Michael Storper Publishes New Book on Urban Economies Urban Planning Professor Michael Storper offers a comprehensive look at the two cities from past to present

By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

Los Angeles and San Francisco stand as the two major metropolises of California, but increasing differences in economic growth and prosperity divide the two cities.

Urban Planning professor Michael Storper addresses these economic and cultural differences in his new book, The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons From San Francisco and Los Angeles, now available for purchase. In a forensic style of writing, Storper unpacks the mystery of the two cities, namely why the Bay Area continues to significantly outpace Los Angeles in average household income and wages. The book analyzes the economic development policies of the regions since 1970, the attitudes and actions of regional leadership, and the networks of leaders, and how these contributed to the Bay Area getting so far ahead of LA. In 1970 LA was ranked 4th in the country in terms of income levels, and now it is ranked 25th — this means all of Greater LA, compared to the Bay Area, which has remained number one.

Jon Christensen of the San Francisco Chronicle published a review of the book, stating that: “. . . it is written in a very accessible style, using the structure of a scientific detective story. And it is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of California and cities more broadly.”


UCLA Ranked in Top Five Urban Planning Programs The Department of Urban Planning was named the fourth best planning program in North America by Planetizen.


UCLA Luskin’s Department of Urban Planning has been ranked No. 4 in North America, according to the latest survey of the nation’s top graduate programs in urban planning by Los Angeles-based planning and development network Planetizen.

Planetizen’s latest guidebook also ranks UCLA No. 4 on its list of best graduate planning programs according to educators and the No. 2 program on the West Coast. In addition, UCLA is in the top five schools for most diverse student body in an urban planning program.

In terms of specialty areas, Luskin’s urban planning department was named in nine of those areas, including: Community Development, Economic Development, Environmental/Sustainability Planning, Housing, International Development, Land Use/Physical Planning, Regional Planning, Transportation Planning, and Urban Design.

For more information on the rankings and Planetizen’s methodology, go here.

In other studies, UCLA has taken the top spot for faculty productivity and reputation. An analysis published late last year found that UCLA faculty members averaged the highest number of total citations, and the School ranked second for average citations per year for faculty. In that same study, Urban Planning Professor Michael Storper was also ranked the No. 2 most cited planning faculty member of any school. Confirming this finding, in July Professor Storper was named to Thomson Reuters’ list of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2014.  Researchers who published numerous articles that ranked in the top one percent of the most cited in their respective fields in the given year of publication made the list.

Michael Storper Makes List of World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds


Urban Planning professor Michael Storper has made Thomson Reuters’ list of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2014.

Each year, Thomson Reuters analyzes data from its Web of Science and InCites platforms to determine the researchers who have produced work that is most frequently acknowledged by their peers. Researchers who published numerous articles that ranked in the top one percent of the most cited in their respective fields in the given year of publication made the list.

Storper, who teaches globalization, economic geography, and regional and international development at the Luskin School of Public Affairs, was recognized in the general Social Sciences category.

“”I’m very happy that my publications are having an impact,” Storper said. “As a scholar, I believe that scientific research is the basis for understanding the world around us and how it may be improved.”

Storper’s latest book, “Keys to the City,” examines economic, institutional, innovational and interactional, and political contexts that shape urban economic development. You can see more of his publications here.

To search the Thomson Reuters database of 2014 influential scientific minds by name, category or university affiliation, you can go here.


Global Public Affairs Opens New Student-Faculty Discussion Series

By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

Learning can come in many forms, including class lectures, discussions and research, but the first Global Public Affairs salon aimed to combine these forms into one engaging multi-departmental, student-faculty discussion.

Put together by Urban Planning professors Michael Storper and Steve Commins, this salon created a space for students and faculty from widely varied backgrounds in Public Policy to discuss major global public affairs topics outside of the traditional lecture setting.

The main topic of the night centered around the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2014 annual letter, titled “3 Myths That Block Progress for the Poor.” The letter aims to debunk the following three global affairs myths (through research and media examples):

  1. Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.
  2. Foreign aid is a big waste.
  3. Saving lives leads to overpopulation.

Once the debate commenced, students brought up points to defend or deconstruct each myth while faculty expanded on those ideas with information based on their own research and experience. Comments ranged from analysis of developmental markers to benefits of quantitative vs. qualitative data to dealing with corruption and misuse of foreign aid.

Professor Michael Storper led the discussion, emphasizing at the beginning that the goal of the salon was to take information learned in the classroom and apply it to engaging, intellectual debates. Other Luskin faculty members that participated included Steve Commins, Manisha Shah, Robert Schilling, Paavo Monkkonen and Susanna Hecht.