Citizen Monitoring May Help Forest Conservation Globally

A UCLA-led study is part of special collection of reports released today by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) focused on at-risk global natural resources. The combined studies, “Sustaining the Commons,” represent the work of teams who focused their research on six regions of the world, including Africa, Amazonia and China. Each team analyzed the role that community monitoring of common-pool resources, such as forests and water, can play to support sustainable management of those natural resources. Darin Christensen, assistant professor of public policy and political science at UCLA Luskin, and his team focused on a yearlong program of community monitoring efforts in Liberia. The African nation is experiencing a relatively rapid deforestation due to timber sales and the conversion of land for small-scale and commercial agriculture, according to Christensen. “The benefits from this economic activity are not broadly distributed: Those in power amass benefits, while many Liberians see forests cleared and little compensation,” said Christensen, who worked with political scientists Alexandra C. Hartman of University College London and Cyrus Samii of New York University. “The status quo is untenable,” Christensen said. “Environmentally, it’s permanently degrading forests; socially, it’s entrenching inequality and poverty.” Christensen and colleagues found that the program helped rural communities in Liberia monitor communal forests by increasing knowledge about land management. However, the program did not decrease deforestation, suggesting that communities may need compensation to forgo forest use. “Collectively, we hope the studies demonstrate that empowering communities can help to improve the management of natural resources,” Christensen said.



UCLA Researchers Evaluate Efforts to Curb Trade of Conflict Minerals Report finds ‘meaningful progress’ over past decade, but issues including child labor violations persist

By Stan Paul

Over the past decade, the U.S. and other nations have implemented programs intended to monitor and mitigate human rights abuses and armed conflict related to mining operations around the world.

A new report co-authored by UCLA researchers has found that those so-called due diligence programs have fostered “meaningful progress” in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the countries targeted by the initiatives. But child labor and other violations are still taking place.

Tin, tantalum and tungsten are commonly used in computers and cell phones and a wide array of other electronics. In some countries like the DRC, those materials are designated as “conflict minerals” because the areas in which they’re mined are affected by armed violence — and in some cases, the violence is related to mining operations.

Researchers collected data in 2019 from 104 mine sites, as well as 1,054 households and 1,000 people living in villages around those mine sites, in the provinces of South Kivu and Maniema. They found that areas with due diligence programs see less interference by the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Compared to areas without due diligence programs, more than 50% fewer mines in areas served by due diligence programs reported a military presence or improper taxation by soldiers.

The study also found that, in villages near the mines served by those programs, the number of households reporting a military presence was 27% lower than in villages without the programs.

However, the analysis also revealed that mines in the areas covered by the diligence programs do not have significantly lower rates of child labor than those outside of the programs’ purview. Some child labor was reported at roughly one-third of mines, whether they were covered by the programs or not.

“We uncovered reasons to applaud these programs, but also room for improvement, particularly with respect to child labor,” said Darin Christensen, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. “Unsurprisingly, the due diligence program is not a panacea — it reduces important risks associated with mining in the eastern Congo but does not eradicate all harms.

“In better isolating its impacts, we hope to clarify where further efforts are needed to promote sustainable livelihoods and human security in mining regions.”

Christensen is the co-founder (with UCLA professors Graeme Blair and Michael Ross) of the UCLA-based Project on Resources and Governance, which led the study’s research design and analysis. The report’s other contributors are the International Peace Information Service, a Belgian research institute; Sub-Saharan Field Research & Consulting Services, a Kenyan research agency; and Ulula, a Canadian software and analytics provider.

International efforts to mitigate or eliminate the negative impacts of conflict minerals have focused on keeping the minerals out of global supply chains. The aim is to break the link between mining and conflict by identifying and boycotting suppliers who contribute, willingly or unwillingly, to armed groups or human rights abuses, according to the report.

This strategy is reflected in regulatory efforts such as the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act in the U.S. and the European Union’s more recent Regulation on Conflict Minerals. Those policies require U.S. and European companies that source certain minerals from conflict-affected areas, like eastern Congo, to conduct due diligence around the production and processing of minerals to verify that suppliers respect human rights and do not contribute to conflict.

But more than a decade after Dodd-Frank, there had been scant research on whether due diligence programs are improving economic and security conditions.

The report also found that areas covered by due diligence programs report a greater presence of government regulators.

Researchers found that the proportion of households reporting tax collection and services provided by the government regulators who are responsible for monitoring the mining sector was 58% higher in areas served by the programs than in those that aren’t. However, when households were asked whether they felt secure, there was no statistical difference in responses between those in areas served by the program and those that were not.

View an animation about this study

What the Ebola Outbreak Could Teach Us About How to Contain the Novel Coronavirus New study underscores the importance of public engagement and trust during health crises

A new research paper examining the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in Africa could hold crucial insights for policymakers grappling with the novel coronavirus pandemic — namely, the importance of public engagement and trust during health crises.

The study, co-authored by Assistant Professor of Public Policy Darin Christensen of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, shows that where people lack confidence in their health providers, they are less likely to seek testing and treatment when they feel sick. This stymies efforts to identify, treat and isolate infected patients to limit further contagion.

By the end of the Ebola outbreak in early 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated there were more than 28,000 cases of the disease in West Africa — with roughly half coming from Sierra Leone. Simple interventions that encouraged people to seek treatment increased reporting of Ebola cases by 60%, which the authors estimate reduced the virus’ reproduction rate by 19%.

‘Strengthening ties between health providers and the communities they serve could bolster containment efforts as the current pandemic spreads to poorer countries,’ researcher Darin Christensen says.

“The epidemic generated tremendous fear, and families faced tough choices about whether to care for loved ones at home or report to clinics for testing and, if needed, isolation,” said Christensen, a political economist who holds a joint appointment with UCLA’s department of political science. “That choice may seem obvious in a rich country. But in poorer countries, like Sierra Leone, citizens often have little confidence that health providers will treat them with compassion or deliver effective care. Interventions that build that trust encourage timely testing — exactly what was needed to contain Ebola and, now, COVID-19.”

Conducted across 254 government-run health clinics covering approximately 1 million people — more than 15% of Sierra Leone’s population — the research tested the effects of two interventions aimed at increasing public involvement with, and trust in, the country’s health system.

Under the first intervention, community members participated in meetings with local health clinics, and articulated complaints and suggestions designed to improve health services.

The clinic staff also shared public health advice with community members, like encouraging women to come into the clinic to give birth. This experiment turned patients into “accountability agents who hold health system actors to account,” according to the paper.

The other intervention was an incentive program that gave out awards to health care workers at clinics that were doing a good job of providing services. The intent was to motivate providers to encourage their clinics to provide a higher quality of care.

The study found that these accountability interventions prior to the Ebola outbreak spurred a vast increase in testing and the reporting of Ebola cases — including those who tested both positive and negative for the virus. The reporting did not reflect higher rates of disease in the areas that benefited from the interventions. The higher rates of testing resulted in more effective containment, and ultimately, there were 30% fewer deaths among Ebola patients in the areas that benefited from the interventions.

As governments, particularly in less-developed countries, seek to contain the spread of COVID-19, “there has rightfully been a lot of focus on the test kits and other equipment needed to fight this virus,” Christensen said. “But it’s also important to think about how we encourage people to change their behavior — to get tested, to self-quarantine. Our research suggests that strengthening ties between health providers and the communities they serve could bolster containment efforts as the current pandemic spreads to poorer countries.

“Many governments don’t have the capacity or mandate to enforce strict restrictions on travel or gatherings,” Christensen concluded. “They must appeal to their citizens to voluntarily change behavior. The Ebola epidemic demonstrates that public engagement and confidence help determine whether people heed those calls.”

The study was co-authored by Christensen and Oeindrila Dube of the University of Chicago, Johannes Haushofer of Princeton University, Bilal Siddiqi of UC Berkeley and the Center for Effective Global Action, and Maarten Voors of Wageningen University. The research team also has a forthcoming companion piece that underscores the effectiveness of crisis-response measures that emphasize community engagement.


A Research Spotlight on the World’s Vulnerable People UCLA Luskin launches international outreach to identify strategies to empower women and children

By Mary Braswell

In Tanzania, programs aimed at improving women’s health have been in place for decades, but rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among adolescents remain high.

In El Salvador, several comprehensive centers for women needing health care, job training, legal help and protection from domestic violence have opened. Why aren’t more women taking advantage of these services?

Around the world, when well-intentioned policies to improve the lives of people fall short of expectations, researchers mobilize to investigate and advise.

This is the mission of a new initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs called the Global Lab for Research in Action.

The Global Lab’s focus on health, education and economic empowerment comes at a critical time, said Manisha Shah, professor of public policy and founding director of the initiative.

“There is so much need right now,” said Shah, whose extensive research as a development economist in Africa, Asia and Latin America has guided governments and agencies seeking effective, evidence-based policies.

Shah cites this sobering statistic: Of all new adolescent HIV cases in the world, three out of four are in sub-Saharan Africa. Of those cases, 80% are girls.

Tanzanian boys peek into a clubhouse for girls launched as part of a health education campaign. Photo by Jennifer Muz

She is currently evaluating a safe-sex campaign in Tanzania, where 60% of teen girls are sexually active by age 18. Fewer than 10% of girls ages 15 to 19 use any modern contraception, however. And adolescent girls there experience high rates of violence by their intimate partners.

Shah said policies grounded in research can bring about improvements in the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents during the next decade — which in turn would create better educational and employment opportunities.

“There is a great need to look at some of these subpopulations that aren’t historically targeted by the average intervention or policy being implemented in lower-income countries,” she said. “Part of what’s exciting at Luskin right now is the number of faculty who are doing this type of international work.”

The Global Lab integrates their efforts, puts a spotlight on their findings, builds a network of international stakeholders, and acts as a springboard for advocacy, Shah said.

“There is so much potential in bringing our international findings back to the United States, too, by identifying how our research can inform programs and policy here,” she added.

The initiative will also create opportunities for students of public policy, social welfare and urban planning who are drawn to international development issues, Shah said.

The health of an entire community hinges on the well-being of women and children, the researchers at the Global Lab have established. They have studied teachers in Pakistan, caregivers in rural Colombia, sex workers in Indonesia and young HIV patients in South Africa, among many other populations.

In Shah’s Tanzania research, advocating for girls means also reaching out to boys. The boys come to play soccer and stay to hear about health risks and violence against girls — part of an international program that combines sport with sex education.

Shah’s research team is measuring the relative impact of empowering girls, turning boys into allies and simply providing access to contraceptives. The goal is to identify and invest in the most effective policies — to find some way to curb adolescent pregnancy, the spread of disease and intimate partner violence. The Tanzania project is being conducted in collaboration with the international development organization BRAC.

Shah is also helping design strategies to promote El Salvador’s Ciudad Mujer women’s resource centers.

“These are safe spaces where women can come if they need a lawyer, health services, employment services. But take-up rates for the domestic violence services have been relatively low, and they don’t understand why,” Shah said. “I’m working with the Inter-American Development Bank and the government of El Salvador to do the research and to figure out what is going on.”

This is the kind of practical impact that powers the Global Lab, which is launching this summer with support from UCLA Luskin Dean Gary Segura.

“We have so many great professors across all departments working internationally,” Shah said. The Global Lab “speaks to some of our newer strengths, bringing it all together to foster research, support faculty, and advocate for better policies through our findings and our relationships abroad.”

Editors Note: A previous version of this story referred to the Global Lab for Research in Action by its former name, International Development and Policy Outreach.

Project on Resources and Governance Receives $1.4-Million Grant

The Project on Resources and Governance (PRG), launched in 2017 by three UCLA scholars, has received a three-year $1.4-million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. PRG seeks to address the “resource curse,” in which countries with abundant natural resources that can be drivers of growth and prosperity nonetheless struggle with poverty, conflict and corruption. The project seeks to apply cutting-edge social science research methods to test and discover policies that promote welfare, peace and accountability in resource-rich countries. PRG is the brainchild of UCLA faculty members — Professor Michael Ross and Assistant Professor Graeme Blair of Political Science and Assistant Professor Darin Christensen of UCLA Luskin Public Policy, who holds a joint appointment with Political Science. The grant will be used to initiate new research projects in natural resource governance; to build capacity of decision makers to generate, interpret and apply rigorous evidence; and to grow the knowledge base on what works to help countries maximize benefits from their natural resource endowments.

View photos from the recent PRG workshop in Accra, Ghana.

Read about the origins of the Project on Resources and Governance.


Conference Shares Research on Global Policy Problems 

Scholars and policymakers came together Sept. 21-22, 2017, on the UCLA campus to help launch a new initiative that is dedicated to finding policies that promote welfare, peace and accountability in resource-rich countriesThe two-day conference at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center focused on research by a global network of social scientists and practitioners known as the Project on Resources, Development, and Governance (PRDG). The founding members of PRDG include Darin Christensen, assistant professor of public policy at UCLA Luskin, and UCLA colleagues Michael Ross, professor of political science, and Graeme Blair, assistant professor of political science. Hover over the image below to access a Flickr gallery of photos from the conference taken by Les Dunseith of UCLA Luskin Communications.  

PRDG Conference

Tackling the Resource Curse UCLA researchers launch the Project on Resources, Development, and Governance to design policies in countries where corruption, conflict undercut natural abundance

By George Foulsham

From left, Michael Ross, professor of political science; Graeme Blair, assistant professor of political science; and Darin Christensen, assistant professor of public policy at UCLA Luskin, are the co-founders of PRDG. Photo by George Foulsham

For three UCLA scholars, it just didn’t add up. Why do so many people who live in developing countries with an abundance of natural resources struggle in poverty every day?

“You would think that it’s a simple thing to take wealth that’s underneath the ground and turn it into wealth on top of the ground for everybody to share,” said Michael Ross, a professor of political science at UCLA. “But we know from studying countries around the world that that very rarely happens.”

Social scientists call it the resource curse, and it’s one of the reasons why Ross and two UCLA colleagues, UCLA Luskin’s Darin Christensen and political science faculty member Graeme Blair, have created the Project on Resources, Development, and Governance (PRDG), a network of social scientists, policymakers, nongovernmental organizations and industry representatives dedicated to finding policies that promote welfare, peace and accountability in resource-rich countries.

“For the past 15 years or so, I have been living in two worlds,” Ross said. “One is an academic world where I do research and I speak to some of the smartest young social scientists in the world who are studying the problems of developing countries. In the other world, I’m sitting around the table with policymakers who are worried about how to fix a problem called the resource curse.”

About three dozen countries in the low- and middle-income world are economically dependent on oil, gas and mining, but they all seem to struggle despite the riches provided by the resources. Those countries include Angola, Kenya, Uganda, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Indonesia, East Timor and Kazakhstan.

“They tend to be conflict-ridden,” Ross said. “There are protests, there’s pollution, there are civil wars around these projects.” There’s also plenty of corruption, with many of the countries in economic turmoil because of bribery and other issues in regions of exceptional resource wealth, such as mining areas.

“There are so many opportunities for corruption, and politicians are a whole lot less responsive to the people and a whole lot more concerned with siphoning off money for their own bank accounts overseas,” Ross said.

Finding solutions to these challenging issues won’t be easy.

“We have a generation of super-smart young political scientists and economists who are interested in this problem,” Ross said. “Our project is designed to bring together the smartest sort of leading-edge people in political science and economics with the policymakers who are dealing with these problems on a day-to-day level.”

That mission officially begins Sept. 21-22, 2017, with the first PRDG summit at the Luskin Conference Center on the UCLA campus. Researchers and policymakers from UCLA, the World Bank, Barnard College, the University of Pittsburgh, the Natural Resource Governance Institute and many other organizations and universities will make presentations and discuss issues that range from creating successful research-policy partnerships to the research priorities of funders.

The September conference at UCLA was generously funded by the Luskin Center for Innovation, Natural Resource Governance Institute, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Burkle Center and UCLA’s Political Science Department. The initiative also recently received a one-year, $600,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support additional workshops in Washington, D.C., and Accra, Ghana, and the research partnerships that emerge from these meetings.

“One of the important parts of PRDG is the effort to bring in local researchers,” said Blair, assistant professor of political science at UCLA. “We want to provide training in modern social science research methods, and to provide learning-while-doing at matchmaking workshops where we bring together academics, policymakers and practitioners.”

Providing guidance on policy issues is Christensen, assistant professor of public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. “I think policy plays an essential role in this PRDG initiative,” Christensen said. “What PRDG is trying to do is bring policymakers and academics around the same table and allow policymakers to propose solutions and team up with researchers who can go to the field and determine whether these new initiatives are actually helping root out the corruption or address the grievances that often accompany these big mining, oil and gas projects.”

PRDG’s short-term goals include generating a series of new research projects on solutions to problems faced in resource-rich countries, bringing together researchers, policymakers and practitioners. “Another goal is to start joint learning exercises where we go out into the field and try to help build research into their existing program,” Blair said.

In the long term, the UCLA researchers are hoping that the conversation about these issues becomes circular — the research feeds back into the policymaking conversation, which generates new questions the researchers can tackle.

“We want to figure out ways to make a difference, and find ways to fix this problem,” Ross said.

A UCLA Luskin Welcome Departments of Public Policy, Social Welfare, Urban Planning welcome six new faculty members

By Stan Paul

Six new members of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs faculty were warmly welcomed at a reception held Oct. 18 and hosted by their new Luskin departments of Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning. Interim Dean Lois Takahashi and the three department chairs were also on hand to welcome the new teachers and researchers.

This year, the School’s three departments strengthened their faculty teaching and research rosters with the additions of Darin Christensen and Zachary C. Steinert-Threlkeld (Public Policy), Leyla Karimli and Laura Wray-Lake (Social Welfare), and Michael Manville and Kian Goh (Urban Planning).

In Public Policy, Darin Christensen will be teaching three classes at Luskin this year. “The students are great, really engaged,” said Christensen, who recently received his Stanford Ph.D. in political science. Christensen said he will be showing his Master of Public Policy (MPP) students how to bring evidence to bear on policy decisions, teaching them tools for wrangling and exploring data, as well as statistical methods that generate credible claims about “what policies work.” In another course offered this quarter, he is discussing how political institutions and public policies affect why some countries are rich and peaceful while others with persistent poverty and instability.

Also joining the Public Policy department this year is Zachary C. Steinert-Threlkeld, who will begin teaching this winter quarter on topics including social networks and protest. “I study protest,” said Steinert-Threlkeld, who completed his Ph.D. in political science this year at UC San Diego. “Wherever there is a protest in the world, I go to Twitter and see what people say. Are they expressing political grievances because they’re mad about the economy?”

Steinert-Threlkeld, who studies social media as it relates to subnational conflict, teaches analysis of “big data.” “If anyone wants to learn with Twitter data,” he said, “they can reach out to me. I would love to be working with motivated students or faculty.”

In Social Welfare, Laura Wray-Lake, who comes to UCLA from the University of Rochester, will be teaching two classes in winter: research methods with children and youth, and development and resilience for the Master of Social Work (MSW) students. “I was really excited about the interdisciplinary environment” at Luskin, she said, explaining that her area of research is civic engagement. “I’m really interested in how to get young people interested in politics and the communities, and solving social issues.”

Leyla Karimli brings an international focus to Social Welfare on topics including child welfare, education and child labor. With more than a decade of international research and practice, her work has taken her to a number of countries in Africa as well as Colombia, the Philippines, Tajikistan and Krgyzstan. She will be teaching on program evaluation and topics including a multidisciplinary analysis of poverty and social exclusion, one of her main research interests.

Returning to UCLA, assistant professor Michael Manville said he is currently teaching courses on transportation and the environment and another on shared mobility. Manville, who earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Urban Planning at Luskin, most recently was an assistant professor at Cornell University in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Manville said the rest of the year he will be teaching transportation, land use and public finance, primarily for the Urban Planning Department’s master’s students.

Urban Planner Kian Goh plans to teach a winter quarter seminar titled “Urban Futures,” with a focus on space, ecology and society. In the spring, she will teach a studio course on site planning and a qualitative methods course.

“This year I am continuing my research broadly on the politics of urban climate change adaptation and research on the L.A. region,” said Goh, who comes to Luskin from Northeastern University. “It’s inevitable, not just because I am here but because it so interesting. I think the L.A. region is an example of urban form.”

Goh has focused her research on cities from New York to Jakarta.

“It is really helpful to look at other cities,” she said. “I think of the challenges we face here and all of the opportunities. We’ve learned a lot from other regions.”

Darin Christensen

Darin Christensen is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received his Ph.D. in political science and M.A. in economics from Stanford University.

Darin studies political economy, focusing on institutions and policies that promote investment and mitigate social conflict in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. He has consulted on projects for The Asia Foundation, USAID, and The World Bank.

Darin is a co-founder of the Project on Resources and Governance (PRG) and an affiliate of several academic centers, including the California Center for Population Research, Center for Effective Global Action, Evidence in Governance and Politics, and UCLA’s African Studies Center.

More information about his research and teaching can be found at

UCLA Luskin Adds Six New ‘Outstanding’ Faculty Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning announce the appointment of two new scholars in each department

By George Foulsham

In the biggest expansion since its inception, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has announced the addition of six new faculty for the 2016-17 academic year. The new hires bring to 100 the number of professors, assistant professors, lecturers and instructors at the Luskin School.

“We are thrilled to welcome six new faculty to the UCLA Luskin family,” Interim Dean Lois M. Takahashi said. “These six outstanding scholars will bring to Luskin a wealth of expertise and knowledge that will be shared with our current — and future — students for years to come. This is a very exciting time to be a part of one of the best public affairs schools in the country. These new faculty members will help us continue the pursuit of our mission at Luskin: advancing solutions to society’s most pressing problems.”

The six new faculty members, by department:

Public Policy

Darin Christensen, a new assistant professor of Public Policy, will receive his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University this year. His research interests, with support from the World Bank and other funders, span comparative politics, the political economy of conflict and development, foreign investment, and political accountability, with regional interest in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, Kenya, and Sierra Leone. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and German from Duke University, and his master’s degree in economics from Stanford. Christensen’s teaching focus at Luskin is expected to be comparative political institutions, the political economy of development and advanced data analysis.

Zachary C. Steinert-Threlkeld, a new assistant professor of Public Policy, will receive his Ph.D. in political science from UC San Diego this year. He also has a master’s degree in political science from UC San Diego and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and economics from Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests are in international politics; exploiting in particular vast social media data to study subnational conflict; the mobilization of mass protest such as the Arab Spring and Ukraine’s Euromaidan protests, as well as elite behavior and state repression in authoritarian regimes. At Luskin, his teaching focus will be on subnational conflict, statistics and advanced data analysis of various kinds, including the analysis of “big data.”

Social Welfare

Leyla Karimli, a new assistant professor of social welfare, received her Ph.D. in social welfare from Columbia University’s School of Social Work in 2013 and is completing postdoctoral training at New York University School of Social Work’s Institute for Poverty, Policy and Research. Dr. Karimli has 13 years of international research and practice experience focusing on poverty and social exclusion including post-masters practice experience with international development agencies in the former Soviet Union and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research interests include a multidimensional and systems-oriented analysis of poverty and social exclusion that complements the Department of Social Welfare and Luskin School’s commitment to understanding the complex nature of social and economic inequalities and addressing the needs of vulnerable and diverse populations.

Laura Wray-Lake, a new assistant professor in social welfare, received her Ph.D. from Penn State University’s highly regarded Human Development and Family Studies program. Dr. Wray-Lake is a lifespan developmental scientist from the University of Rochester where she has been an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology. Dr. Wray-Lake utilizes a “civic engagement” framework to examine the social and income inequalities facing vulnerable children and families and how and why individuals can become re-engaged in society. Dr. Wray-Lake has a strong commitment to teaching and mentoring. Her courses on community engagement incorporate her social justice approach to teaching and as such, will support our commitment to diversity and social justice.

Urban Planning

Kian Goh, a new assistant professor of urban planning, received her Master of Architecture from Yale University and her Ph.D. in Urban and Environmental Planning from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. She is currently an assistant professor of Urban Landscape at Northeastern University. Dr. Goh’s research investigates the relationships between urban ecological design, spatial politics, and social mobilization in the context of climate change and global urbanization. Her work has centered on sites in New York, Jakarta and Rotterdam.  She also has ongoing projects on queer space and the sociopolitics of smart cities. In addition to her scholarly work, Goh is a licensed architect and co-founder of SUPER-INTERESTING!, a multidisciplinary architecture and strategic consulting practice located in Brooklyn.

Michael Manville, a new assistant professor of urban planning, is returning to UCLA Luskin after receiving his MA and Ph.D. in urban planning from UCLA Luskin.  Dr. Manville is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. His research examines the willingness of people and communities to finance different government services, and the tendency of local governments to hide the costs of transportation in the property market. Dr. Manville is particularly interested in how land use restrictions intended to fight traffic congestion can influence the supply and price of housing.