Associate Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville spoke to Courthouse News about the Oakland A’s stadium proposal for the Port of Oakland. At a public hearing, the proposed $12 billion ballpark project at California’s third largest port in Oakland sparked significant controversy. Many industry workers are concerned about losing the Port’s Howard Terminal to a huge development, and the proposal has already prompted three lawsuits in opposition. According to Manville, such large projects are “magnets for controversy” which can deter developers who have to fend off lawsuits. He explained that many urban planners advise against using valuable land for stadiums. “If the value comes from building housing and commercial, then just build housing and commercial,” Manville said. “Oakland has a lot of needs. Certainly there’s many things they could put that money into that could be a better use of those funds.”
Associate Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville was featured in an Orange County Register article about a recent study on the relationship among affordable housing, property value and crime. Research by the Livable Cities Lab at UC Irvine examined the impact of affordable developments in Orange County and found that affordable housing did not increase crime or drag down housing values. In many cases, there was a positive impact on property values after affordable housing was built. Manville explained that affordable housing is highly regulated and “we put it in places where lower-income people are already likely to live.” He said that while the addition of affordable housing can bring down property values in affluent, exclusive areas, it is rarely allowed to do so. But he added, “The purpose of public policy is not to keep your home value high.”
UCLA Luskin celebrated its Class of 2022 with two commencement ceremonies on June 10, one for public policy, social welfare and urban planning scholars earning advanced degrees and a second honoring students awarded the bachelor’s in public affairs.
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke to undergraduates on the patio of UCLA’s Kerckhoff Hall, and actor and social justice activist George Takei addressed students earning master’s and Ph.D. degrees in UCLA’s Royce Hall.
Each of the speakers issued a call to action to graduates who are entering a troubled world. They shared a message of empowerment, encouraging students to look within themselves, identify their unique gifts and use them to make a difference.
“Recognize who you are, what your strengths are, because our nation needs you, you, you, you,” Pelosi said, pointing to individual graduates.
Takei, too, called on his audience to tap into the primal urges that move them to action.
“Let us seek out our own human essence,” he said. ‘You are all infinite in diversity, working together in infinite combinations. And yet you are one, all aligned to contribute to making this a better society.”
The speakers were introduced by UCLA Luskin Dean Gary Segura, who had his own charge to the Class of 2022.
“We are in a critical moment in the history of this nation and of this society,” Segura said. “We’re deciding who we are as a people, what values matter to us as Americans, what is our role in human history. …
“So beyond merely congratulating you, I want to thank you, perhaps prematurely, for all that we expect you to do with what you have learned.”
Segura acknowledged that the graduates’ time at UCLA was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, a theme echoed in speeches from students selected to represent their programs: Anahi Cruz of Public Policy, Vanessa Rochelle Warri of Social Welfare, Paola Tirado Escareño of Urban Planning and Samantha Danielle Schwartz of the undergraduate Public Affairs program.
Following each ceremony, graduates and guests gathered at outdoor receptions to take photos and offer congratulations before entering the ranks of UCLA Luskin alumni.
The two Class of 2022 commencement speakers are known for blazing trails in their fields.
Pelosi, a member of Congress for more than three decades, made history in 2007 as the first woman elected to serve as speaker of the House. She has championed legislation that has helped to lower health care costs, increase workers’ pay and promote the nation’s economic growth. In 2013, Pelosi was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Seneca Falls, New York, the birthplace of the American women’s rights movement.
Takei is best known for his role as Lt. Hikaru Sulu in “Star Trek,” the groundbreaking sci-fi series that featured a multiethnic cast and a plot centered on peace among all peoples. He is also a bestselling author with an immense social media following, which he has used as platform to advocate for the LGBTQ and Asian American communities and educate his audience about U.S. internment camps for Japanese Americans, where he and his family were held during World War II.
Both speakers described the tumultuous era awaiting the Class of 2022, one of political division, racial hatred, gun violence, housing injustice, a climate emergency and a battle to defend democracy at home and abroad.
“When people ask me, ‘What gives you hope for the future?’ I always say the same thing: young people,” Pelosi said.
Since the nation’s founding, “It has been young people who have refused to remain silent, led the civil rights movement, taking to the streets, casting ballots, making change happen. …
“So right now, you and your peers, you’ve seized the torch in so many ways, marching for our lives, your lives, sounding the alarm on climate, demanding justice, justice, justice for all.”
Pelosi had a special message for the women in the audience: “I want you to know your power. … And I want you to be ready.
“You don’t know what’s around the next corner, and that applies to all of you but especially to the women. Because nothing is more wholesome to the politics and the government and any other subject you can name than the increased participation of women.”
To those considering entering public office, she advised. “You have to be able to take a punch, and you have to be able to throw a punch. For the children, always for the children.”
Takei called on the graduates to use 21st Century tools to “create a new version of our future.
“You today live in an incredibly complicated universe, empowered by technology that can extend to the outer reaches of space as well as penetrate down to the very core of this planet,” he said. “Perhaps, just perhaps, might we have developed an overabundance of tools and know-how?”
He recalled the unexpected silver lining of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic: the blue sky, crystal-clear air and restoration of nature as cars, trucks, trains and planes were stilled.
“Our planet was new again. And this was not virtual, it was breathtakingly real,” Takei said.
“Can we reprioritize our goals to reclaim our planet? We look to you, the high-tech generation, the urban planners, the policymakers, those who work to better the welfare of our society, to seize this moment.”
A double Bruin who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UCLA in the 1960s, Takei reminded his audience of the long line of dignitaries from science, politics and the arts who had taken the Royce Hall stage: Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Ralph Bunche, Marian Anderson, George Gershwin and many more.
“All these notables made history,” Takei said. “They transformed their times. They confronted the world they found and made it better with their brilliance, their vision, their talent and their humanity. …
“You, the graduating class of 2022 of the Luskin School of Public Affairs, are the heirs to their legacy. Take their accomplishments as your inspiration.”
View a video of the UCLA Luskin undergraduate commencement ceremony featuring House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
View pictures from the UCLA Luskin undergraduate commencement celebration.
View pictures from the UCLA Luskin graduate commencement celebration.
Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, was mentioned in a New York Times opinion piece about the hidden consequences of parking requirements. In his book “The High Cost of Free Parking,” Shoup explained that rules that require developers to include a minimum number of parking spaces increase real estate costs. Furthermore, building more parking lots creates more urban sprawl, making cities less walkable and more car-dependent. Parking lots also exacerbate the effects of global warming by creating urban heat islands that absorb and reflect heat. Shoup has also noted that parking requirements worsen inequality by forcing people who can’t afford to drive a car to still pay for parking infrastructure. “People who are too poor to own a car pay more for their groceries to ensure that richer people can park free when they drive to the store,” Shoup wrote. Now, California is considering legislation that would eliminate or reform minimum parking regulations.
Assistant Professor of Public Policy R. Jisung Park was featured in a Marketplace report about the impact of air conditioning on student performance. Park has conducted several studies investigating how heat affects student performance in the classroom, and his research shows that students learn less overall when they experience more hot days. “It’s a slow, hidden burn,” Park explained. “These little disruptions to learning, maybe we don’t notice them on a day-to-day basis, but over time they appear to add up to something meaningful.” Many of America’s school buildings do not have air conditioning, and some have no cooling at all. “The Goldilocks zone seems to be somewhere in the mid-60s” to achieve optimal learning outcomes, Park said. Now, many public schools are choosing to use some of their federal COVID relief funds to upgrade air conditioning, which improves air quality and should also improve student academic and health outcomes.
Associate Professor of Urban Planning Kian Goh spoke to Architectural Record about addressing social inequities in the work of climate justice. “Almost anywhere we look, the places architects practice have histories of injustice,” Goh said. “A core part of our practice is to be accountable to the fact that these are not neutral places.” She explained that built-environment professionals need to be more attuned to injustices within their own ranks, as well as to the embodied struggles that have given rise to the climate-justice movement. “So how do we not talk over or otherwise speak for these front-line vulnerable communities?” Goh asked. “And what practices can we embrace that take their claims for justice seriously, at the same time as we need to do big projects fast?” Goh hopes that urban planners will be able to use their expertise to contribute to and advance these movements for climate justice.
Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, spoke with NBC4 News about Los Angeles’ backlog of 50,000 complaints about broken sidewalks. An audit last year found that the city pays about $7 million a year to settle injury claims related to sidewalks in disrepair. “In L.A., the sidewalks are a disgrace,” Shoup said. “We could use them as an obstacle course for the 2028 Olympics.” California cities including Pasadena and Oakland have passed “point of sale” ordinances that require homeowners to fix damaged sidewalks in front of their properties when they sell their homes, Shoup said. “People ought to pay for sidewalk repairs when it’s convenient for them and when they have the cash available. And that is at the time of sale.” He added, however, that the sidewalks are currently so dangerous that the city must look for a quicker fix.
It was a celebration 50 years in the making, plus a few for good measure.
UCLA Urban Planning, launched in 1969, marked its golden anniversary this spring with a series of events aimed at showcasing the program’s activist ethos and focus on equity.
As a finale, alumni from across the decades joined students, faculty, staff and friends at a May 14 commemoration, “50 Years of Scholarship to Solutions.”
Dolores Hayden, professor emerita at Yale University and noted scholar of the history of the American urban landscape, delivered a keynote address to the Urban Planning community. Panels of faculty, doctoral students and alumni, moderated by Cecilia Estolano MA UP ’91, explored UCLA Luskin’s latest research.
The crowd then moved to UCLA’s Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden to enjoy music, food and drink, and reminisce about the last half-century of making a difference in Los Angeles and cities around the world.
Since March, the 50th anniversary celebration has hosted thought leaders on planning, policy and environmental justice.
They included L.A. City Council member Nithya Raman, an urban planner by training, who came to UCLA to speak about the need for creative solutions of all types to make headway against the crisis of homelessness.
Environmental advocate Elizabeth Yeampierre shared stories about the power of front-line communities working for climate justice.
And Robert Bullard, known as the father of environmental justice, spoke of the undercurrent of racial discrimination beneath the growing climate crisis.
Several other speakers appeared as part of the Harvey S. Perloff Environmental Thinkers Series.
The weekslong commemoration also included an afternoon marking the legacy of Martin Wachs, scholar, mentor and key influencer of transportation policy and planning. Wachs, who died in 2021, held top research and leadership posts at UCLA and UC Berkeley for over five decades.
On May 13, students, colleagues and friends gathered to remember his impact and watch as Wachs’ wife, Helen, accepted two prestigious honors on his behalf: the Planning Pioneer award and the Planner Emeritus Network Honor award from the California chapter of the American Planning Association.
From its beginnings as part of UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, the program has evolved and expanded. In the 1990s, it joined what is now the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and continued to build a reputation of interdisciplinary, action-oriented scholarship.
Ranking among the top planning programs in the nation, UCLA Luskin Urban Planning offers master’s and doctoral degrees in urban and regional planning, as well as several dual-degree programs, including a new partnership with European research university Sciences Po in Paris.
Read more about 50 years of urban planning at UCLA.
View photos from the Urban Planning at 50 celebration.
View photos from the gathering recognizing the legacy of Martin Wachs.
By Manon Snyder
The UCLA Alumni Association will pay tribute to policymakers, activists and other leaders for their lifelong dedication to bringing Bruin values into the world.
Of the seven 2022 UCLA Award honorees who will be recognized at a May 21 ceremony at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center, three have ties to the Luskin School of Public Affairs:
Debra Duardo — UCLA Award for Public Service
Duardo is a triple Bruin who earned her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and Chicana/o studies in 1994, her master’s in social work in 1996 and a doctorate in 2013 from what was then called the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. In 2013, she was named UCLA Luskin’s Joseph A. Nunn Social Welfare Alumnus of the Year.
After having to drop out of high school to work full time and postponing higher education until her late 20s, Duardo has dedicated her career to ensuring a safe environment for underrepresented students. Duardo worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District for 20 years and in 2016 was appointed Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools by the county board of supervisors, where she continues to pursue equity for 2 million students.
Sheila Kuehl — Edward A. Dickinson Alum of the Year
Kuehl earned her bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA in 1962. She is a former University of California Regents’ Professor in public policy at UCLA Luskin, where she received the Ruth Roemer Social Justice Leadership Award for her work in homelessness.
Kuehl has been a lifelong trailblazer for women’s rights and queer representation in politics. In 1994, Kuehl was the first openly gay or lesbian person elected to the California Legislature, and throughout her many tenures in public office, she has passed important bills advancing the rights of disenfranchised communities in Los Angeles County and California as a whole. She will retire from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this year. Kuehl has been previously honored by UCLA in 1993 with the UCLA Award for Community Service and in 2000 with the UCLA Award for Public Service.
Kuehl attended UCLA at the same time as she was filming “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” playing the character of Zelda Gilroy. Upon graduation from UCLA, she became an associate dean of students. In addition to her position as a Regents’ Professor at UCLA Luskin, Kuehl taught law at UCLA, USC and Loyola Law School.
Kristen Torres Pawling — Young Alumnus of the Year
Pawling completed her bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies from UCLA in 2009 and her master’s in urban and regional planning in 2012. She served as an executive fellow in the office of the chair on California climate change policy in Sacramento, where she also joined the Sacramento Alumni Network and helped grow its young alumni program. Pawling brought her expertise to the climate crisis as an air pollution specialist for the California Air Resources Board Transportation Planning Branch and helped the Natural Resources Defense Council’s urban solutions department implement its strategic plan in Los Angeles. She is currently the sustainability program director for Los Angeles County.
Other 2022 UCLA Award honorees are:
UCLA Alumni Band — Network of the Year
Monica Ebeltoft — Volunteer of the Year
Alberto Retana — UCLA Award for Community Service
A. Wallace Tashima — UCLA Award for Professional Achievement
Read more about all of the 2022 UCLA Award Recipients.
By Mary Braswell
In the fight for real climate justice, the smartest strategy is also the simplest: Listen to the people on the front lines.
That was the core message of attorney, environmental advocate and community organizer Elizabeth Yeampierre during a May 3 online dialogue with a UCLA audience.
“The path to climate justice is local,” said Yeampierre, executive director of the New York nonprofit UPROSE and co-chair of the national Climate Justice Alliance. “We don’t need people to helicopter in and determine what’s in our best interest. We know. And we’re really sophisticated at getting this done.”
Communities around the country that stand to bear the brunt of climate change are forging vast coalitions and getting results, she said.
“We’re organizing, base-building, getting policy implemented and putting down infrastructure. … Big stuff that people think is not even possible is happening,” she said.
Yeampierre spoke about the trajectory of UPROSE, which came together in 1966 as a grassroots effort led by the Puerto Rican community of Brooklyn’s industrial Sunset Park. Now, she says, the nonprofit mobilizes residents of all races and every generation who are working to secure their own futures by restoring balance to the planet.
“It means returning the sacred to the mother,” she said, describing a distinctly spiritual and matriarchal dimension of climate adaptation. “Land, air, water, animals, plants, ideas and ways of doing things and living are purposefully returned to their original purpose.”
The movement is powered by young people of color motivated not by a “woke moment,” she said, but because “it was a matter of survival for them to organize.
“Climate change is like nothing we’ve ever experienced. We need to approach this with deep humility, and hold on to each other, share information and build from the bottom up.”
That has not been the approach of government officials, corporations and even the Big Green environmental organizations that use a top-down approach to drive the climate agenda, Yeampierre said.
“It’s easy for people to put a green patina on something … to satisfy their liberal guilt,” she said. “But you don’t get to speak for our communities. How dare you? …
“When you compromise justice, you’re literally compromising our lives. You’re basically saying how many of us can live, how many of us can get sick, and how many of us will die. And I don’t think that the privileged have a right to do that.”
Yeampierre’s UCLA talk was part of the University of California Regents’ Lecturer program and the Harvey S. Perloff Environmental Thinkers Series. The lecture was part of a weekslong commemoration of UCLA Luskin Urban Planning’s 50th anniversary, including appearances by several thought leaders on sustainability. Upcoming speakers include Robert Bullard of Texas Southern University, often described as the father of environmental justice, and Dolores Hayden of Yale University, a scholar of the American urban landscape.
Urban Planning faculty member Kian Goh, who researches social movements and climate change in cities around the world, moderated the conversation with Yeampierre. Goh is associate faculty director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, which co-sponsored Yeampierre’s lecture.
During the talk, Yeampierre stressed that the United States is at a crossroads as civil rights enshrined for half a century are under attack.
“Whether it’s our voting rights, our reproductive rights, or even our ability to save ourselves from the impact of extreme weather events … we’re here this evening because we know we’re in a moment of deep reckoning, and that the lives of our people are at stake.”
Watch the lecture on Vimeo.