PhD Alumna Is Honored for Excellence in Urban Planning

Anna Kim UP PhD ’11 is the Scholar Prize winner for the 2018 William R. and June Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning. This year’s award theme was based on planning with immigrants in communities and regions. Kim’s research was conducted in her role as an assistant professor of housing and community development at George Institute of Technology. According to a story on that university’s website, she examined the blurred boundaries between informal and formal jobs for low wage immigrant workers, and how these semi-formal employment arrangements translate into strategies for local economic growth in ethnic neighborhoods. Her studio course projects include work in the greater Atlanta area and supports efforts to understand immigrant communities. “I’m proud to see how passionate planners are about planning with and for diverse communities and making sure that all voices are heard,” Kim said in the Georgia Tech story. The Dale Prize is awarded by California State Polytechnic University, Pomona’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning and invites recipients to meet with students and to speak at a two-day colloquium held on campus. Kim will soon be returning to Southern California as a member of the planning faculty at San Diego State University.

A Caring Outlook Also Applies to Ourselves, Author Says

“Burnout is very much about how we work, and not only about how much we work,” according to psychologist Alessandra Pigni, author of “The Idealist’s Survival Kit. 75 Simple Ways to Prevent Burnout.” She spoke Feb. 15, 2018, as part of a series of talks sponsored by Global Public Affairs at UCLA Luskin. Pigni talked briefly about her personal experiences, including observing caregivers under extremely stressful conditions while working for several years in combat situations in the Middle East as part of Doctors Without Borders. Pigni also shared insights from her research into burnout, which is the subject of a book and a blog, which is how she first came to the attention of Stephen Commins of the UCLA Luskin faculty, who provided the introduction for Pigni’s talk. Her presentation focuses on identifying the signs of burnout and taking steps to prevent it, which she refers to as the ABCs of burnout prevention: awareness, balance and boundaries, and civility. “C is also for connections — connections with people beyond work. You are not just your job,” Pigni told the crowd. Later, she addressed the concerns of students who are just entering the workforce and may not feel empowered to take action if they find themselves in a toxic workplace. “You will not survive for very long in a work environment that mistreats you,” Pigni said. “You can make it for a few months, if necessary. Otherwise, run a mile if you are being mistreated.”

View a Flickr album from the presentation:

Author Alessandra Pigni

LGBT Communities Fighting for Social and Spatial Change

Despite recent gains in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the United States such as gay marriage and the right to serve openly in the military, the fight against equality for LGBT people appears to be gaining strength, according to Kian Goh, assistant professor of urban planning. Violence against LGBT people has continued “unabated, however, during the recent period of legislative wins,” Goh writes in a recently published article, “Safe Cities and Queer Spaces: The Urban Politics of Radical LGBT Activism.” In the online article in Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Goh cites data from GLAAD and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, indicating that 2015 and 2016 were the “most deadly on record for transgender people in the United States, overwhelmingly affecting transgender women of color.” In LGBT communities, homelessness continues to be an issue, and socioeconomic disparities are reinforced, “particularly among women, people of color, young and old, and gender-nonconforming.” Goh adds that these overlapping identities and “systems of oppression exacerbate the marginalization of LGBT-identified people, creating ‘unjust geographies’ that intertwine race, class gender and sexuality.” Goh looks at how researchers, planners and others who contribute to the “making of cities” can understand and contribute to social movements, change and justice, and — through participatory observation and working with these groups — examines the efforts of two New York-based queer activist groups fighting for social and spatial change. — Stan Paul

Watts Leadership Institute Hosts Visit by Elementary School Students

More than 45 students from Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School in Watts spent the afternoon of Feb. 7, 2018, touring the UCLA campus thanks to the efforts of the UCLA Luskin-based Watts Leadership Institute (WLI) and GRoW@Annenberg. The daylong adventure for the students —  known as “Keepers of the Dream” — was organized by Mike Cummings, also known as “Big Mike” or “Pastor Mike,” who is the executive director of We Care Outreach Ministries and a member of the first leadership cohort for WLI. The students started the day by visiting the middle school and high school they will attend, then traveled to UCLA, where they had lunch in the Covel Commons. The UCLA “Cub” tour, which began at the Bruin statue in the heart of the campus, was coordinated Melanie Edmond, principal of Joyner Elementary School. The group also met with Jorja Leap ’78 MSW ’80 PhD ‘88, adjunct professor of social welfare and co-founder of WLI, a 10-year initiative to build a legacy of indigenous leaders and community empowerment in Watts. Karrah Lompa MSW ’13, co-founder of the Watts Leadership Institute, also participated. She said the inspiration and sponsorship of the program by GRoW@Annenberg, a philanthropic initiative led by Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, vice president and director of the Annenberg Foundation, has been instrumental to their efforts.

View a Flickr album of images from the students’ visit to UCLA:

Watts Institute Visits UCLA

From UCLA Newsroom: Dean Segura Introduces Panel

At Town Hall, Students Hear About Developments at UCLA Luskin

Leaders of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs gathered with students during an informal Town Hall on Feb. 6, 2018, to answer questions posed by students in the School’s master’s and PhD programs. Joining Dean Gary Segura and his support staff were Public Policy chair J.R. DeShazo, Social Welfare chair Laura Abrams and Urban Planning chair Vinit Mukhija. A wide range of topics were covered, including questions that led Segura to offer personal reflections about his first year at UCLA. Among the other topics discussed by the four leaders were recent and pending changes to the School’s academic offerings, a current hiring effort that will add a large number of new faculty members by fall 2018, and what is being done by UCLA Luskin to further promote diversity and inclusiveness.

View a Flickr album of images from the Town Hall:

2018 Town Hall

New Report From the Institute of Transportation Studies