Since 1991, Community Scholars have worked with graduate students on solution oriented research related to the theme of building grassroots economic development policy in Los Angeles:
2012-13: Workers at the Center
2011-12: Right to Health in South L.A.
The 2012 UCLA Community Scholars Program participated in a story-building collaboration on the theme of the Right to Health in South Los Angeles. Selected participants collaborated with urban planning and other graduate students in a weekly workshop for two academic quarters to produce compelling popular education and communication productsthat explain how solving the health crisis in South Los Angeles benefits the entire city.
2010-11: Green City Games
The 2011 Community Scholars class focused on making games that support community education and engagement. The end product consists includes three original games -- Make Your Market, In Construction, and Secret City, as well as well as 17 rapid prototypes. All of these and more may be found on the Games for Change website.
Participants in the 2011 Community Scholars program, Popular Education 2.0: Explaining Green Jobs to the People included graduate students in urban planning and law, community activists, leaders, artists, and popular educators.
The course was led by Urban Planning faculty member Gilda Haas with assistance from Marcie Hale, a graduate student in UCLA's Department of Urban Planning, Uyen Le from the California Construction Academy and Janna Shadduck-Hernandez of the Downtown Labor Center and UCLA's Department of World Arts and Culture.
Course participants divided into five working groups to produce popular education products for specific constituencies, which included:
The course culminated in report entitled Tools for a Greener Economy: A Popular Education Strategy and a "Gallery" event where those organizations could receive their product, and see those produced for others along with other interested parties. All attendees received a DVD of all of the above products and the report.
Led by Linda Delp, Director of UCLA's Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH), the 2009 Community Scholars class (UP 219 Green Collar Jobs, Green Buildings and Social Justice: Pathway to a Sustainable City) focused on a recent Los Angeles City ordinance to retrofit more than 1,000 LA City buildings and to create job opportunities in underinvested areas of the city. The Green Building Retrofit & Workforce Development Ordinance is the result of a years-long campaign spearheaded by the Los Angeles Apollo Alliance/SCOPE. Successful implementation will highlight Los Angeles as a leader in innovative policies to address the environmental and economic crises and to spur action to improve worker health and community economic development.
This year’s class culminated in two separate events. The historic site of LA City Hall was an appropriate setting for the June 11th presentation of Roadmap to Retrofits, a working report on the implementation of the new ordinance. Recommendations ranged from the specific and technical aspects of green building retrofits to the social justice aspects of investing in underserved communities and, ultimately, to the broader goal of building a movement for good, green, safe jobs and a more sustainable Los Angeles.
On August 5th more than 100 people attended a conference held at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center. Discussion at the “Working in Unity, Greening our Communities” conference centered on the goals of the ordinance in the context of the current sociopolitical and economic environment, and challenges and opportunities involved in moving the ordinance forward, including creating safe and healthy green jobs. In addition to a presentation by the Community Scholars class, speakers included community leaders, activists, environmentalists, academics, and policy-makers.
Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in commercial and residential development across the Los Angeles region. Well-crafted policy would ensure that investment of public and private dollars provide economic opportunity for Los Angeles’ low income communities.
There are many strategies to craft and implement such policies. Conditions exist to increase the likelihood of success:
This project explores issues related to the Right to the City movement in different areas of Los Angeles:
2005-06: The Community Scholars Program was on hiatus
In the first course of this two quarter sequence students examined Wal-Mart and the related phenomenon of Wal-Martization in the context of the Southern California Regional Economy. In the second quarter they focused on ways and means to address the challenges of Wal-Martization.
The Care in Organizing report, a model of participatory and action research, documents the needs of homecare workers in housing, transportation, and employment. A series of GIS maps locates the homecare workers by race and ethnicity in LA County. A survey, the instrument of which was developed with the homecare workers and administered by them, provides original data that clarifies the issues facing these low wage workers. The results of the report are being widely used by Local 434B of the Service International Employees Union.
1999-2000: Models of L.A. Organizing for Social Justice: Pushing the Boundaries, Crossing the Isms.
Proposition 13, the 1978 ballot initiative that restructured property tax rates and redistribution in the state, placed economic pressure on cash-strapped cities to recapture lost property tax revenues through redevelopment's powers of tax increment financing. This report focuses on the role of redevelopment in California as the major vehicle of public subsidy for private development. The research team investigated four cities (Burbank, Compton, Lancaster and Long Beach) which represent unique geographies and histories, economic assets and liabilities, demographics and redevelopment strategies.
1997-1998: The Community Scholars Program was on hiatus
1996-1997: Learning for a Change: Experiences in Popular Education in Los Angeles
Students and Community Scholars studied popular education and economic development and worked on two projects: The Pacoima Team provided support and economic education in a community in northeast Los Angeles County that was experiencing major layoffs due to the plant closure of a major employer. The South Los Angeles Team developed welfare reform educational workshops and programs for the Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, a non-profit, social service agency in South Los Angeles.
1995-1996: Worker Ownership: A Strategy for Job Creation and Retention in Los Angeles
This project conducted research with labor and community organizations to support their efforts to "put democracy to work" through worker cooperatives and employee stock ownership plans (ESOP's). The purpose of the research was to determine how to develop a supportive infrastructure of education, technical assistance, and financing that could help bring these efforts to scale.
1994-1995: Los Angeles Manufacturing Action Project
This project conducted sectoral research in various manufacturing industries for ten labor unions that joined forces to develop a strategy for upgrading wages and working conditions in L.A.'s Alameda Corridor, the densest manufacturing region in the U.S. Scholars and students worked directly with labor union staff and community leaders in this participatory research effort.
1993-1994: Banking on Communities
This project engaged Scholars and students in how to conduct popular education on complex economic issues for their own diverse constituencies. The project resulted in a bilingual participatory workshop on money and banking that was documented on videotape. The accompanying report describes principles of popular education, how the workshop was developed, and includes the workshop script. The workshop is currently being replicated by diverse community organizations in L.A.
1992-1993: Manufacturing L.A.'s Future
This study examines three industries: apparel, electric bus, and manufacturing with recyclable resources in order to investigate the potential of an industrial policy that would benefit working class and minority communities in Los Angeles. This study was influential in the formation of L.A.'s first African American garment industry association.
1991-1992: Accidental Tourism
This study critiques the City's existing tourism promotion strategy and proposes alternatives that would bring economic benefits to working class and minority communities, drawing upon experiences from other cities. The study was the basis for the establishment of the Tourism Industry Development Council, a labor/community nonprofit dedicated to spreading the benefits of L.A. tourism to tourism industry workers and L.A.'s ethnic neighborhoods.