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Lewis Center & SCAG Launch Regional Data Analysis & Visualization Application

Southern California is in a perpetual state of change.  In recent years, regional planners have sought to focus growth near existing jobs and transit, in areas where people drive less for commutes and have more transportation options.  

REVISION is a new web application dedicated to understanding community change in Southern California.  With a range of metrics related to accessibility, livability, employment, and health, REVISION helps both professional planners and stakeholders without a technical background monitor the progress of the region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy, a plan to improve environmental sustainability, social equity, and public health.  Users can use the site to answer hundreds of questions about regional and neighborhood change, including:

Are more people near Metrolink stations using public transit to get to work versus 5 years ago?Where are there redevelopment opportunities in walkable areas near jobs and high quality transit?In which areas is poverty increasing?Which areas are well served by transit and have access to open space and healthy foods? REVISION’s property report brings together data and visualizations from multiple sources to help users understand a neighborhood or property.

The UCLA Lewis Center and the Southern California Association of Governments worked together to launch the REVISION application with funding from California’s Strategic Growth Council.  The Lewis Center aggregated data from various public and private sources to create complete picture of neighborhood change.  Four integrated tools comprise the application:

Users can visualize differences between neighborhoods using the Map Tool.  The Trends Tool helps users identify statistically significant change over time.  The Area Report presents location-specific details from multiple sources: the just-released 2014 American Community Survey, CalEnviroScreen, planning data, Zillow real estate values, and Walkscore.com.The Property Report […]

By |January 8th, 2016|

Climate Change Initiative Director Juan Matute Interviewed By UCLA Today

Juan Matute, Director of the UCLA Climate Change Initiative was recently interviewed by UCLA Today. Click here to read more about climate change, transportation, and what we can do about it.

Juan Matute is the director of the UCLA Local Climate Change Initiative at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. He studies how to transform notoriously car-dependent cities like Los Angeles into cleaner, greener, but still useable public-transit hubs.

By |October 10th, 2013|

CicLAvia Associated with Increased Sales to Local Businesses

LOS ANGELES, October 1, 2012 — Businesses along the June 2013 CicLAvia route experienced a 10 percent bump in sales on the day of the event, a new study from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has found.

The increase was greater among those businesses that engaged with CicLAvia participants such as with a vending table or music. “Active participant” businesses saw their sales increase 57 percent according to the study, with sales revenue increases of $1,356 on average compared to $407 on average for all businesses.

With the eighth iteration of L.A.’s day of car-free streets approaching on October 6, the data gives business owners, residents and CicLAvia participants tips on how to make the most of the unique interactions that happen during the event.

Approximately 150,000 people on foot, bikes and skates experienced iconic Wilshire Boulevard as part of the CicLAvia event on June 23, 2013. Researchers at UCLA Luskin’s Complete Streets Initiative and the Luskin Center for Innovation surveyed a representative sample of brick-and-mortar businesses along the route, comparing sales revenue and foot traffic on CicLAvia Sunday and a Sunday earlier that month.

The researchers found revenues increased by an average of $407 per business—$3,122 in sales on CicLAvia Sunday, as compared with $2,715 on a typical Sunday. When extrapolated along the entire route, this translates into a total sales revenue increase of $52,444 across the 128 establishments that were open during CicLAvia on Sundays in June.

“These numbers demonstrate positive gains for local businesses, but they underestimate the event’s overall economic impact,” said J.R. DeShazo, director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and principal investigator of the study.

The reasons for the undercount include:

Food Trucks and Other […]

By |October 1st, 2013|

Juan Matute Addresses California Assembly Committee on Community and Neighborhood Development

Manager of the Local Climate Change Initiative Juan Matute addressed California State Assembly Members about options to finance public improvements.  Matute recently wrote a policy brief on the evolution of policy options used to fund or finance local infrastructure improvements in California.    A key finding was that though financing needs for infill settings in established communities were more complicated, fewer practical financing options existed in these areas.

On Wednesday, August 28th, the California Assembly’s Select Committee on Community and Neighborhood Development held a hearing to explore challenges to funding and financing infrastructure improvements in established communities, especially in light of the dissolution of redevelopment in California two years ago.  Matute and UCLA Urban Planning alumnus and City of San Diego Planning Director Bill Fulton gave official testimony about the challenges to infrastructure finance in established communities, where many statewide funding mechanisms are less applicable or more difficult to use.

At the hearing, the Assembly Members and witnesses discussed options to institute a more limited form of tax increment financing applicable to infill areas and high quality transit areas, a topic currently under consideration in Senate President Darrell Steinberg’s SB 1.

By |August 29th, 2013|

Study: Downtown L.A. Parklets Improve Community, Quality of Life

In February 2013, City of Los Angeles unveiled its first pair of parklets. Six months forward, UCLA Luskin and affiliated researchers have found the parklets bring an improved quality of life to residents and visitors along the Spring Street corridor.

In an evaluation (PDF) completed as a part of the “Reclaiming the Right of Way” project, researchers at UCLA Luskin’s Complete Streets Initiative and the research collaborative Parklet Studies monitored various elements one would find in a thriving urban street setting — including pedestrian and bike traffic, use of public space, and patronage of local businesses — to gauge how the neighborhood has changed since the parklets were installed.

Parklets are small public spaces created in urban areas from the conversion of parking spots, alleyways and other underutilized spaces for cars into places for people. Los Angeles joins New York, San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C., in the ranks of cities that have encouraged parklets as innovative solutions to increase access to open space and provide residents opportunities for recreation in their neighborhoods.

Two of the four Los Angeles pilot parklet installations, which are located at the ends of a block of Spring Street in Downtown’s Historic Core, offer local residents a place to sit and relax in the busy city center. The northern installation includes a large, tall table; stools and swing chairs for sitting; and two stationary bicycles for active recreation. The southern unit features design elements that evoke a park and playground, two more stationary bicycles, and a foosball table. Visitors to Spring Street and the cafes adjacent to each parklet can eat their food on the tall bar-style table, moveable low tables or groupings of swing chairs.

By comparing year-over-year data, […]

By |August 26th, 2013|

Complete Streets Initiative Announces the Opening of Parklets; Manual for Living Streets Wins National Award

On February 7, two “parklets,” or micro urban parks, were officially opened in downtown Los Angeles in a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony on Spring Street; the Lewis Center’s Complete Streets Initiative played a central role in creating these new public spaces. “This parklet is the first in the nation focused on active recreation,” said Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Associate Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, who was a lead Lewis Center researcher on the project and who spoke at the ceremony.

The parklet features bike equipment and a foosball table along with seating and vegetation. The two parklets on Spring Street were designed by the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council with support from Councilmember Jose Huizar and the L.A. Department of Transportation. The Complete Streets Initiative worked with these partners throughout the project phases and supported construction with a grant from the Rosaline & Arthur Gilbert Foundation.

The local parklet movement is guided by the parklet toolkit (PDF) authored by Loukaitou-Sideris, UCLA Complete Streets Initiative Manager Madeline Brozen, and UCLA Luskin Center Deputy Director Colleen Callahan. “It is a very exciting day for Los Angeles and UCLA. We are seeing our research put into action by helping the city implement this innovative project,” Brozen noted. The UCLA team in collaboration with Parklet Studies will next evaluate the parklets’ use and pedestrian and business volumes in the area, to quantify the impact of the micro parks.

Also part of the UCLA Complete Streets Initiative is the Model Design Manual for Living Streets, a reference for cities and others working to enhance the many economic, social, and travel purposes of streets. The Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation […]

By |April 9th, 2013|

National Academies Committee, including Brian Taylor, Releases New Report on Reducing Petroleum Use

A new report from the National Research Council examines major policies that could save energy and reduce emissions from the U.S. transportation sector over the next 20 to 50 years.

It will take more than tougher fuel economy standards for U.S. transportation to significantly cut its oil use over the next half century.  It will likely require a combination of measures that foster consumer and supplier interest in vehicle fuel economy, alternative fuels, and a more efficient transportation system, says a new report from the National Research Council.  Public interest in reducing the cost of securing the nation’s energy supplies, curbing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs), and improving transportation operations could motivate such varied actions.

“It is not simply a matter of choosing a single best policy,” said Emil Frankel, director of transportation policy, Bipartisan Policy Center, Washington, D.C., and chair of the committee that wrote the report.  “Decisions about whether and how to reduce transportation’s use of oil will require officials to consider a range of options.”

The U.S. transportation sector accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation’s oil use and about 25 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions.  Federal regulations over the past 40 years such as fuel economy standards have helped the transportation sector make significant gains in controlling its oil use and emissions.  However, these measures are likely to do little more than temper growth in the sector’s carbon dioxide emissions and demand for oil over the next several decades, the committee said.

To achieve earlier, larger, and sustained gains, a longer-term strategy involving a mix of policy measures and impacts on transportation energy demand and supplies is needed.  The […]

By |June 23rd, 2011|