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Luskin Center Leads the Way on SMART Parks

The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation featured Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris in its Luskin Innovators Speaker Series on May 17, 2018. Loukaitou-Sideris, professor of urban planning and Associate Provost for Academic Planning at UCLA, presented her team’s research on opportunities to use technology to make urban parks more efficient, environmentally sustainable and better able to serve visitors. A panel discussion, led by Norma Garcia MA UP ’99, chief deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, brought together representatives from the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Trust for Public Land, and Cisco Systems, Inc. The panelists discussed the challenges faced by park managers and designers, including funding gaps, underutilization and ongoing maintenance, and the ways that technology can help overcome these challenges. They also explored the many benefits technology can provide to park visitors, including broader engagement opportunities, free Wi-Fi access and renewed interest in parks. Finally, the group brainstormed ideas for innovative partnerships that could bring together technology companies, nonprofits and park managers. The Luskin Center for Innovation’s novel approach of using technology to address under-resourced urban parks resulted in SMART Parks: A Toolkit for park planners and managers. — Kelsey Jessup MPP ’15

Participating in the Luskin Center SMART Parks panel discussion were, from left, Robin Mark, with The Trust for Public Land; Tamika Butler, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust; Colin Martin, Cisco; and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, professor of urban planning in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Photo by Nurit Katz MPP/MBA ’08

Video Outlines Possible Solutions to California Ridership Issues

California is counting on public transit to help reach its climate and congestion goals. But transit ridership in the state is declining, especially in Southern California. Despite heavy investments in public transportation over the past 15 years, including Los Angeles County’s Measure M, California lost 62.2 million annual transit rides between 2012 and 2016. With such political support and policy stakes invested in transit, why is ridership falling? Researchers at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies tried to figure out what’s going on by looking at the usual suspects: lower quality of service, cheaper fuel prices, higher fares and the increased popularity of Lyft and Uber. But none of these potential causes fully explained the loss of riders in recent years. So what’s the culprit? And how can the trend be reversed? A new video and summary document outline the causes of and potential solutions to California’s transit ridership issues, based in part on recent research from UCLA Luskin urban planning professors Michael Manville, Brian D. Taylor and Evelyn Blumenberg. Watch the video below  or see it and the summary document here.

Undergraduate Scholarship Named for ‘Gene’ Dudley

The Llewellyn Eugene “Gene” Dudley Centennial Scholars gift of $100,000 was recently announced by UCLA Luskin, coinciding with the school’s launch of a new undergraduate major in Public Affairs beginning in fall 2018. As part of the UCLA Chancellor’s Centennial Scholars Match, the endowment is aimed at adding $150 million to undergraduate scholarships by inspiring donors to help fulfill the university’s mission of education, research and service. Gifts for these scholarships, which can be awarded on the basis of merit or financial aid, are matched at 50 percent. “Gene Dudley spent his life making the world a better place,” said Richard Lieboff, Gene’s best friend and life partner. “Remembering him each day and doing things in his memory that will leave a lasting legacy to help others prompted me to make this gift.” Dudley passed away in May 2009 at the age of 64. He completed his B.A. in political science at UCLA in 1967 and dedicated his life to public service, including a 25-year career with the City of Los Angeles, where he worked with the Aging, Community Development and Housing departments. “I want to personally thank Richard Lieboff for this endowment,” said Gary Segura, dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. “His generosity will allow UCLA Luskin to provide students in financial need with the resources to access education that would have otherwise been out of reach.”

Arrest Study Shows Disparities by Employment, Race

Alvin Teng and Estefanía Zavala

Between 2012 and 2017, 43 percent of all people arrested in the city of Los Angeles were unemployed, according to a new study co-authored by Master of Public Policy students at UCLA Luskin. “Policing the Unemployed in Los Angeles: An Analysis of LAPD Data (2012-2017)” highlights disparities in arrests by race and employment, with African Americans (32.6 percent) and Latinos (43.9 percent) representing the majority of arrests of unemployed people. “Working on the report and seeing how unemployed people are arrested on charges like failure to appear made me reflect on how governments invest/disinvest in their most vulnerable communities,” said second-year MPP student Estefanía Zavala, who worked with classmate Alvin Teng , UCLA Professor of History and African American Studies Kelly Lytle Hernandez, and Albert Kocharphum, assistant campus GIS coordinator at UCLA. The Million Dollar Hoods report, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, shows that among African American men and women, the highest percentage of arrests was on failure to appear charges for both groups. Top ZIP codes for number of arrests were in South Los Angeles, a people considered houseless exceeded 18,000. During the five-year period, unemployed people spent the equivalent of 1,402 years in LAPD custody, the authors found. Data came via Public Records Act requests fulfilled by the LAPD in March 2018 and included information on more than 20 categories of detention bookings. — Stan Paul

Social Welfare Scholar to Study Women Living With HIV

Latoya Small, assistant professor of social welfare at UCLA Luskin, has received a $47,500 grant from the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services (CHIPTS) Pilot Grant Program to study issues facing African American women living with HIV in Los Angeles urban communities. Specifically, the grant will focus on the intersection of HIV treatment adherence, mental health and poverty. “We plan to explore the lived experiences of these women to better understand barriers and supports to their treatment adherence,” Small said. The women will be asked about: their relationship with healthcare providers; accessibility of community-based medical and mental health services; processes involved in attending HIV-treatment appointments; perceived social support for treatment adherence; disclosing their HIV status to friends and family; and their symptoms of depression, anxiety and trauma. “We hope to inform future research as well as service providers about better ways to meet the unique needs of this population that must navigate the unique L.A. landscape of HIV service use,” Small said.

ITS Launches New Digital Magazine: Transfers

Policymakers and professionals need important research to improve our transportation system, but it too often languishes behind the intimidating walls of academia. Transfers Magazine, a new biannual digital publication led by faculty and staff at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, aims to break down those walls by distilling the expert knowledge of scholars into tangible links to action. Donald Shoup and Martin Wachs, distinguished professors of urban planning at UCLA Luskin, serve as senior editors for Transfers. Each issue will feature shorter, more readable versions of peer-reviewed, previously published academic journal articles with the goal of making research accessible to students, policymakers, the press and the general public. Transfers is the flagship publication of the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center (PSR), a research consortium of eight universities in Arizona, California and Hawaii. The inaugural issue was released on May 16 and features new studies from PSR scholars, including UCLA Luskin faculty members Evelyn Blumenberg, Brian D. Taylor, Gregory Pierce and Shoup, on key questions for transportation policy. The issue is now available online, and readers can receive future issues sent directly to their email by subscribing. Between issues, the Transfers staff will connect research updates, student projects, expert opinion and campus news to current events in the transportation world on the The Circulator blog and on Twitter.

Transfers is the flagship publication of the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center.

UCLA Luskin Study Looks at Quality of Life in Mobile Home Parks

A significant number of U.S. residents — 6 percent — live in mobile homes. However, little scholarly work exists on the location or quality of life compared to other housing. A newly released study in the international journal Land Use Policy by researchers at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs looks at conditions in California, where more than one million residents live in mobile homes — the vast majority, 75 percent, in mobile home parks (MHPs). Using data specifically for Los Angeles County, the study addressed two questions: Are MHPs in worse neighborhoods in terms of socioeconomic status, zoning, local land uses, accessibility to jobs and environmental quality? Which neighborhood factors are most strongly correlated with MHP locations and concentrations? The researchers found that MHPs are more likely to be located in lower-density neighborhoods and at the urban fringe; that more than 41 percent are in areas zoned for commercial or industrial purposes, with more environmental hazards; and that MHP access to public services is worse than in the average neighborhood in the county. While not surprising, says co-author Silvia González, an urban planning doctoral student and assistant director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA Luskin, “nonetheless, I think these types of units are an important source of affordable housing and policymakers need to pay more attention to how they can improve the quality of life for these communities.” —Stan Paul

Does a Minimum Age for Juvenile Court Jurisdiction Protect Children?

A new study co-authored by Laura Abrams, chair and professor of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, examines the need for a minimum age for juvenile court jurisdiction. More than half of U.S. states lack a minimum age standard for prosecuting children, according to the study published in the journal Crime & Delinquency. Several states are considering setting a minimum age, but there is sparse research on whether doing so would protect children from “developmentally inappropriate proceedings beyond existing and competency statutes.” To fill this research gap, the UCLA team — including co-lead author Elizabeth Barnert, assistant professor of pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and graduate students from the Luskin School — used California as a case study. After reviewing existing state laws, juvenile crime data and opinions of diverse juvenile justice stakeholders, they found a low number of children below age 12 are actually subjected to prosecution in juvenile court. However, they also found that existing legal protections are inconsistently implemented across the state. They concluded that a minimum age law would address existing policy gaps. Currently, California legislators are considering a bill to establish a minimum age of 12 for juvenile court jurisdiction, the oldest minimum age threshold in the U.S. “One of the most interesting facets of this study was discovering the absence of data or discussion about juvenile minimum age laws and capacity and competency laws and proceedings. This study beings to unravel this ‘black box’ of law and policy,” said the researchers. — Stan Paul

UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation Wins Sustainable Impact Award

The UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Center for Innovation was awarded the Sustainable Impact Award by the Los Angeles Business Council on April 19, 2018, at the organization’s 12th annual Sustainability Summit. Attending a VIP and awards reception at the summit were Meyer and Renee Luskin and JR DeShazo, director of the Center for Innovation. “The award recognizes the impact that Meyer and Renee’s generous gift has had on Los Angeles through UCLA. I felt grateful to be able to receive it with them,” said DeShazo, who also serves as the chair of Public Policy at UCLA Luskin. The award cited the Center for Innovation for its “leadership in developing cutting-edge strategies to spur renewable energy and energy efficiency in California.” The award further recognized the Center for “supporting the creation and implementation of state and local policies, investments and plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” This year’s summit featured regional leaders such as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for a discussion on West Coast climate leadership. The two-day summit also included expert panels about clean energy and climate change, as well as water management, resources and security. — Stan Paul

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Sustainable Impact Award

Hector Palencia Elected to Key NASW Committee The Social Welfare field faculty member will help identify leaders for the California chapter of the social workers organization

Social Welfare field faculty member Hector Palencia MSW ’08 has been elected to a key committee of the National Association of Social Workers’ California chapter. Palencia will serve on the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification for Regions G, H and I, an area including Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. In this role, Palencia will help identify leaders in the field of social welfare and select candidates for the chapter’s top positions. Palencia, a licensed clinical social worker who also holds an MA in systematic theology, specializes in working with gang members and other marginalized youth.