Faculty Reported Among Top 2% in Scholarly Citations

Eighteen faculty members affiliated with UCLA Luskin are included in a listing of the top 2% for scholarly citations worldwide in their respective fields as determined by an annual study co-produced by Stanford University researchers. The 2021 report is a publicly available database that identifies more than 100,000 top researchers and includes updates through citation year 2020. The lists and explanations of study methodology can be found on Elsevier BV, and an article about the study was published by PLOS Biology. Separate data sets are available for career-long and single-year impact. The researchers are classified into 22 scientific fields and 176 subfields, with field- and subfield-specific percentiles provided for all researchers who have published at least five papers. The following current and past scholars with a UCLA Luskin connection met the study’s criteria to be included among the most-cited scholars:

Laura Abrams

Ron Avi Astor

Evelyn Blumenberg

Randall Crane

Dana Cuff

Yeheskel Hasenfeld (deceased)

Aurora P. Jackson

Duncan Lindsey

Susanne Lohmann

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

Thomas Rice

Ananya Roy

Robert Schilling

Donald Shoup

Michael Storper

Brian Taylor

John Villasenor

Martin Wachs (deceased)


Storper on the Evolution of Cities After COVID-19

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block shared Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning Michael Storper’s research on the evolution of cities at the Milken Institute’s recent Global Conference, which convened thousands of leaders from government, health care, finance, technology, philanthropy, media and higher education to tackle urgent global economic and social issues. Building on the conference’s theme of “Charting a New Course,” Block joined several discussions with the aim of sharing lessons learned from recent social movements and the global pandemic to reimagine a more prosperous future for all. “Cities keep growing and they keep thriving, but they’re changing. We’re seeing from the pandemic something that we refer to as ‘social scarring,’ or deep psychological impact that’s not going away quickly,” Block said, pointing to Storper’s research. “It’s changing people’s behavior and how they feel about density.” The 24th edition of the Global Conference was held in Beverly Hills from Oct. 17-20.

Storper on the Pandemic’s Lasting Impact on Cities

Urban Planning Distinguished Professor Michael Storper co-authored a paper assessing COVID-19’s anticipated impact on the economic, political and social fabric of cities for the journal Urban Studies. As the world continues to adapt to the pandemic, “we remain in a period of extended social experimentation, with households, business, the professions and the public sector all in the game,” wrote Storper and co-authors Richard Florida of the University of Toronto and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose of the London School of Economics. Throughout history, major metropolitan areas have proved resilient to epidemics and other crises and catastrophes, they wrote. “Nonetheless, even if large cities are unlikely to lose their prominent role, they will be transformed and changed — in the short term and even well after mass immunity.” The authors predict that “social scarring” based on the continued fear of coronavirus infection will continue to influence residence choice, travel and commute patterns, and the economic viability of certain businesses and social gathering spaces. The future of downtowns hangs in the balance as remote work is normalized and online shopping grows even more common. “Cities might increasingly become cultural and civic places rather than shopping destinations or office hubs,” they wrote. Despite its horrific toll, the pandemic offers a window of opportunity where cities can reset, re-energize and call old practices into question, the authors conclude. “As cities rebuild and recover, …  they can pilot efforts to confront the widening chasms between classes and neighborhoods and prepare for the many threats of climate change.”


Storper on the Counterintuitive Truth About Global Investment

Urban Planning Distinguished Professor Michael Storper co-authored an article about the impact of international investment on domestic employment levels for the London School of Economics’ Global Investments and Local Development blog. “The world over, public policies for recovery from COVID-19 have cherished the idea of curbing foreign activities of domestic firms in order to boost domestic employment and wages. This represents a fundamental misconception about outward foreign direct investment,” Storper wrote with scholars Riccardo Crescenzi and Roberto Ganau. The authors conducted an in-depth analysis of U.S. local labor markets, detailed in a paper recently published in the Journal of Economic Geography. They found that firms with direct investment in other countries create jobs at home, a counterintuitive fact in an era of populism and calls for curbing global economic integration. The authors noted, however, that there is a downside in the form of increasing intra-regional inequalities between high-skilled and low-skilled workers.

Storper on Post-COVID Life in Cities

An article in Econ Focus about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on life in cities mentioned a 2020 paper co-authored by Urban Planning Professor Michael Storper about the predicted short- and long-term effects of the pandemic. In their paper “Cities in a Post-COVID World,” Storper and co-authors Richard Florida and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose examined the pandemic and resulting lockdown as a forced experiment and made predictions about the social scarring and need to secure the urban built environment against future risks. They argued that despite opportunities for remote work, online shopping and other alternatives to face-to-face interactions, the demand for urban amenities will remain strong after the virus-induced lockdowns are lifted. “It is highly unlikely that COVID-19, despite its high levels of devastation in certain cities, will derail the long-standing process of urbanization and the economic role of cities,” they wrote. “Nonetheless, even if cities will not shrink or die from the COVID pandemic, they will certainly change.”

Results of Upzoning Are Limited, Storper Finds

Urban Planning Professor Michael Storper was cited in a Governing article about the affordable housing crisis in the United States. Experts disagree on the best strategy to meet the need for affordable housing. Two years ago, Minneapolis voted to make single-family zoning illegal; Oregon and cities in North Carolina and Northern California have adopted similar measures; and upzoning has been in place in Chicago for more than a decade. So far, these policy changes have had little effect on housing construction, the article noted. “What upzoning did not do in Chicago, and is not likely to do anywhere, is create incentives for housing construction in the areas where middle-class and lower-income people most need it at the prices for which they need it,” Storper said. Changing zoning laws doesn’t mean that developers will choose to build cheap housing, especially when they can build housing for the affluent and pay an alternative fee to an affordable housing fund.

Storper Research Points to Roots of L.A.’s Problems

A Zocalo Public Square column on the urgency of fixing Los Angeles’ longstanding economic and equity problems cited research by Michael Storper, distinguished professor of urban planning. Storper studied the different trajectories of the Bay Area and Los Angeles, two big regional economies that were at parity in 1970, with similar education levels and numbers of engineers. The Bay Area’s leading institutions in education, business and government became highly networked and planned collaboratively. The Los Angeles region remained a collection of separate, siloed communities that competed with one another. Today, the Bay Area is 30% richer than the L.A. region, Storper found. Noting that COVID-19 made the depths of Los Angeles’ problems undeniable, the column called on leaders to build real foundations that allow people to find stability and health in the short term, while reducing inequality to spread prosperity in the long term. 


Storper on Income Equality and the California Dream

Michael Storper, distinguished professor of regional and international development in urban planning, was featured in an ABC7 News video about the evolution of the California dream. After more than a century of rapid growth, population growth in California has slowed in recent decades. Americans are choosing where to go on the basis of jobs, housing, climate, family and other factors, and many are leaving the Golden State for places such as Texas, Nevada and Arizona. Storper explained that comparing population growth rates in California to other states is like comparing apples to oranges. “Big metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco are still quite attractive to high-skilled, high-income people, so there is a net inflow of those groups,” he said. However, these areas are less attractive for low-income and low-education groups. Storper asked, “How can we deal with income inequality in ways that will enable people of all income levels to keep living in our state?”

Storper on Quality of Life in State Capitals

Michael Storper, distinguished professor of regional and international development in urban planning, was featured in a WalletHub article comparing affordability, access to education and overall quality of life in U.S. state capitals. Storper explained that the “tradition in America is to separate political capitals from major cultural or economic capitals.” As a result, many state capitals benefit from local economic stability but lack business, buzz and technological energy. However, Storper pointed out that Austin, Texas, is a notable exception as a capital with a major university hub, a gigantic tech hub, and a big music and creativity hub. Using 44 different indicators, WalletHub ranked all 50 cities and concluded that Austin ranked highest overall. Storper called Austin a “superstar metro in its own right.” However, he concluded that state capitals “don’t offer much that is particularly advantageous, except maybe relatively low land and cost of living compared to the principal cities.”

L.A.-Paris Connection Offers New Double Master’s Degree for Urban Planners UCLA Luskin's partnership with a top European university will allow graduate students to earn two distinct degrees in two years

By Mary Braswell

A new partnership between UCLA and a top European research university offers urban planning students an opportunity to earn two distinct master’s degrees in two years while studying in the global cities of Los Angeles and Paris.

Beginning in the fall of 2021, the highly regarded urban planning programs at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and France’s Sciences Po will join forces to offer a double master’s focusing on global and comparative planning and governance.

Students accepted into the program will be immersed in two thriving urban laboratories where perspectives on managing cities are quite distinct.

“The approach to urban governance in France and across Europe is very different from the American approach,” said Professor Chris Tilly, chair of UCLA Luskin Urban Planning. “This double master’s is a unique opportunity to learn how things are done in different cultures and to bring that knowledge to a range of global urban environments.”

‘There could not be a better two-city laboratory for learning how to become an urbanist today.’ — Professor Michael Storper

Students will spend the first year in Los Angeles, where UCLA Luskin offers rigorous training in urban planning, development and design with a strong emphasis on social, environmental and racial justice.

Year 2 will be spent at the Paris campus of Sciences Po’s Urban School, which takes a deep comparative and critical approach to public administration and the social transformation of cities. English is the language of instruction at the Urban School, which attracts students from across the globe.

Upon completion of the program, students will receive two degrees: a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA Luskin and a Master of Governing the Large Metropolis from the Urban School.

“By creating this dual degree, we get the best of both worlds,” said Professor Michael Storper, who holds appointments at both UCLA Luskin and Sciences Po. “Paris and Los Angeles are both world cities, but they couldn’t be more different in lifestyle and layout.

“Paris is historical, dense, public-transit oriented. And yet, the cities share many of the same challenges for planners, such as economic development, infrastructure, gentrification and housing, diversity and segregation, public space and climate change,” said Storper, a French-American citizen and resident of both cities.

The double master’s program is geared toward students seeking to work internationally or to bring a global perspective to urban planning in their home countries. And the opportunity to study abroad and build a network of friends and colleagues from around the world will be particularly welcome after travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.

What sets this program apart from other international exchange programs is that it grants two degrees in urban planning, accredited in the United States and Europe, in the time normally needed to earn just one.

Across the University of California system, only one other similar international partnership exists: a double executive MBA program offered by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the National University of Singapore.

The alliance between UCLA Luskin Urban Planning and the Urban School dates back to 2016, with the launch of a quarter-long student exchange program. To build on that relationship, a team from UCLA Luskin, including Storper, Associate Dean Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and past Urban Planning Chair Vinit Mukhija, advocated for the double master’s program, which required approval from UCLA and the UC Office of the President.

By design, the program will be small and selective. The roughly 15 students accepted into each year’s cohort will complete coursework and internships integrating theory and scholarship with real professional experiences, preparing them for work in the public, private and nonprofit sectors in any region of the world.

Applications to join the program in fall of 2021 are due on January 31. More information is available on the UCLA Luskin website. 

“This program is a natural fit of two great universities and two great cities that are complementary in their differences,” Storper said. “There could not be a better two-city laboratory for learning how to become an urbanist today.”