Karen Umemoto is the Helen and Morgan Chu Endowed Director's Chair of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. She received her Master's degree in Asian American Studies from UCLA and her Ph.D. in Urban Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She worked as a professor at the University of Hawaii for 22 years before returning to her alma mater with a joint position in Asian American Studies and Urban Planning. Her research centers on issues of democracy and social justice in multicultural societies with a focus on US cities. She also examines and pursues planning processes that include a diverse array of voices, acknowledges different ways of knowing, and allows for meaningful deliberations. She is equally concerned about the structural, procedural and relational obstacles to attaining a just and democratic society. Her research and practice thus takes a broad view of planning in the context of social inclusion, participatory democracy and political transformation.