, and in the Department of City and Regional Planning from 2009 to 2010. He has been an Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture since 2010, and since 2012 he is Professor in Practice of this Department.

His professional practice focuses on urban plans and projects for historic districts, the rehabilitation of areas affected by extraordinary natural events, new centralities and mixed use districts, improvement of exiting informal settlements and planning ahead for emergent informal occupation, tourism/recreational areas, and the rehabilitation of cultural landscapes. He has lectured extensively, written articles and organized seminars and workshops, particularly in Latin-America for over three decades, motivating academics, professionals, and notably the general public to engage collectively in important issues affecting the urban arena, particularly addressing social inequalities, and environmental problems, and cultural erosion.

His current area of research focuses on the notion of Informal Armatures, an alternative method to address the rampant urbanization in developing countries where a high percentage of the population already lives, and will live, in self-constructed areas. In light of the limited success of conventional planning, urban, design and housing policies, Informal Armatures may prove to be a powerful tool to foster the sustainable growth of informal settlements, as the dominant form of territorial occupation in the developing world. The goal is to allow them to perform a la par and surpass the vitality, economic drive and environmental qualities of formal urbanization. The ideas are condensed in his most recent publication, Planning and design for New Informal Settlements: Shaping the Self-constructed city.

He frequently offers cross-disciplinary design studio courses addressing, social, environmental, cultural and economic issues in developing countries, mainly in Latin-America and Africa. Fieldtrips to the selected sites include working sessions/charrettes with local planning authorities, politicians, community leaders, universities, and entran Land Institute Cepreneurs. The products of such studios are frequently shared with the host cities to induce further discussion and changes in local policies. Students working under his supervision have won multiples awards since he has been at the Unversity of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design including the Urban Land Institute Competition (ULI winner, runners-up and several honorable mentions), winner of the 2008 Edmund Bacon Foundation competition, as well as numerous student awards granted by the ASLA

Courses at the Weitzman School

Elective Design Studios in Landscape Architecture and Urban Design (700 level)
Advisor of Independent Studies and Studios
Contemporary Urbanism

Work and Research