Faculty Biography

Luis F. Alvarez León, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Urban-Economic Geography
Graduate School of Geography
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Email: LAlvarezLeon@clarku.edu
Phone:(508) 793-7317

Curriculum Vitae
Professional Website 

Dr. Luis F. Alvarez León received his B.A. from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (2009) and M.A. (2011) and Ph.D. (2016) from the University of California, Los Angeles.  He is a political economic geographer with research interests in the spatial, political, regulatory, and economic dimensions of the digital information economy. In particular, he has examined the evolution and implications of geospatial data, media, and technologies. His work contributes a geographical theory of how information economies are spatially constituted through the geolocation, commodification and marketization of data —linked by the interplay between access/management technologies and jurisdiction-specific regulatory frameworks. He has conducted research on the digital information economies of the United States and the European Union.  Currently, he is advancing two main lines of inquiry: (1) the cartographic, regulatory, and economic dimensions of automation and automated driving; and (2) the political economy of remote sensing as a site of knowledge, commerce, and power in the context of a reignited race for outer space. Prior to joining Clark University he was Postdoctoral Scholar at the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation, part of the Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California (2016-2018).

Courses Offered

GEOG 257/357: Internet Geography
GEOG 286/386: Critical GIS

Current Research

  1. Self-driving cars and the automated production of space
  2. The economic and spatial dimensions of automation
  3. Information policy regimes
  4. Geographic dimensions of the digital economy
  5. The political economy of remote sensing imagery
  6. Critical approaches to geospatial data, media, and technology

Fellowships and Awards


Best Dissertation in Economic Geography
American Association of Geographers, Economic Geography Specialty Group, 2017

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
USC-CONACYT (Mexico Science and Technology Council), 2016-2018

Dissertation selected as UCLA’s nomination for the 2016-17 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in Social Sciences
UCLA Department of Geography & UCLA Vice Provost/Dean, 2016

First Place, UCLA Kurnitz Writing Award
UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars, 2016

Princeton CITP and University of Vienna Doctoral Workshop (declined)
Princeton University and University of Vienna, 2016

Dissertation Year Fellowship
UCLA Graduate Division, 2015-2016

CONACYT (Mexico Science and Technology Council) & UC MEXUS (University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States), 2011-2016

Graduate Student Publication Award
UCLA Department of Geography, 2015

Summer Doctoral Program
Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 2015

Summer Institute in Economic Geography
University of British Columbia, and University of Frankfurt, 2014

AAG Economic Geography Specialty Group Travel Award
Association of American Geographers, 2014

CIBER Summer Doctoral Institute (declined)
George Washington University, Washington D.C., 2013

Honorable Mention, UCLA Kurnitz Writing Award
UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars, 2013

Fulbright-Garcia Robles Fellowship
Mexico-U.S. Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange, 2009-2012

UCLA Graduate Division Award
UCLA Graduate Division, 2009-2010


Selected Publications

Alvarez León, L.F., Christophers, B., & Yu, L. (Eds.), (2018). The Spatial Constitution of Markets. [Special Issue]. Economic Geography. 

Alvarez León, L.F. (2017). “Information Policy Regimes and the Spatial Constitution of Digital Geographic Information Markets”. In Alvarez León, L.F., Christophers, B., and Yu, L. (Eds.), The Spatial Constitution of Markets [Special Issue]. Economic Geography. December. 1-21. 

Alvarez León, L.F. (2017). “The Political Economy of Spatial Data Infrastructures”. In Coetzee, S., Behr, F.J., Cooper, A. et al. (Eds.), Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI), Standards, Open Data and Open Source Software [Special Issue]. The International Journal of Cartography. November, 1-19. 

Alvarez León, L.F. & Gleason, C.J. (2017). “Production, Property, and the Construction of Remote Sensing Data”. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Methods, Models, and GIS Section. 107(5), September, 1-15. 

Alvarez León, L.F. (2016). “Property Regimes and the Commodification of Geographic Information: an Examination of Google Street View”. In Leszczynski, A. & Crampton, J. (Eds.). Spatial Big Data and Everyday Life [Special issue]. Big Data & Society. July-December, 1-13. 

Alvarez León, L.F. (2015). “The Digital Economy and Variegated Capitalism”. Canadian Journal of Communication. 40(4), 637-654. 

León-Manríquez, J. L., and Alvarez, L. F. (2014). “Mao’s steps in Monroe’s backyard: towards a United States-China hegemonic struggle in Latin America?” [Special issue]. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional. 57, 9-27.