The Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies hosts a number of events throughout the year to share our research and engage with thought leaders on pressing topics facing Los Angeles, including the Housing, Equity and Community Series, a a collaboration between the Lewis Center, the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin, and the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate. Most of our events are recorded and can be accessed on our YouTube channel. We’ve also partnered with UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies to produce the annual UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium on the connections between transportation, land use and the environment.

And in 2019 we’ll be launching a signature DTLA event. Stay tuned for more details!

Upcoming Events

No events currently scheduled. Please check back soon.

34th Annual Land Use Law & Planning Conference

Largely regarded as the preeminent land use conference in the West, the UCLA Extension Land Use Law and Planning Conference is the leading source of information on California land use legislation, case law, and the emerging issues that frame land use and development practices in the nation’s most populous state.

Now in its 34th year, this one-day interdisciplinary program features a variety of knowledgeable speakers who will provide succinct and provocative updates on core state and federal case law and legislation, land use law, and planning issues.

The conference is essential for attorneys, planners, environmentalists, and developers who need to know how land use law and planning is changing and affecting their interests.

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Coffee & Conversation: “Public Los Angeles” Book Talk with Judy Branfman

“Public Los Angeles” is a collection of essays presenting insights into 20th century LA

About this Event
Public Los Angeles is a collection of unpublished essays by scholar Don Parson, accompanied by a collection of nine essays by friends and mentors, focusing on little-known characters and histories located in the first half of 20th century Los Angeles. An infamously private city in the eyes of outside observers, LA has often been celebrated or caricatured as the epitome of an American society bent on individualism, entrepreneurialism, and market ingenuity. But Parson presents a different vision for the vast Southern California metropolis, one that is deftly illustrated by stories of sustained struggles for social and economic justice led by activists, social workers, architects, housing officials, and a courageous judge.

Public Los Angeles presents insights into LA’s historic collectivism, networks of solidarity, and government policy, helping shape our understanding of public housing, gender and housework, judicial activism, and race and class in modern-day Los Angeles. Please join us for a conversation with the book’s co-editor, Judy Branfman, a filmmaker and researcher at the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, to discuss the region’s complex social and cultural history, Parson’s legacy, and visions for the future of Los Angeles.

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Past Events

Housing, Equity, and Community 2019-20 Series


The California legislature approved rent stabilization, just cause protections, and Section 8 non-discrimination laws this year, and local proposals like tenant “right to counsel” are also under consideration. While these protections will help tenants, they’re only as good as the enforcement behind them. How do we ensure that renters know their rights, landlords uphold them, and that rental housing can become a real “home” for LA-area tenants? 

Join us Nov. 20 for a Housing, Equity, and Community series presentation of new research on neighborhood eviction rates by professor Michael Lens, followed by a conversation with practitioners about enforcement of new and existing tenant protections — including areas where we’ve historically fallen short and opportunities for improvement in the future.

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The 29th Annual UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium on Transportation, Land Use and the Environment


For the first time in 29 years, the UCLA Arrowhead Symposium will zero in on the complex and intertwined relationships among transportation, economic development, poverty, and mobility — placing equity at the center of all discussions.

Transportation, quality of life and the ability to access opportunities are inextricably linked and unequally distributed, with policies often failing to consider the growing inequality faced by people living in California’s diverse regions. Low-income and minority households tend to have fewer transportation options and fewer access to opportunities. This invitation-only symposium is the go-to event for an in-depth examination of the interconnected planning and policy issues around transportation, land use and the environment.

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Harvey S. Perloff Lecture Series


The ideal of a city as a space for all persists. Cities are held up as progressive beacons, spaces of diversity and inclusion that will protect against reactionary politics. But they are as well held captive to economic development pressures that have exacerbated social problems through privatization, gentrification, and displacement. At stake is the notion of the city as a public sphere, in which all ‘citizens’ of the city can make claims for political life. The focus of this lecture series is the public city and its struggles. This forum will question the role of urban design and spatial interventions in delineating conflicts over what constitutes public(s) in cities, and pose ideals or alternatives, what Friedmann called “guiding, normative images” of the “good city” (2000). What makes a public city? Who is it form? How is it made?

Date Lecture
4.11 Jeff Hou
University of Washington
Design as Democracy: Capacity Building as Just Urban Design
4.18 Alison Hirsch
University of Southern California
Reinstating Los Angeles’ Landscapes of Resistance
4.23 Setha Low
The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Social Justice and Public Space: Propositions and Problems
4.25 Diane Davis
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Sovereignty and the Urban Question: Exploring the Material Foundations for Imagined Communities of Allegiance in Conflict Cities
5.1 Teddy Cruz & Fonna Forman
University of California, San Diego
Un-Walling Citizenship
5.9 Michael Rios
University of California, Davis
Just Urban Design? Ethics, Politics and Praxis
5.16 Kimberley Kinder
University of Michigan
Designing the Infrastructure of Descent
5.23 Rachel Barney
University of Washington
Whose Public Space? Invitations and Imaginaries
5.30 Matt Miller
University of Pennsylvania
Public While Black: Designing for the Crenshaw Imaginary through Culture and Commerce

Housing, Equity and Community Series


Regional housing planning has been a mainstay since the passage of the California Housing Element law in 1967. This law requires that each city and county adequately plan for future housing needs by identifying what type of housing is needed, where housing can be constructed, and how many units can be accommodated. But in recent years, a series of new laws have prioritized production over planning, emphasizing how many units will feasibly be constructed. Instead of concentrating on population and demographic trends, now questions of where housing can be constructed and whether enough units will be produced are driving the process. What does this shift mean for planning and the housing process in Southern California?

For the third installment in the 2018-19 Housing, Equity, and Community series, this event will discuss the regional planning process for housing in California, with a focus on the LA region, including the goals, history, and recent changes to this foundational housing paradigm.

Questions to be explored include:

  • How has the housing element in California planning evolved?
  • What is the relationship between the housing element and “fair share” housing?
  • How have the recent changes to the RHNA allocation and planning process impacted equity and environmental concerns?
  • How are local jurisdictions responding to state planning mandates?
  • What does inclusion, community-building, and public participation look like in today’s planning process?
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Join the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies as we host the LA Podcast coming to UCLA Luskin for a live recording!

Hosted by Hayes Davenport, Scott Frazier, and Curbed’s Alissa Walker, the podcast is a weekly conversation about housing, transit, policing, schools, political intrigue, trees, scooters, and everything else relevant to the city where you live. And because it’s their first live show, they’ll be answering the BIG QUESTIONS. Bring yours.


Luskin Summit


On April 24, 2019, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs will mark its 25th anniversary with the inaugural convening of a research-informed, cross-sector conversation about the major issues facing the Los Angeles region. Luskin Summit 2019: Livable LA will focus not on problems but on solutions.

The Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies Session will moderate a panel on neighborhood disparities, housing affordability and inequality in Los Angeles.

Income inequality is widening in Los Angeles and this gap plays out across the neighborhoods of the city and region. Inequality suppresses regional growth and causes families to suffer — in some areas more than others. People living in Watts live seven years less than their peers in Redondo Beach, just a 30-minute drive away. Rising rents force an increasing number of people and families into poverty. How can the city address the growing housing crisis and rising inequality? What can historic patterns of exclusion say about modern-day neighborhood disparities? How can areas of opportunity become more accessible to more people?

Moderator: Evelyn Blumenberg, Director, Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies

Presenter: Michael Lens, Associate Faculty Director, Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies

Responses from:
Becky Dennison, Executive Director, Venice Community Housing
Leonora Camner, Managing Director, Abundant Housing LA

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InterActions LA


InterActions LA is a new 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.

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Housing, Equity and Community Series 2018-2019

COUPLING MORE HOUSING WITH TRANSIT: State, Local and Community Perspectives

A presentation on the UCLA Lewis Center report, “Transit Oriented Los Angeles: Envisioning an Equitable and Thriving Future,” supported by LA Metro and ULI-Los Angeles, followed by panel discussion the California Senate Bill 50 (“SB827 v.2.0”), Los Angeles’ Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Affordable Housing Incentive Program and the issues around density and transit-oriented development in Los Angeles and California.

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Housing, Equity and Community Series 2018-2019


California’s 2018 ballot included Proposition 10, an initiative to expand the use of rent control by local jurisdictions and repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act. Tenant advocates argued that rent control is necessary to provide stability for vulnerable residents during the state’s affordability crisis, while others said that such policies cause more harm than good by restricting development and driving up costs for those searching for housing. Prior to Election Day, panelists discussed what the likely outcomes for California would be if Prop 10 passes or fails.

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UCLA Downtown Forum


The housing crisis gripping Los Angeles and cities around the country has two primary, interconnected causes: The rent is too damn high for most people to afford without cost burdens, and the politics of supply make building more housing extremely complicated. The 2018 UCLA Downtown Los Angeles Forum will explore how these two ideas interact with and contradict one another, and how finding solutions to the housing crisis can become a debate about the role of government, market forces, and community groups in society.

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Housing, Equity and Community Series 2017-2018


Discrimination in the housing market was legal in California until the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act, which finally upheld the state’s frustrated efforts to legislate equal access in 1963. Legalized discrimination and segregation led to highly unequal housing outcomes between white households who benefited from several programs designed to increase home ownership and people of color who were systematically excluded. The confluence of major historical events central to the struggles for equality in South Los Angeles makes it a particularly apt lens through which to reflect on the disparities that persist to this day. Home ownership rates have decreased countywide, but the gap with South LA has remained just as large. This leaves a shrinking share to the population able to benefit from rising property values and exacerbates wealth inequality. At the same time, the combination of the housing crises and housing shortage locks an increasing number of household in South LA into extreme housing cost burden which makes the aspiration of maintaining a stable home as distant as it ever was.

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Transportation is a Women’s Issue II


How do discussions and plans for the future of transportation and new innovative mobility services account for women’s travel patterns? Women tend to commute shorter distances and conduct more household serving trips than their male counterparts. This gender gap exists even in dual-income households and widens further for child-serving trips, even among households with no children. What potential do new mobility options—bikesharing, ridesourcing, microtransit—hold for closing this gap? Or will they rather reinforce these divergent travel patterns? Our experts will share their previous research, and discuss future plans from the City and County of Los Angeles to better serve women’s travel needs and patterns.

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Housing, Equity and Community Series 2017-2018


California’s housing crisis is hitting renters hard. With rents fast increasing in Los Angeles, many people are scared. Whether they fear rent increases that push housing costs out of reach or being scared that improvements to the building mean a rent increase is imminent, the rental market can be scary. California is known for strong tenant protections, but existing state laws like the Ellis Act (evicting tenants to convert buildings to ownership) or Costa-Hawkins Act (not allowing new construction to be under rent control) weakens these tenant protections. What’s the appetite for reforming these laws? How are they currently affecting residents in Los Angeles? What can be done to put renters in Los Angeles on a more stable foundation?

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Transportation is a Women’s Issue I


Struggling to reach for a strap on a crowded bus. Stepping into a packed train car and looking for a small space of refuge. Waiting by yourself at a dark bus stop. Trying to run household serving errands on a public transit schedule that’s been designed for rush hour. These all-too-common experiences demonstrate why we must think about transportation as a women’s issue. In the first of our three part series, Professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and ITS associate director Madeline Brozen conducted a lunchtime discussion about women’s transportation needs, how transit agencies are and are not meeting these needs, and the role of sexual harassment in public space and public transit

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Housing, Equity and Community Series 2017-2018


This event explored the issue of homelessness and the response of local institutions from three different perspectives: a Skid Row resident and activist, a developer of permanent supportive housing, and UCLA’s own Bruin Shelter.

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Housing, Equity and Community Series 2017-2018


For those with an interest in the history of Los Angeles and the impacts of gentrification on its communities, the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies kicked off the Housing, Equity and Community Series with a screening and discussion of “East LA Interchange,” an award-winning documentary about the intersections of pollution, transportation and gentrification in the Boyle Heights neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles.

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Public Housing & Activism Series III


Activists, residents and community members came together to discuss the struggle against gentrification and displacement in Boyle Heights. Boyle Heights is at the epicenter of a spatially contested struggle for shelter in the midst of Los Angeles’ crisis of housing affordability. This renewed interested in the neighborhood comes after decades of disinvestment, racial discrimination, and substandard employment opportunities for its long-term residents. As a historic entry point for Mexican immigrants into the country, gentrification in Boyle Heights has not only taken a toll on the neighborhood’s most vulnerable populations, but it has eroded the vital social and cultural institutions of self-determination. But the threat of displacement has also inspired a rigorous and thriving social movement in response. In a moderated discussion, panelists explored the realities of gentrification and the organizing that has emerged as a response to provide context to the debate about gentrification in the neighborhood, and similar debates taking place across Los Angeles.

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UCLA Downtown Forum


This 10th Annual Downtown Los Angeles Forum focused on practical limitations and concerns of connected and automated vehicle technology. How can policymakers and stakeholders prepare the network and our current transportation system for this next technology-wave? New technologies have and will continue to shape the future of transportation. Communities are seeing technology enabled mobility on the ground with on-demand ridesharing and bikesharing. People also understand how technology enhancements can improve the system for policy makers and travelers with real-time transit arrival information, dynamically-priced parking spaces and managed highway lanes. These changes did bring real improvements to people, but are these improvements accessible to everyone? Or could they further exacerbate current inequities in our transportation system?


A discussion with UCLA housing and land use experts.

In March 2017, voters in the City of Los Angeles cast their ballots on the Measure S—the neighborhood integrity initiative. This initiative would have imposed a two-year moratorium on all developments that require a General Plan amendment, among other provisions. Proponents of Measure S believed this moratorium would curb “abusive land use practices and favoritism towards developers.” Critics believed the ban would have a recession-like effect on development and exacerbate the current housing crisis. This UCLA event featured experts in land use law, housing policy and development explaining the concerns that led to this outcry.

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Public Housing and Activism Series I


For 70 years, there stood a Chicago public housing community known as Cabrini Green. Home to thousands, misunderstood by millions, Cabrini Green once towered over Chicago’s most valuable neighborhoods. A looming reminder of inequality and poverty, Cabrini’s high-rises were demolished and an African-American community cleared to make room for another social experiment: mixed-income neighborhoods. Shot over the course of 20 years, 70 Acres in Chicago documents this upheaval, from the razing of the first buildings in 1995, to the clashes in the mixed-income neighborhoods a decade later.

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Public Housing and Activism Series II


We turned our attention back to Los Angeles as a follow up from the screening of the “70 Acres in Chicago” and the discussion of the destruction of the Cabrini Green development. The UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin and the UCLA Ziman Center’s Howard and Irene Levine Program in Housing and Social Responsibility hosted a discussion centering around Jordan Downs, the Los Angeles public housing development slated for transformation into an “urban village.” This years-long redevelopment effort is one of the largest public works projects in Los Angeles. Many people wonder how the 2,600 current residents will fare, particularly in Los Angeles’ housing crisis. The event situated Jordan Downs in the cultural history and geography of Watts and South Los Angeles, identified current residents’ concerns and highlighted how residents and the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles are working to shape redevelopment.

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