Matute Proposes Consolidated Public Transit Platform

UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies Deputy Director Juan Matute was featured on a “Connect the Dots” podcast episode about the future of public transit following the pandemic. “Those using transit in Los Angeles tend to be lower-income than cities like San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and even New York, where there is more white-collar commuting,” Matute explained. As a result, Los Angeles saw relatively high pandemic ridership compared to pre-pandemic levels. “Diversity of mobility options helps serve those who want or need to get around without a personal vehicle,” Matute said. “The introduction of micro-mobility, such as e-scooters and bike share, provide additional options for people to get around.” Matute said he would like to see a platform where people could access many forms of transportation in one place, which would make it easier for transit riders to get around.

Yaroslavsky on Protecting Civil Liberties and Art

Director of the Los Angeles Initiative Zev Yaroslavsky spoke to the New York Times about the thriving Theatricum Botanicum located in the Santa Monica Mountains. The theater was started by actor Will Geer in the 1950s as a retreat for blacklisted actors who refused to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities about alleged communist activity. Yaroslavsky, who represented Topanga and helped win the theater arts subsidies when he was a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, called the theater a “civil liberties billboard.” Now, the outdoor theater continues to draw crowds in the Topanga area as many seek safe forms of entertainment during the pandemic. “When I think of Topanga Canyon and the Theatricum Botanicum, it’s a constant history lesson of what can happen even in a democracy like ours when people stop being diligent,” Yaroslavsky said. “The whole DNA of that theater is about eternal vigilance.”

Leap Highlights Paths to Upward Mobility for Youth

Adjunct Professor of Social Welfare Jorja Leap joined the 30 for 30 podcast “The King of Crenshaw” to discuss the role that gangs play in Los Angeles. “If our culture in L.A. is a tapestry, [gangs] are several threads that run through that tapestry — the good, the bad, the ugly and the understandable,” she said.  The podcast focused on how the life and death of rapper and community activist Nipsey Hussle deeply impacted the sports world, particularly NBA players. Leap noted that many Black youth in South Los Angeles pursue basketball and rap as paths to opportunity and hope. While not the only options for upward mobility, they don’t require any special equipment but do depend on raw ability and talent. “The minute you’re busy playing sports, you’re less busy with the hood, pure and simple,” Leap said. “You can’t take the hood away without putting something in its place.”

Matute on Prioritizing Safety of E-Scooter Services

Juan Matute, deputy director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA Luskin, spoke to Dot.LA about Superpedestrian, an e-scooter startup that aims to prioritize rider and pedestrian safety. Some e-scooter companies have faced lawsuits from riders over bodily injury and death. Superpedestrian says it has spent years improving its technology to protect vulnerable pedestrians and alert the user when they are breaking the rules. According to Matute, focusing on safety makes it easier for cities to adopt micro-mobility like e-scooter services. “Having self-regulating technology like Superpedestrian has is really attractive to cities because they can approve scooters to go in without worrying so much about users behaving badly,” he explained. “People have died because of vehicle system failures, brakes not being up to snuff.” Superpedestrian recently made its debut in Los Angeles with 5,000 LINK e-scooters.

Leap on Complicated Origins of Gang Activity

Adjunct Professor of Social Welfare Jorja Leap was featured in an ABC 7 News segment about the complicated history of gang activity in Los Angeles. “People think that gangs are about criminal activity, but they’re really about economics,” Leap said. She explained that when factories in South L.A. began to close down in the 1970s, job opportunities and income narrowed and created a vacuum for gang activity. “Thousands of people lost their jobs, and the area never recovered,” she said. “You don’t see the pain that goes into gang membership and the reasons why people join gangs.” Leap said the Crips, one of the oldest gangs in the South Los Angeles area, have been involved in significant social services in addition to gang activity and criminal behavior. “To understand the Crips is to understand a very lengthy, very complex picture of a street organization that began in the Southern California area,” she said.

Yaroslavsky on Permit Parking Dilemma

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, was featured in a Los Angeles Times article discussing the permit requirements and restrictions that regulate parking across the city. Yaroslavsky came up with the idea of permit parking more than 40 years ago for residents in neighborhoods where street parking is dominated by customers trying to access nearby businesses. “Cities throughout our region have required developers to provide parking for their customers or residents. Eliminating such requirements in order to reduce development costs may be a good idea in theory, but it has consequences,” said the former city councilman and county supervisor. Yaroslavsky said that without parking requirements, car owners will be forced to circle neighborhoods to find curbside parking, and some businesses that rely on curb parking may lose customers. “The government should be careful before eliminating all parking requirements, because if it turns out to be a mistake, it can’t be corrected,” he concluded.

Umemoto on Opening of Terasaki Budokan

Urban Planning Professor Karen Umemoto spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the opening of the Terasaki Budokan gym and community center in Little Tokyo. After decades of planning and a $35-million fundraising effort, the opening of the Budokan in June was a huge victory for the Little Tokyo community. Umemoto explained that many Japanese immigrants settled in what became Little Tokyo in the late 19th century after being shut out from other neighborhoods due to racial discrimination. Later, those same Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from Little Tokyo when the U.S. government sent them to concentration camps during World War II. The Budokan will host sports leagues, afterschool programs, classes for senior citizens and cultural events, but most importantly, it will be a gathering place in a historic neighborhood threatened by assimilation and gentrification. It will also help young people connect with their roots and may help revive business in Little Tokyo’s stores and restaurants.

Leap Sees Violence Exacerbated by Pandemic

Adjunct Professor of Social Welfare Jorja Leap was featured in a Los Angeles Times article about the disproportionate rise in homicides targeting Latino and Black victims. “It speaks to the two Los Angeleses,” said Leap, pointing to the significant disparities in public safety across the city. Communities of color have been disproportionately burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to an increase in drug disputes and violence, she said. “Drug dealing is not a peaceful endeavor,” Leap said, and the violence it spawns has been “exacerbated literally by hunger, by worse poverty, by people not having enough money, by people being desperate.” Furthermore, many programs aimed at reducing gang activity and violence were put on hold during the pandemic. Leap explained that people who had relied on such programs were driven into a spiral of despair by their collapse, and she predicted that the increased violence will only stop once those programs are back in place.

Yaroslavsky on What L.A. Can Learn From the Tokyo Olympics

Los Angeles Initiative Director Zev Yaroslavsky joined a wide-ranging conversation on KCRW’s “Greater LA” focusing on what Los Angeles can learn from the Tokyo Olympics as it prepares to host the Summer Games in 2028. Yaroslavsky was a member of the L.A. City Council when the city hosted the 1984 Olympics. Since then, Los Angeles has seen the construction of new sports venues and transit lines, as well as dormitories at USC and UCLA that can serve as an Olympic Village, he said. “The most significant difference between ’84 and the current state of affairs is that in 1984, the City of Los Angeles refused to sign the guarantee that the International Olympic Committee demands of every host city, and that is the guarantee that [the city] will cover all expenses,” he said. In Tokyo, costs projected at $7.4 billion skyrocketed to $15.4 billion. In 2028, Los Angeles will be on the hook for any final damages if the Games fail to meet projected revenues.


Hill Finds Lack of Diversity in L.A. Tech Industry

Assistant Professor of Public Policy Jasmine Hill spoke to Dot LA about the findings of PledgeLA’s survey of Los Angeles technology companies and venture firms. While the tech industry in Los Angeles has made efforts to increase the diversity of its workforce, the survey highlighted the disparities that still exist in pay and representation. “Tech oftentimes likes to think of itself as a very equal, egalitarian space,” said Hill, who helped analyze the data for PledgeLA. “But the data shows something different.” The report found that Black and Latino workers make less money than their peers, and women earned an average of $20,000 less than men regardless of role or experience. PledgeLA was able to break down earnings data by race as a result of an increased participation rate from PledgeLA companies in the survey, but Hill noted that the report is not representative of the entire L.A. tech scene because it only includes data from the participating PledgeLA companies.

Read the article


Property, Personhood and Police: Counter-Mapping Nuisance

Thinking, organizing and mapping from Louisville, Kentucky, and Los Angeles, California, this event will explore how the policing of nuisance has become a tool for neighborhood transformation and racial banishment. As documented by the Root Cause Research Center, the death of Breonna Taylor in March 2020 was linked to a neighborhood policing program used to declare nuisance properties in Louisville’s gentrifying neighborhoods. In Los Angeles, the Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program (CNAP) has similarly been used as a tool for redevelopment as well as a means to increase surveillance in the city’s communities of color.

Join us as we discuss the ways that organizing has been, and continues to be instrumental, in resisting these emerging racialized property logics.

Featured speakers:
Jessica Bellamy, Root Cause Research Center
Josh Poe, Root Cause Research Center
Terra Graziani, UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP)
Pamela Stephens, UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy

Chaired by:
Ananya Roy, UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy



Careers in Public Policy Panel

In collaboration with the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Southern California Chapter and UCLA’s Master of Public Policy program, this panel will showcase PPIA and UCLA MPP alumni who are now working as policy professionals in government agencies, non-profits/NGOs, research centers and/or think tanks. Participants will be able to hear about diverse experiences in policy career trajectories and receive valuable advice on how to prepare themselves for the career they want. The panel will include a Q&A section for participants to further engage with the panelists. RSVP to receive a link in the days prior to the event.

Funding Your UCLA MPP Graduate Experience

At the graduate level, there are few opportunities that the federal and state government provides to assist students with funding their graduate education. This webinar will focus on the various sources of funding (i.e. department fellowships, Graduate Division fellowships, academic apprentice positions) UCLA students have access in order to reduce the cost of our program. RSVP to receive zoom link days prior to the event.

Mapping Your Future: Identifying Strategies for Graduate Admissions

Navigating the graduate admission process requires intentional planning, critical self-reflection, and a support system to help guide you in the process. This webinar will assist students (with a focus on the first-generation, students of color experience) in identifying strategies they can implement when choosing graduate programs they would like to apply, as well as different methods they can use to strengthen their MPP application. Participants will leave the webinar with an action plan on how to move forward with their graduate admission journey that will focus in the areas of student experience, support system(s), and financial aid. RSVP to receive zoom link days prior to the event.

*This event is part of Public Policy and International Affairs’ (PPIA) National Summer Series events*

‘Cool’ Street Art and Climate Change

Join V. Kelly Turner, assistant professor of urban planning at UCLA Luskin, and Lizy Dastin, art historian and adjunct professor of art history at Santa Monica College, for a public viewing of the first environmental mural of its kind: a large-scale, public art piece made from cooling surface paint to raise awareness about rising temperatures in cities. The mural by artist Eric Skotnes on a 27 x 72 foot brick wall on 1920s-era building in South Los Angeles will make a double visual impact — as an elegant eco-mural that enlivens the community and also as an infrared image documented by thermal camera. This project will raise the visibility of eco-efforts through the popularity of street art, and bring together the resources and expertise of an exciting group of collaborators: artists, urban planners, climate scholars, community activists and entrepreneurs. READ MORE about the project.
WHO: The public and media are invited to view the first eco-friendly, and eco-saving, mural
WHERE: Amped Kitchens, a community food production space. 661 E 62nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90003
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

InterActions LA: Quality Transit Neighborhoods

InterActions LA: Inspiring Quality Transit Neighborhoods

The inaugural InterActions LA conference will discuss the opportunities to enhance neighborhoods given the sweeping $120 billion investment to expand Los Angeles’ transportation system. While “transportation transformation” headlines abound, the on-ground picture is different: Change to the necessary complementary elements is harder to see and come by.

We will explore how today’s opportunity can address decades-old inequities among people and places throughout the region. Based on existing research, we know that new transit stations alone will not improve lives. A suite of complementary approaches—station area design, neighborhood connectivity and amenities, and progressive land use policies—are required to move toward a more inclusive Los Angeles region.

InterActions LA will pair the latest academic thinking with real-world examples of positive and progressive change—an essential exchange to address the interconnected needs of improving transportation and mobility around current and future transit stations.

Who should attend:

Community-based organization members
Community advocates
Non-profit staff
Planners and policymakers
Planning and policy professionals

About the conference:

Presented by the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, InterActions LA is an annual conference dedicated to advancing regional growth and equity in Greater Los Angeles. Bringing together a diverse community from multiple sectors, this half-day event provides an opportunity to discuss and engage in the most pressing regional issues today. InterActions LA seeks to ignite conversation, exchange ideas, and provide knowledge on topics at the intersection of how people live, move, and work in the Los Angeles region.

Coupling More Housing with Transit

Coupling More Housing with Transit: State, Local & Community Perspectives

// Housing, Equity & Community Series


Please join us on Feb. 20th for the Housing, Equity and Community Series including a presentation of the recently released UCLA Lewis Center report, “Transit Oriented Los Angeles: Envisioning an Equitable and Thriving Future,” made possible by LA Metro and ULI-Los Angeles. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on the California Senate Bill 50 (“SB827 v.2.0”), the Los Angeles’ Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Affordable Housing Incentive Program and the issues around density and transit-oriented development in Los Angeles and California.


  • Mike Manville: Associate Professor, Urban Planning, UCLA Luskin School
  • Laura Raymond, Director, Alliance for Community Development (ACT-LA)
  • Arthi Varma, Deputy Director, Citywide Planning, Los Angeles Department of City Planning


  • Michael Lens: Associate Faculty Director, UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies; and Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Public Policy and UCLA Luskin School


**Dinner will be provided. For sustainability purposes, we ask that you please bring your own beverage**



RSVP Here:

From Public Transit to Public Mobility

From Public Transit to Public Mobility

12th Annual UCLA ITS Downtown Los Angeles Forum on Transportation, Land Use, and the Environment

Presented by the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies

Date: March 1, 2019

Location: Japanese American National Museum (Aratani Central Hall)

100 N. Central Ave., LA,CA 90012

Registration: 8:45AM – 9:00AM

Event Program: 9:00AM – 5:00PM

Reception: 5:00PM – 7:00PM (Hirasaki Family Garden)

The 12th UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies Downtown Forum grapples with the public sector’s response to the dual trends of emerging new mobility services and declining public transit ridership.

What does the increasing role of private mobility options in cities mean for transportation agencies, public transit providers, cities, and the traveling public? Should innovation be encouraged, quashed, or managed? Many regions in California are making big investments in public transit to create a viable alternative to driving; are these burgeoning new services a threat or opportunity for these investments?

The 12th Annual Downtown Forum will explore implementation of the strategies discussed at the October 2018 Arrowhead Symposium, a 3-day in-depth examination of what’s happening in urban mobility amidst an inundation of new options, to how public agencies are adapting to accommodate, manage, and incorporate, and compete with new options while continuing to serve the public interest. The Downtown Forum advances strategies to implementation in four areas seen as critical to the public sector’s response to new mobility:

  • Successful models for the public sector to partner with private companies providing public mobility service
  • How public agencies can effectively obtain and use data to manage public mobility
  • Identifying and implementing the most impactful, cost-effective incremental changes to streets and transit service in order to double public transit ridership in the next decade
  • Coordinating implementation of new technologies and mobility services to enhance equity and quality of life

AICP credits available.

Lunch Provided. RSVP at