Posts

Urban Planning Alumna Leads National Endowment for the Arts

Urban Planning alumna Maria Rosario Jackson PhD ’96 has been confirmed as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, becoming the first African American and Mexican American woman to lead the federal agency. “The arts are critical to our well-being, to robust economies and to healthy communities where all people can thrive,” said Jackson, a professor at Arizona State University who has served on the National Council on the Arts since 2013. For more than 25 years, Jackson’s work has focused on understanding and elevating arts, culture and design as critical elements of strong communities. She has served as an advisor on philanthropic programs and investments at national, regional and local foundations, including the Los Angeles County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She serves on the board of directors of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, among other organizations, and her work appears in a wide range of professional and academic publications. She also taught a UCLA course on arts, culture and community revitalization. Jackson grew up in South Los Angeles and credits her parents with instilling a love of the arts in her family. “Our art, culture and creativity are some of our country’s most valuable resources,” she said. “They are evidence of our humanity, our ability to learn from our examined experience, and our ability to imagine and innovate.” President Joe Biden nominated Jackson to the NEA post in October, during National Arts and Humanities Month; her appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 18.

Read full release and bio


 

Manville on Showdown Over California Housing Laws

An NBC News report on a looming showdown over new California laws aimed at building more housing included insights from Associate Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville. The laws going into effect on Jan. 1 include Senate Bill 9, which will allow property owners to construct more than one unit on lots previously reserved for single-family homes. Opponents say the laws will strip cities and counties of control over zoning and will not ensure that new units will be affordable. A proposed constitutional amendment that would undo several of the laws may appear on the November 2022 ballot. The debate illustrates how difficult it is to address the state’s affordable housing crisis. “It took a long time for us to get into this hole, and it’s going to take a long time to get out,” Manville said. “It’s going to take some time to see so much construction that rents are going to fall.”

Wasserman Cautions Against Overinvesting in Rail

Jacob Wasserman, research project manager at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, spoke to the Los Angeles Business Journal about the explosion of rail construction projects in Los Angeles. Four major rail projects are currently under construction in L.A. County, with several more projects in the pipeline. “For the modern era, this is a huge investment in rail transportation on the scale rarely seen in recent memory,” Wasserman said. However, rail transit ridership has been steadily declining in L.A. County, a trend that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Wasserman cautioned against overly investing in rail. “Remember, the vast majority of people taking transit in L.A. County take the bus, so the rail system has drawn a disproportionate amount of funding and resources,” he said. “Rail should be reserved for those instances where the congestion and density are high enough that there’s a demonstrable time savings over other modes of travel.”


Single-Family Zoning Causes Harm, Manville Says

Associate Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville joined Detroit Today to discuss the effect of single-family zoning laws on wealth, access and opportunity. In most cities, the majority of residential land is zoned for single-family housing. By preventing non-single-family homes from being constructed in certain areas, Manville noted that single-family zoning hinders access to wealth for new, younger homebuyers, reinforces segregation and exacerbates issues of housing affordability. “My objection has nothing to do with single-family homes themselves,” Manville explained. “It’s the idea that you can have a law saying that nothing else can be built.” In metropolitan areas undergoing growth, single-family zoning drives up the minimum purchase price to be a part of the community, and this barrier has adverse consequences that fall disproportionately on low-income people and people of color. “Regardless of motivation, keeping these barriers in place causes harm, and we would do some good to remove them,” Manville concluded.


Pierce on Municipal Approaches to Heat

Gregory Pierce, co-director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, co-authored an article in Planetizen discussing different cities’ approaches to addressing extreme heat. “People of color and those with lower incomes are disproportionately exposed to heat, and the largest health risks fall on seniors, young children and those with chronic conditions,” Pierce wrote. Climate change has led to an increase in heat-related deaths and hospitalizations. In a recent paper published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Pierce and his co-authors analyzed surveys by California’s Office of Planning and Research to determine what factors influence whether municipalities actively plan for extreme heat and what kinds of heat-related planning and policy innovations they have adopted. The authors recommended making social equity a top priority in heat adaptation planning. They called for engaging with local communities and directing investments where they are needed most to eliminate thermal inequity.

Read the article Read the full paper

Goh Rethinks Emergency Preparedness

In an interview with Curbed, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning Kian Goh offered her input on developing climate adaptation plans to address increasingly frequent flooding in New York City. Nine years ago, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in the city, killing 44 people, destroying 70,000 homes and causing $19 billion in damage. New York City has had three major cloudburst-flooding events over the past two months, reigniting conversations about how to best prepare for inevitable future storms and flooding events. “It’s not a matter of resources, it’s a matter of planning,” Goh said. She highlighted the need to identify and address infrastructural inadequacies and rethink emergency preparedness. For example, the Dutch city Rotterdam has built “water squares” that serve as recreational spaces between buildings but can also be a place for stormwater during flooding events. “It’s about convincing engineers and maintenance crews and city budget officials that there’s a different way to do things,” Goh said.


Koslov on Social Causes of Climate Vulnerability

Assistant Professor of Urban Planning Liz Koslov was featured in The City discussing a proposed voluntary buyout program for flood-prone houses in New York City. After Hurricane Sandy, many homeowners sold their properties back to the state through the Oakwood Beach buyout program. That successful effort was community-led and the housing stock was mostly single-family homes, Koslov said. Going forward, “a lot of the homes in the places that we now see are most at risk are also the most affordable,” she noted. Koslov pointed to social causes of climate vulnerability, including redlining and disinvestment, that cause people to live in those risky places in the first place. “If you’re just trying to un-build places that seem to be the most at risk, but you’re not addressing the underlying causes of that risk, which go far beyond climate change, it’s never going to satisfactorily or equitably reduce the risk that exists,” she said.


Manville Explains Equity of Congestion Pricing

Associate Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville spoke to the Washington Post to help debunk myths about highways and traffic. While some cities have widened their highways in an attempt to decrease traffic, “the iron law of congestion” explains the phenomenon in which widening highways results in a proportional increase in cars on the road. Some economists and urban planning experts, including Manville, have proposed congestion pricing as a solution to traffic congestion by making drivers pay for the space they take up on the highway. Some opponents of congestion pricing have argued that the policy would hurt the poor, but Manville responded, “Free roads are not a good way to help poor people.” Manville explained that affluent people drive more regardless of whether or not congestion pricing exists, so the best way to help low-income residents is actually by improving infrastructure and public transit, which can be funded through congestion pricing revenue.


Senior Fellows Leadership Program Launches 25th Year

The Senior Fellows Leadership Program at UCLA Luskin kicked off its 25th year with a welcome breakfast that brought graduate students together with their new mentors — all leaders in the public, private and nonprofit arenas. The Oct. 21 gathering featured remarks from Ken Bernstein, principal city planner for the city of Los Angeles, and public policy student Steven King, who also participated in the Senior Fellows program last year. Bernstein, a national advocate for historic preservation, spoke of the region’s rich architectural resources, highlighted in his new book “Preserving Los Angeles: How Historic Places Can Transform America’s Cities.” Each attendee at the breakfast received a copy, and Bernstein encouraged both students and Senior Fellows to seek out unexplored corners of Los Angeles to understand that it is more than “just a bunch of bright lights and undifferentiated sprawl.” “Historical preservation has been a driving engine for change in Los Angeles, whether you are working in public policy or planning or social welfare,” Bernstein said. “There’s so much rich work that’s happening at the grassroots level, at the local level, and there are few places more interesting than Los Angeles in terms of really making a difference.” King described last year’s rewarding experience with a mentor who was willing to answer any question, discuss current legislation, provide access to meetings between policymakers and advocates, and offer advice about choosing classes and pursuing internships. He said the Senior Fellows program is helping him to “gain valuable lifelong skills to help me become a successful advocate and leader in the world.”

View photos from the event

Senior Fellows Breakfast 2021

Storper on the Evolution of Cities After COVID-19

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block shared Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning Michael Storper’s research on the evolution of cities at the Milken Institute’s recent Global Conference, which convened thousands of leaders from government, health care, finance, technology, philanthropy, media and higher education to tackle urgent global economic and social issues. Building on the conference’s theme of “Charting a New Course,” Block joined several discussions with the aim of sharing lessons learned from recent social movements and the global pandemic to reimagine a more prosperous future for all. “Cities keep growing and they keep thriving, but they’re changing. We’re seeing from the pandemic something that we refer to as ‘social scarring,’ or deep psychological impact that’s not going away quickly,” Block said, pointing to Storper’s research. “It’s changing people’s behavior and how they feel about density.” The 24th edition of the Global Conference was held in Beverly Hills from Oct. 17-20.

Events

Critical Planning Journal: Call for Submissions

What does planning for just futures look like? Or, put another way, can planning be saved?  Such questions ask us to think both within the field of planning and beyond it, to undo planning and recreate it.

Critical Planning, the graduate-student-run journal of UCLA Urban Planning, invites submission for Volume 26: Just Futures. The editors invite pieces that elucidate and elevate practices of and toward just futures. We are interested in submissions that interrogate the boundaries or limits of planning, whether as a profession, as a field of scholarship, or as an insurgent practice for realizing more just futures. To that end we encourage submissions from multiple disciplines and practices including but not limited to urban planning, history, art, architecture, ethnic studies, gender studies, geography, sociology, or anthropology. We welcome both traditional academic formats as well as multimedia, multisensory submissions.

EXTENDED DEADLINE for submissions: Jan 15, 2022
Anticipated publication date: Fall of 2022.

Click here for more information

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

 

REGISTER 

Urban Planning Admissions Webinar

Come learn more about the Urban Planning MURP and PhD programs and how to navigate their respective application processes.

Learn more about:
• The field of Urban Planning
• MURP curriculum
• Areas of concentration
• Internships & Career Services
• International study opportunities
• Capstone projects
• Concurrent degrees
• Certificate programs
• Alumni/job placement

Register here

Social Welfare and Urban Planning PhD Professional Development Series Part 3

Doctoral students are encouraged to attend this professional development series (presented by the departments of Social Welfare and Urban Planning). These three virtual workshops will provide tools to navigate the academic world, answer questions about doctoral expectations, and introduce pedagogical methods. RSVP links below.

Session 1: The Academic Job Market & Navigating the Academy 

Session 2: Funding PhD Research

Session 3: Teaching Strategies 

Black, Indigenous, and POC Urban Planning Student and Alumni Panels

Come meet some of our BIPOC students and alumni as they talk about their experiences during and after the UCLA Luskin MURP Program!

We will be dividing up the event into two sessions:

Alumni Panel – 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Student Panel – 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Participants are welcome to attend either or both sessions. We look forward to seeing you there!

Register here. Zoom links will be sent out prior to the event.

Lead in partnership with the Planners of Color for Social Equity (PCSE) and Black Planners Network (BPN)

Urban Planning Open House

Come get to know us as you navigate the application process at a virtual open house. Learn about the application process, sit in on classes, and meet faculty and current students. Informational sessions for both the MURP and PhD Program will occur as well.

The final schedule is still being worked out and will be emailed out closer to the event. Below is a tentative outline:

MURP PROGRAM
10:00am | Department Welcome
11:00am | AOC Session 1
11:55am | AOC Session 2
2:00pm | Student Panel
3:00pm | Q&A with Director of Admissions
4:00pm | ITS Transportation Prospective Student Panel

Course recordings will be made available at the start of the program to be watched whenever you would like.

PHD PROGRAM
10:00am | Department Welcome
11:00am | AOC Session 1
11:55am | AOC Session 2
1:00pm | Drop-in chat with Director of Admissions
2:00pm | PhD Student Panel
4:00pm | ITS Transportation Prospective Student Panel

Course recordings will be made available at the start of the program to be watched whenever you would like.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED
Please click here to get your free ticket

Social Welfare and Urban Planning PhD Professional Development Series

Doctoral students are encouraged to attend this professional development series (presented by the departments of Social Welfare and Urban Planning). These three virtual workshops will provide tools to navigate the academic world, answer questions about doctoral expectations, and introduce pedagogical methods. RSVP links below.

Session 1: The Academic Job Market & Navigating the Academy 

Session 2: Funding PhD Research

Session 3: Teaching Strategies 

Urban Planning Statement of Purpose Workshop

The Statement of Purpose is the most important, and often the most daunting, part of any graduate application. Come join the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA Luskin as we go over useful tips and tricks for crafting the perfect statement. We will also workshop sample statements and see what made the best succeed and the worst flop.

 

Register here!

Urban Planning Statement of Purpose Workshop

The Statement of Purpose is the most important, and often the most daunting, part of any graduate application. Come join the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA Luskin as we go over useful tips and tricks for crafting the perfect statement. We will also workshop sample statements and see what made the best succeed and the worst flop.

 

Register here!