University of Southern California
Annenberg School for Communication

About the Project

Area Profiles

PhotoGeorge Villanueva

George Villanueva is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and affiliated with the Metamorphosis Project.  He pursues questions about the changing global context of community, civic engagement, sustainable urban development, democracy, the city, and visual communication practices. He particularly is interested in theories, methods, and practices that develop engaged scholarship within universities to effect positive social change in urban communities.  His dissertation examined the impact of engaged communication scholarship on the re-imagination of South L.A. as a space and place.

As an appointment by Mayor Eric Garcetti, George currently serves on the East Los Angeles Area Planning Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles.

He also recently served as the program manager for the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative ( The project is aimed at creating sustainable economic development in the NELA river study area and funded by a HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities grant.

George is a contributing writer and filmmaker for the public media outfit KCET Departures and his column Engaging Spaces investigates how people and organizations engage urban space to make Los Angeles a more livable, socially just, and fun city.

He has worked as a Community Organizer and Field Deputy for former Los Angeles City Council member, and now Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Senior Field Representative and Research Coordinator for former CA State Assembly member Jackie Goldberg, and has worked in community program evaluation and planning for different organizations.

George graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a double major in Black Studies and History and received a MSc in Global Media & Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a native Angeleno and embraces the chaos of Los Angeles.