Alec Steward headshot

Alec Stewart

Adjunct Professor

Part-Time Faculty


Alec Stewart is an architectural and urban historian with an interest in the ways that globalization, mobility, consumer cultures, racialization, and grassroots placemaking shape the built environment. His writing has addressed the revitalization of aging strip malls by immigrant entrepreneurs, cultures of public transportation, and swap meets as nodes of transnational urbanism in the late-twentieth century. He is currently writing his first book, "Meet Me at the Swap Meet: The Production and Transformation of Multiethnic Marketplaces in Los Angeles," while a forthcoming article traces how Asian American swap meet entrepreneurs influenced the emergence of West Coast Hip Hop music and fashion.

Prior to his doctoral studies, Dr. Stewart worked as an urban land use analyst in Washington, DC, and as a city planner in Oakland, California. Currently, he serves on the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s board of directors.


  • Architectural history
  • Suburban history
  • California architecture, culture, and geography

Research Areas

  • Retail architecture
  • Consumer cultures
  • Transnational urbanism


  • Board Member, Vernacular Architecture Forum


  • University of California, Berkeley, PhD in Architecture, 2020
  • George Washington University, MA in Geography, 2011
  • University of California, Berkeley, BA in Architecture, 2005

Prior Experience

  • Lecturer, Architecture, University of California, Berkeley 
  • Lecturer, Architecture, Mills College at Northeastern University 
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, History, University of Pennsylvania
  • Junior City Planner, Community Design + Architecture

Awards & Distinctions

  • Mellon Junior Fellow in Humanities, Urbanism, and Design, University of Pennsylvania, 2021-2022 
  • Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies, Dumbarton Oaks, 2020-2021 
  • Berkeley Connect Fellowship in Architecture, 2018-2019 and 2022-2023 
  • Chancellors Public Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, 2017

Selected Publications