Hecht co-edits “The Social Lives of Forests”

Urban Planning professor Susanna Hecht has published a new book. “The Social Lives of Forests,” co-edited by Hecht, Kathleen D. Morrison of the University of Chicago and Christine Padoch of the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia, will be released in early March.

With 28 chapters in five parts, the book takes a comprehensive look at humanity’s multidimensional relationships with forests and woodlands. From the publisher:

“Forests are in decline, and the threats these outposts of nature face—including deforestation, degradation, and fragmentation—are the result of human culture. Or are they? This volume calls these assumptions into question, revealing forests’ past, present, and future conditions to be the joint products of a host of natural and cultural forces. Moreover, in many cases the coalescence of these forces—from local ecologies to competing knowledge systems—has masked a significant contemporary trend of woodland resurgence, even in the forests of the tropics.

“Focusing on the history and current use of woodlands from India to the Amazon, ‘The Social Lives of Forests’ attempts to build a coherent view of forests sited at the nexus of nature, culture, and development. With chapters covering the effects of human activities on succession patterns in now-protected Costa Rican forests; the intersection of gender and knowledge in African shea nut tree markets; and even the unexpectedly rich urban woodlands of Chicago, this book explores forests as places of significant human action, with complex institutions, ecologies, and economies that have transformed these landscapes in the past and continue to shape them today. From rain forests to timber farms, the face of forests—how we define, understand, and maintain them—is changing.”

The book is published by the University of Chicago Press.

Holloway Earns Two Grants for HIV Prevention Studies

Social Welfare professor Ian Holloway has been awarded two grants to study sexual risk behavior among populations of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in Los Angeles County and the Dominican Republic.

In a $25,000 award from the National Institute of Mental Health and administered through UCLA’s Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services, Holloway will lead a team of researchers looking at how mobile apps and social media can be used to deliver HIV prevention and treatment messaging tailored for Black MSM.

Although apps such as Grindr, Jack’d and Scruff have become common ways for young men to meet each other and connect to gay communities, little is known about how these apps may facilitate HIV risk behavior among young Black MSM, or how the networks formed through these apps could help connect Black MSM with HIV prevention services and resources. Holloway’s grant seeks to inform the development of technology-based interventions to reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in this population.

“Current HIV-prevention strategies focus on increasing outreach, testing, treatment and retention in HIV care in order to reduce community viral load. It is imperative that we understand the ways in which young men are using technology in order to tailor interventions for delivery online and through mobile technologies,” Holloway says. “Our research will help inform network-based interventions that can keep HIV-positive men healthy and hopefully reduce new infections among HIV-negative men.”

The second grant from the UCLA Center for AIDS Research/AIDS Institute, totaling $50,000 over two years, focuses on the social and sexual networks of male sex workers in the Dominican Republic. Holloway and his co-researchers hope to learn more about how tourism economies in the Dominican Republic contribute to substance use and HIV risk through changes in the structure and composition of the social and sexual networks of Dominican male sex workers. For this project, Holloway will collaborate with Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, who co-directs the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work and has studied the role of alcohol and drug abuse in HIV risk behavior among Dominican youth. In-country collaborators include Rafael García-Alvarez and Antonio de Moya of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo.

Holloway has previously studied the impact of social networks on HIV risk behavior, especially among young sexual minority men.

The Art of Leadership: Madeleine Albright

Prior to delivering her Luskin Lecture and receiving the UCLA Medal in January, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke about the qualities that make good leaders — both today and in the future.

Watch the video below to see what Albright had to say about “The Art of Leadership.” More interviews from other noted leaders can be seen on UCLA Luskin’s YouTube channel.


Janine Berridge: Worldwide Roots, Worldwide Interests

By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

Public Policy student Janine Berridge’s journey has taken her around the world, but along the way she’s achieved an impressive list of accomplishments — both in the workforce and as a master of public policy candidate at UCLA Luskin.

Beginning her story in Wales, where she spent her childhood, Berridge first received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Cardiff University. “I always wanted to become a broadcast journalist. However, I realized I had to eat, breathe and sleep ‘news’ in order to work in the journalism field . . . and I realized this might not be the thing for me,” Berridge explains. “So after I graduated, I took some time off traveling. I went all over the world and, along the way, discovered that I really enjoyed and thrived off meeting communities. When I returned I thought about how I could put my skills to work with these communities to solve certain issues.”

With these experiences in mind, Berridge took a leap of faith and started her career in a junior position at Plan UK, a children’s charity with which she had ties as a sponsor and passionate supporter. “At first, the job was hard because it was very repetitive. I had to phone 50 schools a day, saying the same lines with as much enthusiasm and energy as I could,” she recalls. Despite the high turnover rate of her position, Berridge continued with Plan UK, rising from assistant to senior executive within five years. “Ultimately, this came about from me thinking, ‘What are my skills? Where do I want to be?’, and then getting my head down and working hard.”

Working with Plan UK allowed Berridge to continue her passion for travel and meeting communities around the world. From working with a girl’s boarding school in Malawi to teaching young people about sexual and reproductive health in Zambia, Berridge devoted her efforts to creating change through her work.

Though her travels were mainly work-related, one specific trip was made for the sole purpose of self-discovery. “My grandfather was born in the Gambia and came to the UK as a stowaway on a ship,” she explains. Intrigued by her family’s origins, Berridge went on a solo journey to the West African country to discover her story — armed with a single photograph and an unfaltering sense of determination. She went from door to door in communities across the country, hopeful that someone would recognize her grandfather from the photograph, or from the story of his adventures as a stowaway. At the least expected moment, one woman grew excited at the sight of a familiar face in the picture, and took Berridge to another compound to meet the now elderly lady in the photograph. “All of a sudden, she just burst out in tears, and I ended up bursting out in tears as well. She was my grandfather’s cousin, and they were raised together by their grandmother after their parents died when they were young,” Berridge describes. She found the rest of her relatives in the Gambia through this point of connection and spent time there reconnecting with her family’s roots.

While working at Plan UK, Berridge met her husband, a filmmaker who traveled between London and Los Angeles for work. The couple decided to permanently relocate to L.A., and Berridge made the decision to apply to graduate school. “I always wanted to get my master’s but the money and the time were an issue,” Berridge explains. “Going through the GRE was absolutely petrifying, but I eventually got offered a position to study here.”

From the start, Berridge was determined to apply an equal amount of dedication and involvement at UCLA Luskin as she did in her previous jobs. “I wanted to be really involved and be a part of the experience in a way that I didn’t really get to do as an undergraduate,” she explains. During her time at UCLA, Berridge has taken on several leadership positions through campus organizations. Her roles include: vice president for professional development with the Association of Master of Public Policy Students; lead member of Policy Professionals for Diversity; Graduate Student Representative (GSA) for the LGBTQ UCLA-wide committee; leader in the development of foreign language options for graduate students; and member of the Luskin Senior Fellows Program, which Berridge describes as a program that “has really made my time at Luskin very special.” Berridge is also the recipient of a fellowship from the Wasserman Foundation, which provides funding for exceptional UCLA Luskin students.

On top of her active involvement within the school, Berridge was also offered the unique opportunity to intern with the Clinton Foundation last summer. “The internship was a good, holistic program that offered a great deal of knowledge on topics I’m interested in,” Berridge relates. “I really enjoyed the ‘brown bag’ events where highly accomplished individuals who worked in administration and the White House shared their insight on our work.”

As an intern, Berridge worked with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) team and CGI partners to formulate market-based approaches to global social issues. “The goal is to promote more practical, market-based, shared-value strategies to all levels of the income pyramid,” she says. “Companies will invest in a program that benefits both the company and the individual, unlike philanthropies that may dry up when the economy is in recession.”

Berridge’s work as a Clinton Foundation intern and work outside of UCLA continue to fulfill one of her first goals — to help communities around the world. Her Applied Policy Project, a team report that all Public Policy students submit at the conclusion of their studies, is focused on offering policy recommendations to a client working in Malawi who is facing “the challenges of employee absenteeism and petty theft in  their community development projects.” Berridge also serves as a consultant at InVenture, a social enterprise aimed to offer resources for entrepreneurs in India to reach out to unbanked individuals, and Wells Bring Hope, a nonprofit that funds boreholes in Niger.

Berridge has come a long way from her initial dream of becoming a broadcast journalist, but each step of her journey has been one of personal growth and discovery. “It takes hard work — and failure, sometimes — to figure out where you need to focus your strategy,” she concludes. “Like someone once said, if you’re not failing you’re not trying hard enough. Always push yourself until you’ve reached your maximum and then take a step back and see how you can improve from there.”

Students Join Movers & Shakers at TRB Conference

By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin student writer

A group of Urban Planning students looking to expand their knowledge and professional connections in the transportation world made the trip to the 93rd annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington D.C., earlier this month.

The TRB annual meeting is a massive event, with around 12,000 participants and 800 different sessions spanning the width and breadth of transportation studies each year. Attending this event offered the UCLA Luskin students an opportunity to meet a mix of professionals and academics working on issues and projects similar to their own.

One student presenter, Jaimee Lederman, recalled, “This conference really gave me the chance to talk to people I normally couldn’t gain access to. For example, I had problems getting data from people in the insurance industry because they are not easy to contact, but there was a woman there who happened to be the head of an insurance company.”

Fellow student Kelcie Ralph agreed that the networking opportunities at the program are invaluable: “My first year, I tried to go to as many sessions as possible and drilled myself into the ground just to see everything. This year, I scaled back and focused on networking. I had the opportunity to attend a women’s reception that became an amazing networking opportunity for me to meet other women in transportation.”

Four Urban Planning students — master’s student Timothy Black and doctoral students Trevor Thomas, Ralph and Lederman — each were invited to present and discuss their research in various panels and forums at the conference.

Thomas’ paper covered the topic of post-welfare reform. “There are many travel surveys done for low-income people, single parents and children under welfare reform, but none of these data has been analyzed on the national level,” Thomas explained. “After looking at travel surveys from 1995 and 2009, we found a big change in vehicle access for poor single parents — more so than for any other demographic — that reflected in distance and their speed of income.”

Black conducted his research on the effectiveness and application of methods of measurement in urban planning. “With each metric, we were looking at different ways it could be applied, along with its background and development,” he explained. “By applying different metrics to streets of Santa Monica, we can find the best ways of measuring each street for bicycles and pedestrians.”

Ralph presented both a lecture and a poster. Her paper analyzed the relationship between women’s household labor and their use of automobiles. “Men & women divide household labor, but even women who work more than their husbands do significantly more housework than their partners,” she said. “That means that they need an automobile to make these trips, so I am looking at how these two topics are connected to each other.”

For her poster, Ralph examined how participation in after-school activities can be influenced by teens’ access to an automobile. “I think the goal of transportation, at the end of the day, is to connect people to opportunities and further social equality,” said Ralph.

Lederman also focused her research on two different topics within the legal realms of transportation and technology. The first covered transportation and ecology, specifically “streamlining transportation delivery of endangered species through large-scale collaborative planning,” she said.

Her second research topic concerned liability for emerging transportation systems and technologies. “With the new integration of automated driving technology in cars, there is an uncertain legal landscape,” she said. “People are so focused on the ultimate endgame, the automatic car, but we first have to slow down and look at how legal liabilities will affect technological development in this area.”

Though the conference is promoted throughout the Urban Planning department as one of the biggest transportation events of the year, the high cost of attending often prevents students from presenting their research in person and receiving feedback from some of the top professionals in the industry. These four students were able to attend thanks to a generous scholarship from alumnus Larry Sauve MA UP ’78  in order to cover their travel costs to the conference.

Sauve first experienced the conference as a working professional at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Once he realized the range of opportunities this conference could provide to students, Sauve offered to cover the travel expenses of four UCLA Luskin Urban Planning students who were invited to present their research each year.

“I felt that money should not hold you back” from this professional opportunity, Sauve said. “I didn’t get a chance to go to TRB until I was actually working, but if I had the chance as a student it would have made me even more enthusiastic about going into my career in transportation.”

“The scholarship was very helpful because people [at the conference] asked specific questions about the research,” Black explained. “It provided me the chance to be there to answer questions in detail about my own research.”

The four students will present their research again at a conference at UCLA Luskin on February 12, 2014.

Madeleine Albright Speaks on Policy and Service at Luskin Lecture

By Max Wynn
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

On January 29th the UCLA community packed into a sold-out Royce Hall to take part in the third Luskin Lecture Series event of the 2013-14, “A Conversation with Madeleine Albright.”

In a list of achievements in public service spanning nearly four decades, Albright most notably served as President Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997-2001. When she was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, she became the first woman to hold that position, and at the time was the highest ranking woman in the history of U.S. government.

Former Massachusetts Governor and visiting professor of public policy Michael Dukakis introduced Secretary Albright, describing how much he had enjoyed working with her during his 1988 presidential campaign. Albert Carnesale, a professor of public policy and engineering and former Chancellor of UCLA, then presented her with the UCLA Medal, an award given to those who have not only earned academic and professional acclaim, but whose works also illustrates the highest ideals of UCLA.

Upon receiving the honor, Albright joined Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, and basketball coach John Wooden in the exclusive club of UCLA Medal recipients.

Albright’s keynote address focused on the difficulty of creating effective foreign policy in the face of rapid technological change and growing global interdependence. These two megatrends, as she described them, are difficult to address from a policy standpoint because they create their own contradictions. They both share the potential to foster international cooperation and understanding, she said, and yet in many instances they have hardened sectarian, ethnic and regional divisions.

Conscious of her audience of students, Albright described her remarks as centering on “the challenges facing the next generation of global leaders,” saying “given all that’s happening across the globe, we have an awful lot to talk about.

“The world’s a mess,” she summarized.

Despite these weighty pronouncements, her light-hearted nature, sense of humor and inspiring closing statements made it clear that she retains an optimistic outlook for the future. “Higher stakes mean greater rewards,” she said.

“The leaders of today and tomorrow have a chance to examine the options before us, discard what is broken, adapt what can be made to perform better and create new mechanisms where they are needed so that the global system benefits us all,” she said.

In his opening remarks, UCLA Luskin Dean Franklin D. Gilliam. Jr., stated that “The mission of our school is to change the world. We do that by training the next generation of transformative leaders.” Albright echoed Dean Gilliam’s sentiment, recognizing the potential of Luskin’s students to do just that.

Describing the leaders that the 21st century landscape requires, Albright stated that we need “leaders who bring a broadened understanding of their role…men and women who understand the connections between policy, planning, and social welfare…who recognize the need for an interdisciplinary approach to an interdependent world.

“The Luskin School is the kind of place in which those leaders will be forged,” she said.

Early in her address Albright noted that she was particularly looking forward to the question and answer portion of the evening’s event. She explained that since she is no longer in government she was excited to be able to actually answer the questions students and members of the public asked her, and her answers were nothing if not candid.

After a conversation with Dean Gilliam in which the two discussed a series of topics ranging from the Syrian conflict to the revelation of National Security Agency spying practices to her father’s mentorship of Condoleezza Rice, Albright fielded questions from the audience, the majority of which came from UCLA Luskin students.

The questions touched on specific policy issues as well as covering more general inquiries about the experience of being one of the few women in the corridors of power. Lance Cpl. J. Vincent Barcelona, a Marine Reservist and a third-year undergraduate student, asked Albright what force she would recommend President Obama deploy in Afghanistan as he prepares to withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014.

After thanking him for his service, Albright said she didn’t know of the exact number, but she knew it was important to protect the United States’ investment in the country. She also spoke of her own experience advising on military action, and how seriously she and others in her role take the responsibility of sending young people to war.

Vernessa Shih, a second-year Public Policy student, asked what advice Albright would give to young women interested in public service. Albright responded that she would encourage women to not be afraid to interrupt, because if an idea is important enough to be shared, it’s important enough to break up a conversation. She also passed along what she called her “most-quoted line:”

“There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women,” she said.

Members of the audience took part in the discussion on Twitter. See what they were saying:

Ong’s Students Provide Demographic Data for EmpowerLA

Students in Paul Ong‘s Urban Planning 214 class, “Neighborhood Analysis,” completed reports of important demographic information last fall about seven Los Angeles neighborhoods.

The series of reports, which integrated data collected in the field with information from the U.S. Census Bureau, were delivered to EmpowerLA, the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. According to a blog post on the empowerla.org site, the reports will help Neighborhood Councils in the areas drive their engagement with and service to their communities.

“I am so impressed by the caliber of the students’ work,” said EmpowerLA general manager Grayce Liu, according to the post. “I think this asset mapping is essential for all Neighborhood Councils.”

Read the entire post and see the reports — which cover Valley Glen, Highland Park, Lake Balboa, South Central, Sunland-Tujunga, Van Nuys and Southwest — on the EmpowerLA website.

Parklets Toolkit Receives National Recognition

Reclaiming the Right-of-Way, a comprehensive toolkit on planning methods to encourage walkability and complete streets design in neighborhoods, has been named a recipients of a National Planning Achievement Award for Best Practice, presented by the American Planning Association.

The award is the latest in a string of honors for the toolkit, which is led by program manager Madeline Brozen and UCLA Luskin Urban Planning professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris through UCLA Luskin’s Complete Streets Initiative. Local and regional APA chapters had previously recognized the project’s contributions to planning theory and practice.

In a letter supporting the project’s nomination, Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar called the toolkit “invaluable,” saying the toolkit encouraged the city to try new ideas and “helped the shift toward a healthier, more walkable and enriching public realm gain a stronger foothold in Los Angeles.” Similar letters of support came from the L.A. Department of Transportation and the City of Cincinnati.

Though focused specifically on parklet development in Los Angeles, the toolkit provides methodologies and guidelines that can be applied to other communities and cities. The city of Pasadena, for example, just announced the possibility of parklets being installed alongside their Colorado Boulevard; additionally, LADOT launched a website titled www.PeopleSt.org that offers resources for community members to create and apply for their own public parklet spaces.

Reclaiming the Right-of-Way is the first part of a three-phase effort, made possible by a $75,000 grant from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, that included the publication of the toolkit, installation of two demonstration parklets in Los Angeles, and evaluation of the parklets’ role in their neighborhoods.

A brief description of the toolkit and award is available on the American Planning Association’s website:http://planning.org/awards/2014/achievement.htm

ACCESS Magazine Wins National Planning Award

ACCESS Magazine, the publication housed at UCLA Luskin that reports on research funded by the University of California Transportation Center, has been named the recipient of a National Planning Excellence Award by the American Planning Association.

The award celebrates efforts to increase awareness and understanding about the planning profession, and “tell the planning story.”

Launched 21 years ago by Berkeley planning professor Mel Webber, ACCESS has consistently made transportation research useful for policymakers and planning practitioners. With a goal of translating academic research into readable articles intended for a lay audience, ACCESS helps bring academic research into the public policy debate. ACCESS is currently housed within UCLA Luskin’s Institute of Transportation Studies, and is managed by editor in chief Urban Planning professor Donald Shoup and managing editor John Mathews.

The biannual magazine has more than 8,500 subscribers and 1,000 website visitors per month from more than 60 countries. Its ease of reading and widespread fan based has led to numerous reprint requests and articles being translated by international publications, including the leading Chinese journal, Urban Transport of China.

“As a teacher, I regularly assign ACCESS articles because students love them,” said Joe Grengs, associate professor at the University of Michigan’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning. “In both style and substance, the articles are compelling enough to draw students into a conversation in ways that standard, dry academic writing cannot.”

Research published in ACCESS also inspires the implementation of new public initiatives. For example, San Francisco’s SFpark, a program that prices parking by demand, stemmed in part from ACCESS articles.

ACCESS Magazine has undoubtedly increased public awareness of the transportation and planning industry,” said Ann C. Bagley, FAICP, chair of the 2014 APA Awards Jury. “The magazine presents study findings in an engaging and comprehensible manner, helping to spread sustainable planning ideas to a global audience.”

ACCESS Magazine received the 2012 Organization of the Year award from the California Transportation Foundation and was nominated for the 2013 White House Champions of Change Award. The publication is funded by the California and U.S. Departments of Transportation.

The Communications Initiative Award will be presented at a special awards luncheon during APA’s National Planning Conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. The magazine also will be featured in Planning magazine, APA’s flagship publication.

To learn more about ACCESS and sign up for a free subscription, visit the publication’s website.

Behind America’s Incarceration Boom

By Stan Paul

Why are so many Americans in prison?

This is the question asked in the title of a recently published book by the policy scholars Michael Stoll and Steven Raphael. They discussed the question this past week at a lunchtime talk hosted UCLA Luskin’s Department of Public Policy.

Stoll, professor and chair of the department, and co-author Steven Raphael, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, said that while asking the question seems obvious, getting to the question took a long time.

Arriving at the question posed in the title involved getting past myths such as the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill between the 1950s and 1970s, or the introduction of crack into Americas cities and its supposed related effects on crime.

And, while “race does matter,” Stoll said, citing the disproportionately high incarceration rate of African American males, “this is an American problem and requires an American solution,” pointing out that the U.S. incarceration rate is “unparalleled” (more than 700 per 100,000) compared to Europe and the rest of the world.

Stoll and Raphael, who are longtime research collaborators, looked closely at the reasons why the incarceration rate has soared over the past decades into the millions nationwide, despite historically low rates in crime. Wading through all the popular conclusions and other factors that do not explain why incarceration has gone up so rapidly, their research pointed to political choices.

The bottom line for Stoll and Raphael is that since the 1980s, this increase is “attributable to changes in sentencing policy,” which has resulted in longer sentences, for example. New sentencing guidelines, “get tough on crime” policies and other politically driven efforts to address crime have only compounded the problem, pushing the system to the point where the costs of maintaining such a high incarceration rate begin to outweigh the benefits.

In their book, published by the Russell Sage Foundation, Stoll and Raphael explore alternatives aimed at reducing this incarceration trend.

The entire discussion is available for view on UCLA Luskin’s iTunes U channel.