R. Thomas Jones

Photo of R. Thomas Jones



Phone 415.926.0080
Email rtjones@calpoly.edu
Office Not at Cal Poly Fall 2016, in San Francisco (Winter/Spring)

Areas of Expertise

  • Multifamily and Affordable Housing
  • Community Planning/Urban Planning
  • Community and Real Estate Development
  • Smart Growth/Sustainable Development Public Policy
  • Interdisciplinary + Collaborative Education
  • Academic + Practitioner Educational Partnerships
  • Hand Sketching & Drawing


R. Thomas Jones served as Dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design from August 2003 through August 2009. He is currently heading up the San Francisco Urban Program.  In 2016 he was designated a Fulbright Scholar for teaching and research at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom

A graduate of Cornell University, his career includes 50 years of private, non-profit, and governmental practice in architecture, planning, non-profit housing development, land use policy, and public education.

Prior to coming to Cal Poly, he was the Executive Director of the California Futures Network, a coalition representing over 80 business, labor, housing, environmental, and social justice organizations committed to better growth models for California.  His prior career also includes a breadth of positions related to the planning, design, financing, and operations of affordable housing.  This expertise was developed over sixteen years of direct project work, policy development work, and executive leadership work as a HUD Community Builder, as Director of Special Projects in the Mayor’s Office of Housing of San Francisco, and as Director of Architecture and Community Development at the San Francisco based Asian Neighborhood Design.

Over his career Tom has designed or developed more than 800 units of affordable housing, and been the author or consultant on several significant community plans.  His architecture, planning, and public education efforts have garnered numerous project and leadership awards from the AIA, American Planning Association, HUD, National Endowment for the Arts, Progressive Architecture, Architectural Record, and others.

He co-authored the award winning book "Good Neighbors, A!ordable Family Housing." with co-authors Mike Pyatok and Willie Pettus, which was supported by a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant.  This publication serves as the content basis for the “The Design Advisor”, a website tool used to assist housing designers, developers, and advocates to create better affordable housing developments and secure public support.

Tom continues to practice architecture, teach courses on housing and environmental design, and lecture nationally as a recognized expert on affordable housing, public development, community planning methods, and large-scale urban redevelopment plans and projects.


Educational Credentials:

Bachelor of Architecture, Cornell University  1969

Teaching Experience:

Professor, Architecture, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo CA
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley CA 
Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Oregon, Eugene OR

Professional Experience:

Director, San Francisco Urban Program  2012-present

Dean, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo CA  2001-2012

Architect, R. Thomas Jones, Architecture and Planning, San Francisco CA  1986-Present

Executive Director, California Futures Network, San Francisco and Sacramento CA  2001-2003

Community Builder Fellow, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, San Francisco CA   1998-2001

Director of Community Planning and DevelopmentAsian Neighborhood Design, San Francisco CA   1993-1998

Special Projects Director, Mayor's Office of Housing, San Francisco CA  1988-1992

Director of Architecture and Planning  1983-1988

Asian Neighborhood Design, San Francisco CA  1979-1982

Partner: Kwartler/Jones Architecture, Planning, Urban Design, New York NY  1977-1979

Project Architect, Gensler Architects, San Francisco CA  1976-1977

Project Designer, Rosecrans and Broder, San Francisco CA  1971-1974

Project Designer, Hardison Komatsu Ivelich and Tucker, San Francisco CA  1969-1970

Designer, Sert Jackson and Associates, Cambridge  MA 


Licensed Architect, State of California since 1977, License CA-10804

Professional Memberships:

American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter 2012-2018
American Institute of Architects, Central Coast Chapter Board of Directors, 2003 to 2012


Selected Publications and Recent Research:

  • Day, Linda L. and R. Thomas Jones. This House is Just Right. North Charleston SC, CreateSpace.  2014
  • “Expanding Housing Choices, Conserving Coastal Counties”, Focus:  Journal of the City and Regional Planning Department, 2006
  • “IMPACT”, SLO Landscape Journal, 2006
  • “The Constructability Crisis and an Educators Response”, Practitioners and Educators Conference, Pomona, 2006
  • “Prospects for the Sustainability Movement,” Moebius 2004
  • “Mixed Housing Models for Sacramento County” Conference presentation November 2003
  • “Reporters Resource and Media Guide to Growth in California”, a joint project with the California Futures Network (CFN) and the Environmental Media Center West, December 2003
  • “California Growth Guidance Framework” CFN publication January 2003
  • “San Luis Obispo County: Sustainable Future” Regional Conference February 2003
  • “Growth and Prosperity in California” CFN publication October 2002
  • “Strategies for Increasing Housing Supply and Affordability” CFN publication March 2002
  • “Marin County Smart Growth Housing Models” Conference presentation June 2001
  • “Jobs, Housing, and Infrastructure for the Bay Area” CFN publication October 2000
  • Bay Area Teacher Housing, Project Director HUD, California State Office, San Francisco.  1999
  • “Design Advisor” Website:  www.designadvisor.edu - Advisor to joint project of HUD, the A.I.A. The Enterprise Foundation, The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, LISC, The National Congress for Community Economic Development and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation. 1998 – 2000
  • “Urban Affordable Housing Models” Video, Advisor and Case Study Contributor for Non Profit Housing of Northern California  1998-1999
  • “Smart Growth Regional Alternative”, Advisor to the Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development.  1998
  • “Smart Growth and Choices for Change” Contributor to Exhibition at the National Building Museum, Washington DC 1998                              
  • Theory in Action:  Smart Growth Case Studies in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the Nation, Association of Bay Area Governments publication, Contributor 1998
  • Mission Bay Master Plan Advisor to the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, Master Plan for the Catellus Corporation by SMWM Architects, 1998
  • “Neighbors and Neighborhoods” Project Designer and Coordinator: A 26 panel Traveling Exhibition of Affordable Housing in San Francisco for the Mayor’s Office of Housing, San Francisco, 1997                                  
  • Good Neighbors: Affordable Family Housing Images Publishing, Mc Graw Hill Publishing, April 1996, co-authored with Michael Pyatok and Willie Pettus            
  • Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy Co-Project Director for the Mayor's Office of Housing, San Francisco 1991                                               
  • Affordable Housing Action Plan Project Director and Author for the Mayor, San Francisco 1989
  • Mission Creek Park Master Plan Project Director, for Mission Creek Conservancy, San Francisco, October 1984
  • Midtown Manhattan Rezoning Plan Project Director, Kwarter /Jones, for the New York City Planning Department, 1982

Selected Activities:

  • San Francisco AIA Symposiums – five separate Symposia in a series on Sustainable Multifamily Housing Models and Urban Affordable Housing Models, 2016-17
  • Santa Barbara AIA Housing Design Awards Juror, Santa Barbara CA, 2015
  • San Francisco AIA “Sustainable Affordable Housing Models” public Lecture Series, 2 Lectures – organizer and moderator, San Francisco CA, 2015
  • San Francisco AIA “Sustainable Multifamily Urban Housing” public Lecture Series, 3 Lectures -  organizer and moderator, San Francisco CA, 2014
  • AIA San Francisco, “Unbuilt Projects Annual Award”, Juror, San Francisco CA 2014
  • AIA National Convention, “Housing Design Symposium” moderator, Denver CA, 2013
  • HUD “Green Academy” trainer for 3 multiday sessions in San Francisco CA, Los Angeles CA, Columbus OH, 2012 and 2013
  • AIA National “Annual Housing Awards Program”, Juror 2012
  • “Affordable Housing Symposium”, University of Illinois, Chicago, featured panelist, 2012

Selected Awards:

  • Fulbright Scholar, 2016
  • Obispo Beautiful, “Residential Renovation Award”, for 232 Catalina Drive San Luis Obispo, owner and architect, 2010
  • 2005 Design Intelligence Magazine, named one of top 30 US Architectural Educators
  • 2000 HUD National Best Practice Awards (2) for: Hamilton Family Center, San Francisco, as architect and development consultant and for “Bay Area Teacher Housing”, program as project director for new program
  • 1998 “Architect of the Year”, San Francisco Magazine
  • 1997 A.I.A. East Bay Chapter, Achievement Award, for co-authorship of Good Neighbors:  Affordable Family Housing
  • 1997 American Planning Association, National Award for Education for Exhibition “Neighbors and Neighborhoods: Affordable Housing” in San Francisco
  • 1996 NPH Leadership Award, Non-Profit Association of Northern California (NPH)
  • 1995 Fannie Mae Foundation, Maxwell Award of Excellence Honorable Mention for 555 Ellis Street Apartments, architect and developer
  • 1991-92 Faculty Adviser to the "Design for Housing" Program A Project of the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Architectural Foundation
  • 1988 Architectural Record Public Interest Design Awards (2) for Coming Home Hospice, San Francisco, and for The Women's Alcoholism Center, San Francisco, architect
  • 1987 H.U.D. Design Award Swiss American Hotel, Asian Neighborhood Design, San Francisco, architect
  • 1983 San Francisco A.I.A. Chapter Design Award Levi-Strauss Headquarters Project, Gensler and Associates, San Francisco, as Gensler design team member                
  • 1982 Urban Design Citation, Progressive Architecture, for Midtown Bulk Regulations, Kwartler/Jones, New York, architect and planner
  • 1978 California A.I.A. Design Award, Crocker Art Museum Restoration, Sacramento, Rosekrans and Broder, San Francisco as project designer


Updated 09.10.2020

Related Content