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Michael Storper Receives International Geography Prize The prestigious Vautrin Lud Award honors a scholar whose contributions are globally recognized

By Stan Paul

Michael Storper, distinguished professor of regional and international development in urban planning and director of Global Public Affairs at UCLA Luskin, was selected by an international jury to receive the prestigious 2022 Vautrin Lud International Award for Geography.

Storper traveled to Saint-Dié-des-Vosges in northeastern France to accept the award at an Oct. 2 ceremony, part of the annual three-day International Festival of Geography founded in 1990.

The Vautrin Lud Award is typically given to a person who has made outstanding contributions to the field of geography and has achieved a wide international reputation as an outstanding scholar.

“It is always an honor to be elected by one’s peers around the world,” said Storper, who joins a select group of UCLA Luskin faculty who have earned the accolade. The late Edward Soja received the honor in 2015 and emeritus professor Allen J. Scott won in 2003.

“Michael Storper’s contributions have been transformative and, in the spirit of urban planning, provide practical guidance on developing metropolitan regions around the globe,” said Chris Tilly, professor and chair of Urban Planning at UCLA Luskin.

Storper, who received his Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Berkeley, and who has been affiliated with UCLA for four decades, is an international scholar who focuses his research and teaching on the closely linked areas of economic geography, globalization, technology, city regions and economic development.

He holds concurrent appointments in Europe, at the Institute of Political Studies (“Sciences Po”) in Paris, where he is professor of economic sociology and a member of its Center for the Sociology of Organizations; and at the London School of Economics, where he is professor of economic geography.

The Vautrin Lud Prize, created in 1991, rewards the work and research of a single distinguished geographer, identified after consultation with hundreds of researchers around the world. The prize, sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize in Geography,” is considered the highest international award in the field.

The annual award is named after the French scholar who was instrumental in naming America for the Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci, whose account of landing on the North American continent found its way to the group of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges scholars directed by Lud. In 1507, the group used Vespucci’s accounts to publish one of the earliest geographical treatises regarding the New World.

The honor adds to awards Storper has received for his decades of work and research.

The American Association of Geographers awarded Storper its Distinguished Scholarship Honors for 2017, and he received the 2016 Gold Founder’s Medal from the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

Storper, co-author of the 2015 book, “The Rise and Decline of Urban Economies: Lessons from Los Angeles and San Francisco,” was previously named to the Thomson Reuters list of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2014. In 2012, he was elected to the British Academy and received the Regional Studies Association’s award for overall achievement as well as the Sir Peter Hall Award in the House of Commons. He also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Electric Cars Only Part of the Solution, Millard-Ball Says

LAist spoke with Urban Planning Professor Adam Millard-Ball for a report on the history and future of the electric car. California’s plan to end the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035 is expected to spur electric vehicle sales across the nation. “We’re not going to be able to resolve the climate crisis without electric vehicles,” Millard-Ball said. “And that’s mainly because transportation is such a big part of the climate problem.” The move toward emission-free cars is part of progression of automotive technology dating to the Clean Air Act of 1970, but it’s only part of the solution, Millard-Ball said. In addition to making individual vehicles more climate friendly, he called for “getting more people walking and biking and better buses, … a transit system that is a real competitor to the private car.”


 

Manville on L.A.’s Reluctance to Crack Down on Reckless Driving

A Los Angeles Times column on rising anger over speeding, stunt driving and street racing in L.A. cited Michael Manville, associate professor of urban planning. In the wake of a high-speed crash in South Los Angeles that killed five people, residents from across the city are weighing in with stories of unchecked reckless driving in their neighborhoods. In mid-city Los Angeles, residents’ pleas for street safety improvements that would protect pedestrians, cyclists and motorists have gone unanswered, Manville said. On Melrose Avenue, “almost every weekend, we have burnouts and stunt bikers and all sorts of people driving dangerously,” he said. “We should enforce speed limits, but the best speed limit is a road that doesn’t let you speed. But our city engineers and City Council members for some reason think we need to have highways running through our neighborhoods.”


 

Crenshaw Project Stresses Community Voice

Urban Planning chair Chris Tilly and three graduate students appeared on the radio program “Everything Co-Op” to share their experiences working with residents of Los Angeles’ Crenshaw District on a community development strategy. As part of the UCLA Urban Planning Community Collaborative, the master’s students partnered with Crenshaw residents to research and report on their top priorities. “Their No. 1 concern was increasing community control and Black self-determination, Black sovereignty, over a predominantly Black community,” Tilly said. In a conversation that touched on gentrification, environmental equity, food and housing insecurity, and the creation of high-quality jobs, Tilly and students Eliza Jane Franklin, Geoff Gusoff and Ernest Johnson stressed the importance of letting community members lead. During the collaboration, the students learned about cooperatives, affordable housing, community land trusts and other resources, Tilly said, but “the most important thing that students should be learning in this kind of project is how to work with people in the community.”


 

New Book Makes Case Against Zoning

M. Nolan Gray, a doctoral student in urban planning at UCLA Luskin, argues in a newly published book that America’s century-old land use planning practice of zoning needs to go. Since the first zoning codes appeared in 1916 and were given U.S. Supreme Court sanction in 1926, Gray writes, “The arbitrary lines on zoning maps across the country have come to dictate where Americans may live and work, forcing cities into a pattern of growth that is segregated and sprawling.” In “Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It” (Island Press, 2022), Gray provides an overview of the history of zoning. He offers critiques of zoning’s role in four areas: increasing housing costs, restricting growth in America’s most productive cities, institutionalizing racial and economic segregation, and mandating sprawl. Gray, a professional city planner who has worked on zoning policy in New York, ties “Arbitrary Lines” together by detailing current efforts to reform zoning, presenting a case to abolish zoning and showing how a post-zoning United States might work in practice. Gray serves as research director for California YIMBY and has contributed articles to publications that include Bloomberg City Lab, the Atlantic and Forbes. In his introduction to the book, Gray writes that it is meant to be fundamentally constructive, and “… beyond merely arguing against the arbitrary lines that hold us back, this book is a reminder that a more affordable, prosperous, equitable and sustainable America is possible.”

Listen to Gray on a recent episode of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies podcast “UCLA Housing Voice,” where he talks about minimum lot size reform and affordability.

Manville Responds to Oakland A’s Stadium Proposal

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.”


Manville on Affordable Housing’s Impact on Property Values

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.”


Nancy Pelosi and George Takei Deliver Calls to Action to Class of 2022 The House speaker and the actor-activist appear at UCLA Luskin's dual commencement ceremonies

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.

 

Shoup on the Wisdom of Eliminating Parking Requirements

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.


Classrooms Need Cooling, Park Says

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.


Events

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!

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

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

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

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

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