Luskin Welcomes New Director of Alumni Relations UCLA alumna Marisa Lemorande is eager to connect with fellow Bruins in her new role.

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By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin student writer 

Marisa Lemorande (BA ‘01), new director of alumni relations for the Luskin School of Public Affairs, is a week into the job and is already eager to connect and build relationships. In her role, Lemorande will be reaching out to Luskin alumni and designing programs that meet the needs and wants of the dynamic groups of individuals that make up our global Luskin alumni network.

“I’m excited to learn the stories, accomplishments, and changes our alumni are making in their communities and equally excited to keep them updated and involved with the current activities here at Luskin,” she says.

Although she is a new addition to Luskin, Lemorande is no stranger to the UCLA campus. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in women’s studies, is a former staff member at the Center for Culture & Health as well as the Hammer Museum, and is a long-time member of the Bruin Masters Swim Team.

“As an alum, I am very excited to be reconnecting and diving back into this vibrant community,” says Lemorande.

Outside of UCLA, Lemorande has combined her passion for program development and engagement with her work at Center for the Arts Eagle Rock and the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Farmworker Foundation.

“I have worked a great deal in program development and community engagement, by either developing programs from the ground up or infusing existing programs with a new energy and strategic vision,” says Lemorande. “Getting people excited about and involved with new programs is something I love to do.”

Lemorande brings a similar optimism and enthusiasm to her work at Luskin. “We have an outstanding group of alumni from every corner of the world who are still actively involved [with Luskin],” she says. “I am excited to reach out and expand our network even further.”

Lemorande’s office is located on the third floor of the Public Affairs Building in the Dean’s Suite. Her contact information can be found here.

Equipping Students for Life After Luskin

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This winter and spring quarter, UCLA Luskin will host a series of skill-building workshops, career talks and networking events to prepare students for success in the working world.

Some of the main highlights in the series of events include “LA County: Challenges and Opportunities,” featuring high-level speakers like Governor Brown’s director of economic development, and a career fair for students to “speed network” with alumni and professionals.

“Sometimes students forget about the resources available to them, but UCLA Luskin has great leadership events and career services like this to help prepare students to be the best they can be,” says Career Services director Michelle Anderson. “This series of events will help make them as competitive as possible for summer internships or full-time careers after graduation.”

The event calendar includes:

UCLA Luskin’s Annual Career Fair
Tuesday, April 7
4-7 p.m., Ackerman Grand Ballroom

 

Skill-Building Workshops

Professional Etiquette
Thursday, January 15
12:15 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2343

LinkedIn & Social Networking
Thursday, January 22
12:15 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2355

Interviewing Tips & Tricks
Thursday, February 5
12:15 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2355

Global Public Affairs: Guide to Site Visits
Friday, February 6
10 a.m., Public Affairs Room 2343

Leadership Initiative: Public Speaking
Thursday, February 12
12:15 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2343

Leadership Initiative: Framing the Message with Dean Gilliam
Thursday, February 26
12:15 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2355

Exercising Natural Leadership
Thursday, March 5
12:15 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2343

Resume Writing
Tuesday, March 31
12:15 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2355

Leadership Initiative: Working the Room with Barbara Osborn and Kafi Blumenfield
Thursday, April 23
12:30 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2355

Salary Negotiation
Thursday, May 7
12:15 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2355

 

Career Talks & Networking
Student/Alumni Networking Night
Tuesday, January 27
6 p.m., Faculty Center California Room

Careers in Global Public Affairs
Thursday, February 5
12:30 p.m., Public Affairs Room 2343

L.A. County: Challenges & Opportunities
Presented with L.A. County Business Federation
Thursday, February 5
5 p.m., Faculty Center California Room

Public Service Jobs at the Local Level
Thursday, February 21
12:15 p.m., Public Affairs Room 3343

Diversity in Leadership Conference
Saturday, April 25
All Day

“You Can Run But You Can’t Hide”

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UCLA Luskin student writer 

Professor Laura Abrams, chair of the social welfare doctoral program, and alumna Diane Terry BA ’01 MSW ’04 Ph.D. ’12 recently published an article in the Children and Youth Services Review titled, “You can run but you can’t hide”: How formerly incarcerated young men navigate neighborhood risks.”

This qualitative study offers a window into the lives of formerly incarcerated youth, focusing on the struggles they encounter while transitioning out of the incarceration system and into adulthood.

In light of the viral nationwide reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent events, this article addresses very relevant issues of racial disparity in the criminal justice system and police violence by turning to a more personal, narrative focus.

Seventeen formerly incarcerated young men were interviewed about their methods for navigating everyday risks, a complex survival strategy which balances obligation to gang brothers, avoiding of re-incarceration, and steering away from dangerous areas and situations. Through analyzing how formerly incarcerated youth develop strategies for safety and survival into adulthood, this study may provide a stepping stone to solving the issues of poverty, racial tensions, and police brutality which are currently the center of debate and discussion in America.

Planning Professor’s Research Cited in Mexico Housing & Urban Policy Report

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Since 2012, Mexico has been working on an ambitious structural reform agenda across various sectors to boost the country’s competitiveness and economic growth. Housing and urban policy is considered a priority within this reform agenda as authorities are hoping to reduce a housing deficit that affects roughly 31% of Mexican households.

This attention to housing and urban policy, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) recent urban policy review on Mexico, is unprecedented for the country, and differs from past approaches to housing and urban policy in that it is focusing more on qualitative housing and the environment as opposed to quantitative goals. Over 200 Mexican political figures, policy makers and academics attended the launch of the report. Speakers included INFONAVIT Director General, Alejandro Murat; Governor of the State of Mexico, Eruviel Ávila Villegas; and Mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Mancera. They were accompanied by the Minister of Public Administration, Julián Alfonso Olivas Ugalde, and Mexican Ambassador to the OECD, Dionisio Pérez-Jácome Friscione.

Urban Planning Professor Paavo Monkkonen has conducted extensive research on housing vacancy in Mexico, including two projects in collaboration with OECD and the World Bank. His work was cited heavily in OECD’s urban policy review, which generated over 30 articles in the Mexican press. The policy review discusses the role of large housing lenders in housing policy for Mexico, priorities that will make the country create more competitive and sustainable cities, and various reforms to urban governance that will improve housing and development outcomes. The issue of vacant housing received particular attention in the media.

Last year, Professor Monkkonen delivered a presentation at the Institute of Social Research of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City on the topic of housing finance in urban policy, which also received a lot of attention by Mexican media outlets. Monkkonen argued that the Mexican government’s support of urban infill and higher density development would only be achieved with larger and more comprehensive reforms of the Mexican housing finance system than those currently proposed.

 

 

 

Urban Planning Student Awarded Switzer Fellowship

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By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin student writer 

Aaron Ordower, a graduate student pursuing a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning in the Luskin School was awarded the Switzer Environmental Fellowship, a highly competitive and merit based award, by the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation.

The fellowship is awarded to 20 environmental leaders recognized by their academic institution or environmental experts. Through the fellowship, Ordower was awarded $15,000 to complete his degree and will be supported by the Switzer Foundation to continue his work facing crucial environmental challenges in Los Angeles.

Ordower has focused on urban sustainability and studies strategies for the development of transit friendly neighborhoods and urban growth to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reverse the effects of urban sprawl. He is also interested in how the different sectors of urban development, transportation, resource management and others can affect one another and work together for a more sustainable urban environment.

Urban planning students who have previously been awarded the prestigious award include Colleen Callahan who focused on transportation planning and environmental policy (2010) as well as John Scott-Railton and Miriam Torres who focused on climate change adaptation and water quality in low income communities (2011).

Ananya Roy to direct new UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy Appointment effective July 1, 2015.

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International development scholar Ananya Roy will lead a new institute examining inequality and democracy at UCLA Luskin as its inaugural director, Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., announced today. Roy’s appointment is effective July 1, 2015.

Roy’s charge at the new institute will be to oversee a multifaceted program of research, training, and public outreach operating at the nexus of democracy, social justice and governance/political participation. The project is a major initiative of UCLA Luskin’s five-point strategic plan, adopted in the wake of the $50 million naming gift from Meyer and Renee Luskin to UCLA’s School of Public Affairs in 2011.

Roy comes to UCLA from the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as a professor of city and regional planning and distinguished chair in global poverty and practice. She was also the education director at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. In 2010 The New Yorker called her “one of Berkeley’s star teachers,” and in 2006 she earned the Distinguished Teaching Award, the college’s highest faculty teaching honor, and the Distinguished Faculty Mentorship Award.

“I am thrilled to welcome Ananya to UCLA Luskin as the head of the institute,” Dean Gilliam said. “Her creativity, collaborative spirit and impeccable academic credentials are an exact match for the positive change inherent in this new endeavor, and I know she will serve as an inspiration to our faculty and students.”

With research interests ranging from social theory to comparative urban studies, Roy has dedicated much of her scholarship to exploring and understanding the formation of geopolitical hierarchies. Her book Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development won the 2011 Paul Davidoff Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, given for books that promote participatory planning and positive social change. She is also the author of City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty and co-editor of Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America; The Practice of International Health; and Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global.

Projects under her direction have received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Social Sciences Research Council, the Ford Foundation, USAID and others. Roy’s service on editorial boards includes the publications Public Culture and Territory, Politics and Governance, among many others.

As the institute builds an interdisciplinary approach to solving societal problems and leveraging the work of our three departments and across the campus, Roy’s previous experience at the University of California will play a key role. As the founding chair of Berkeley’s undergraduate program in global poverty and practice, she led a field of study that brings together hundreds of students from over 30 majors to understand the challenges of global poverty through creativity and practical experience. She also served as chair of the urban studies major, which takes a holistic approach to designing a new, humane approach to urbanism for a global populace.

At UCLA Luskin, Roy will hold an endowed chair provided by Meyer and Renee Luskin. Born in Calcutta, she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at Berkeley and took her bachelor’s at Mills College.

‘Most of us could do more to make it a truly charitable-giving season’ Bill Parent writes in the LA Times on the holidays and charitable giving in Los Angeles.

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“Greater Los Angeles is not as generous as it used to be and not as generous as it could be,” UCLA Luskin’s Bill Parent wrote in an op-ed printed in the Los Angeles Times.

Parent, associate dean for Strategic Initiatives, also serves as the director of the Center for Civil Society, which produces an annual regional nonprofit survey that reports on the state of charitable giving. This year’s report was released in November.

According to the report, charitable giving in Los Angeles County is 12% lower than it was in 2006, the year before the Great Recession hit. And the majority of residents give less than 2% of their household income.

“As the end-of-year charity appeals pick up, it’s important to remember what a difference just a little more giving can make,” Parent says.

A summary of some of the report’s more salient points can be found in this news story.

 

Global Public Affairs’ Stephen Commins Contributes to World Bank Report Urban Planning lecturer Stephen Commins was one of the researchers that put together the 2015 World Development Report.

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By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin student writer 

Urban Planning lecturer Stephen Commins was part of a team of researchers that wrote the World Bank’s new World Development Report for 2015, Mind, Society and Behavior, published on Dec. 4.

The report focuses on understanding human behavior for economic development, psychological and social perspectives on policy. It aims to capture how the processes of the mind and the influence of society can improve implementation of development policies and interventions that target behavior.

Commins said he thinks the report asks very different questions about the nature of public policy and the role of government and the way we understand poverty and power than what has been the standard approach to development.

“People are social beings and have a sense of social bonding. This is not surprising but it’s surprising that it hasn’t been taken into account more frequently,” he said. Commins also wrote a piece about the report for Public World blog.

Though it is typically assumed in economic policy making that people think rationally, the report finds more complex and thorough information about how people make decisions. It finds that people think automatically, socially and with mental models which are drawn from social networks, norms and shared history and society.

The goal is to integrate these findings into policy making and practice and make them available for systemic use by organizations and professional staff working in diverse countries and communities. The findings apply both to these professionals and to individuals in developing countries.

Commins said there has been huge international interest in the report. His role is to bridge the gap between the external audience and authors. He does this by managing events with professionals and government officials around the world to discuss the report’s main ideas and helping them think through what it means for practice and implementing policies in different countries.

Commins also worked with the report’s authors to discuss key issues and think about the larger puzzles with a small group of experts on the subjects. Since he was not an author himself, Commins played the role of a neutral party to give suggestions about what could be improved, what ideas to include. He had the most input in the health, development professionals and policy implementation chapters.

“With any author, they can get tied into the subject and not think about who’s going to use it. I tried to think about the external audience and how to make the report easier to implement,” he said.

Commins said he particularly enjoyed the subject of the behavior of development professionals and that it was a critical chapter.

“It would be easy to read the report and say poor people have certain behaviors or are limited in perspective, but the flipside is that actually everyone has limited perspectives and bias,” he said. “How academic and development professionals look at their work and how they criticize themselves is important as well.”

Commins is also the associate director of Global Public Affairs at UCLA Luskin, which addresses problems and processes of global public affairs through teaching, research, and partnerships and offers preparation for students seeking international careers.

He said the world report can help students in GPA to prepare to become insightful and competent professionals by helping them learn how to ask good questions, be self critical and understand the culture and context of their work.

 

Lewis Center Hosts Talk on Policy Implications of Ridesharing with Lyft

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By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin student writer 

On Dec. 8, the Lewis Center hosted a presentation about ridesharing transportation services based on smartphone technology and “access over ownership.” The Center invited Emily Castor, the director of Community Relations at Lyft, to speak about implications for policy and planning as these services begin to increase in density.

Over the last 2.5 years, Lyft has provided over 10 million rides and has affected mobility in several ways. Castor said these services can promote a car-free lifestyle and provide transportation options in underserved areas.

Despite some ideas that Lyft is only available in high socioeconomic neighborhoods, Castor discussed the different ride sharing features Lyft offers and its reliability different areas regardless of socioeconomic profile.

She also provided insight into the new industry’s development and how it will impact consumer behavior. For instance, people’s sensitivity to price presents the potential for systems that allow people going the same direction to share a ride. Adopting this feature in high density areas can reduce the cost for consumers up to 60% and benefit drivers who earn more per ride, she said. These features, such as the Lyft Line system, have already launched in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“The more people adopt this service, the better match rates customers get,” Castor said.

Though these services and features have much potential for mobility in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, there are questions remaining about successfully implementing and evolving them. For instance, Lyft’s upcoming launch of incidental carpooling will allow drivers to filter customers to focus on the driver’s designation. However, it is likely this would work best when there are events happening in the area.

“For carpooling to be mainstream, it needs to be flexible, reliable, quick, trustworthy and lucrative,” she said.

Public Policy student Begoña Guereca contributed to this report.

 

Latest Issue Of ACCESS Magazine Now Available; New Website Launched The magazine which translates academic research into readable prose is now available at accessmagazine.org

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The Fall 2014 issue of ACCESS magazine is hot off of the press and now available to view at the brand-new ACCESS website, accessmagazine.org. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in the latest issue:

Phantom Trips

Adam Millard-Ball

When you see a new development being constructed, the first thing you might think is how much traffic it might bring to your neighborhood. (Well, that and will there be a good coffee shop there.) You may not be aware that developers pay more in costs based on the estimated number of new trips their developments create. But when that new coffee shop gets put into your neighborhood, how many new trips are really created?

Trip Generation for Smart Growth Projects

Robert J. Schneider, Susan L. Handy, and Kevan Shafizadeh

Developers must evaluate how much a new project will add to local traffic levels. If deemed necessary, developers must then invest in substantial capacity-adding projects, which can make some infill projects financially infeasible. But how much new vehicle traffic are developments creating, especially in smart growth areas?

Pounds that Kill

Michael L. Anderson and Maximilian Auffhammer

When you buy a car, you may not be thinking of the effect you have on other people. But more and more, we see that there are public costs to private choices. Your car may produce more pollution than another car, thus leading to an environmental impact affecting others. But what about the weight of your car? How does that affect others?

Fuel-Efficiency Standards: Are Greener Cars Safer?

Mark Jacobsen

The United States has strengthened its fuel efficiency regulations several times in recent years in an effort to reduce environmental, economic, and energy costs. These standards have led to an in increase fuel efficiency by manufacturing lighter, lower-horsepower vehicles. But are these new fuel-efficient vehicles safe?

An Innovative Path to Sustainable Transportation

Dan Sperling

At one time, it looked as though humanity might go on a greenhouse gas (GHG) diet simply by running out of fossil fuels. But due to new and improved technologies for finding and extracting oil, including extraction techniques like fracking and horizontal drilling, we are far from running out of oil. So how do we cut back on GHG levels, and the environmental impact they have, if we’re not running out of oil?

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Making Parking Meters Popular

Donald Shoup

When it comes to making a list of things people are excited about, parking meters are not just near the bottom, they’re not on the list. So how can government officials gain local support for parking meters? Donald Shoup’s answer: grant parking discounts to residents.