Lewis Research Topic: LIVE

Transit-Oriented Development & Commercial Gentrification: Exploring the Linkages
By Karen Chapple, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Silvia R. Gonzalez, Dov Kadin, Joseph Poirier

This research focuses on Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area to examine the relationship between commercial gentrification and fixed rail transit, transit ridership and traffic crashes. Using a longitudinal database of business establishments, the authors develop a quantitative definition of commercial gentrification for Los Angeles and the Bay Area. They investigate where commercial gentrification has occurred along with its relationship to fixed rail transit, and offer key findings to motivate policy.

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Main Street Parklet Pilot Program Evaluation: City of Santa Monica
By Madeline Brozen, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Rayne Laborde

In late 2015, the City of Santa Monica approved a parklet pilot program along Main Street at the request of the Main Street Business Improvement Association. By June 2017, three parklets were installed along Main Street. To evaluate this pilot program, the City commissioned this pilot program evaluation to undestand the pilot performance and provide recommendations for the program’s future. The goal of this evaluation report is to determine whether parklets, a relatively new streetscape improvement type, is an idea that works along Santa Monica’s Main Street corridor.

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A Flawed Law: Reforming California's Housing Element
By Paavo Monkkonen, Michael Manville, Spike Friedman

In both 2017 and 2018, the state legislature passed bills seeking to reform California’s Housing Element Law. More recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated he intends to reform the law further, saying that the law as currently written enables a statewide approach to housing of “neglect and denial.” What is the Housing Element law, and why is it attracting so much attention? This issue brief introduces the law and highlights a sometimes misunderstood feature of its core planning tool: the Regional Housing Needs Assessment process. We focus in particular on how RHNA addresses the production of income-restricted, affordable housing. In doing so we emphasize a fundamental problem with RHNA: It creates needless tension between subsidized and market-rate housing, and as a result generates too little of either.

We suggest a solution that separates the goal of having cities carry a “fair share” of affordable housing from the goal of building enough housing to accommodate future growth. Specifically, we think the state should simplify its fair share requirement, and mandate that every city carry an equal percentage of income-restricted housing and make space for an equal rate of new housing growth.

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Transit Oriented Los Angeles: Station Area Comparison Appendix
By Madeline Brozen, Matthew Hartzell, Dr. Michael Manville, Dr. Paavo Monkkonen, Mark Vallianatos

The purpose of this appendix is to help readers further explore similarities and differences in seven station areas (Van Nuys, Fillmore, Wilshire/Vermont, Culver City, Leimert Park, Compton, and Paramount/Rosecrans) and to be inspired to consider how features such as population density, transit ridership, parcel-level housing density, housing units and planned housing capacity, zoning class, building age, parking lot availability, activity density, job density, and neighborhood amenities shape neighborhoods around rail stations throughout Los Angeles County.

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Transit-oriented development in Los Angeles: Past, Present and Future
By Mark Vallianatos, Madeline Brozen

This brief provides a short history of how transit and land development have often gone hand-in-hand in L.A., summarizes research that shows that residential density in greater L.A. is still influenced by long-gone streetcar routes. This brief also recommends ways to achieve greater synergies between housing and public transit investments, such as allowing more homes close to transit, incentivizing deeded-affordable homes close to transit, and allowing more homes within a wider radius of transit. This interconnection of transit and the built environment over time holds lessons that planners, policy-makers, and developers can learn from today.

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Encouraging Diverse Missing-Middle Housing Near Transit
By Mark Vallianatos, Madeline Brozen

This brief explores why and how jurisdictions in the Los Angeles region should zone for more diverse-types of lowrise housing, especially near transit. The paper argues that too many properties close to transit stations and stops are zoned to only allow one home, single-family-only zoning originated to exclude apartments and lower-income and non-white residents and neighborhoods with a mix of small apartments and single-unit homes used to be common, but policy changes enacted in the mid-20th century banned these diverse communities The paper also argues that removing barriers to diverse, low-rise housing could bring benefits for housing choice and affordability, equity, sustainability, and transit-ridership.

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Transit-Oriented Los Angeles: Envisioning an Equitable and Thriving Future Summary
By Madeline Brozen, Matthew Hartzell, Michael Manville, Paavo Monkkonen, Mark Vallianatos

This report provides a conceptual framework for thinking about how more people can live and work near transit, near the major regional investments that county residents are paying for, in ways that maximize social benefits and minimize social costs. Because neighborhoods are unique, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and we do not profess to offer one. What we offer instead is a foundation on which informed civic conversations about different neighborhoods and ways to better our region can occur. We hope to demystify density, explain the determinants of transit ridership, and shed some light on how zoning and land use regulation influence both ridership and housing prices.

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Trends in Misdemeanor Arrests in Los Angeles: 2001 - 2017
By Michael Lens, Michael A. Stoll, Yiwen Kuai

This report uses data from the Los Angeles Police Department and the City Attorney's Office to review arrests and caseloads over a 16-year period. Overall, the report highlights that misdemeanor arrests rose sharply from 88,511 arrests in 2001 to 112,570 in 2008 the highest number recorded but then dropped to 60,063 in 2017, a 47-percent decrease (a trend reflected statewide). The rates fell dramatically for juveniles, while other demographic groups, like black females, saw increases. UCLA was one of seven sites selected by the nationwide Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York that would use data analytics to inform policy discussions and reforms regarding trends in the enforcement of lower-level offenses.

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Not Nearly Enough: California Lacks Capacity to Meet Lofting Housing Goals
By Paavo Monkkonen, Spike Friedman

Before becoming governor, Gavin Newsom set forth a bold campaign goal to alleviate California’s housing affordability crisis: constructing 3.5 million new homes by 2025. And in his first State of the State speech, Newsom announced a $750 million incentive package so cities and counties could update their housing plans to make space in their zoning for more new housing. This homebuilding plan would also represent an unprecedented surge of housing construction for the state, which has averaged 80,000 new housing units per year over the past decade. Newsom is proposing a sevenfold increase.

In this brief, we ask whether it is possible for California to meet this lofty production goal under current zoning and where this new housing will be built.

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Federal Housing Assistance in LA County is Primarily for High-Income Neighborhoods
By Paavo Monkkonen, Yiwen (Xavier) Kuai

Four major areas of federal housing assistance are targeted at low-income households. The much larger, fifth budget item is the assistance that benefits upperclass households, the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID). Eliminating the MID would generate new revenue for the federal government — in 2014, it cost the U.S. Treasury more than $100 billion. An expansion of such magnitude might allow us to cover all the households in LA County eligible for housing subsidies, and shift housing investment to parts of the county that have received less federal support since the government began housing subsidy programs.

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Transit Oriented Los Angeles: Envisioning an Equitable and Thriving Future
By Madeline Brozen, Matthew Hartzell, Michael Manville, Paavo Monkkonen, Mark Vallianatos

This report provides a conceptual framework for thinking about how more people can live and work near transit, near the major regional investments that county residents are paying for, in ways that maximize social benefits and minimize social costs. Because neighborhoods are unique, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and we do not profess to offer one. What we offer instead is a foundation on which informed civic conversations about different neighborhoods and ways to better our region can occur. We hope to demystify density, explain the determinants of transit ridership, and shed some light on how zoning and land use regulation influence both ridership and housing prices

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How Fair is Fair-Share? A Longitudinal Assessment of California’s Housing Element Law
By Shine Ling (Student Capstone)

Despite the nearly 40 years since California’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) program was established, its authority to direct local jurisdictions to adjust the housing unit allocations in their general plans and zoning capacity to accommodate population growth in every part of the state has not alleviated the state’s growing housing crisis.

This report analyzes data on RHNA allocations and performance for the Southern California Association of Governments, a regional council of governments that encompasses six counties and is the most populous in the state. We find that major changes to RHNA allocation methodologies are necessary to address these structural inequalities in California’s housing landscape that shape our current housing crisis.

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South LA Since the Sixties
By Paul Ong, Andre Comandon, Alycia Cheng, Silvia R. González

This report examines the socioeconomic changes in South Los Angeles since the Sixties to shed light on what, if any, progress has been made toward addressing issues of access, equity, and justice. The Sixties were filled with historical accomplishments and with promises for the future. It was also a time rife with discontent at the pervasive and persistent injustice many people of color experienced. This consequential decade set into motion both progressive and reactionary movements that define reality in South Los Angeles today.

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Is LA Destroying Its Affordable Housing Stock to Build Luxury Apartments?
By Eve Bachrach, Paavo Monkkonen, Michael Lens

Is Los Angeles cannibalizing its affordable rental housing to make way for market-rate and luxury apartments? We looked at records for new multifamily development in Los Angeles to determine what was demolished to build new housing. Los Angeles has not been trading affordable housing units for luxury units. Not only are we not losing large numbers of affordable housing, but our randomly-selected sample found six new affordable units built for every unit demolished. However, the densifying neighborhoods are concentrated in central and south Los Angeles, communities that are on average poorer than the rest of the city.

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How Proposition U Restrains LA Housing Development
By Paavo Monkkonen, Kate Traynor

Commercial prices stagnated after Proposition U while residential prices were unaffected. Repealing Proposition U is a critical first step to increasing LA’s housing supply, as it would enable the construction of mixed-use development along commercial corridors. Our study has demonstrated that fears about the impact of development on residential values are unfounded. The only price impact of Proposition U was a reduction in commercial property values. Restoring the development potential of HD-1s would drive private investment to areas that have not yet attracted revitalization, and a repeal could initiate a surge of transit-oriented housing in walkable, amenity-rich neighborhoods.

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Overcoming Opposition to New Housing
By Paavo Monkkonen, Will Livesley-O’Neill

How can we reform our planning systems to increase supply on the one hand, and to reduce the unequal spatial distribution of new development on the other? Researchers at UCLA examined the tactics available to opponents of new housing development and categorized the motivations behind anti-development sentiment. Identifying the most salient motivations behind opposition to housing construction can help us overcome these barriers with far-reaching solutions. Recommendations for addressing California housing opposition problems include enhancing and enforcing current housing laws, making the planning process more inclusive, and shifting the scale of land use decisions from local to regional or state.

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The Likely Consequences of Measure S: Higher Housing Costs
By Michael Lens, Kate Traynor, Madeline Brozen, Herbie Huff

While there is no shortage of debate on Measure S, the public dialogue has been relatively uninformed about the likely consequences of the Measure. Our best assessment of the available research and data leads us to conclude that if the Measure passes, rents and property costs in the Los Angeles region are likely to rise faster than they are already. It is a problem that housing production in Los Angeles depends so much upon ad-hoc and discretionary processes, however, Los Angeles is in an increasingly dire housing affordability crisis, and the only real solution is to build more housing.

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Can a Tool of Segregation Be Used to Fight Displacement?
By Eve Bachrach, Michael Lens

Rises in housing costs are outstripping income gains, and residents are being pushed out of central city neighborhoods that have been affordable to low-income workers for decades. How can cities actively curb displacement? Neighborhoods that have been more successful in resisting gentrification and displacement have done so through a range of proactive measures. Neighborhood preference policies are illegal under the Fair Housing Act. Yet San Francisco is attempting to use a neighborhood preference policies to maintain diversity in what have traditionally been mixed neighborhoods. Can these policies effectively and fairly slow gentrification and protect residents at risk of displacement?

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Designing Enforceable Regulations for the Online Short-Term Rental Market in Los Angeles
By Brian Nguyen, Kiana Taheri, Blake Valenta (Student Capstone)

Los Angeles is considered one of the most difficult cities to find and secure affordable housing. The rise of short-term rental companies, such as Airbnb, has been considered by some as compounding this crisis. Particular attention has focused on hosts who have converted whole homes and apartments into rental units, thereby reducing the supply of long-term rentals. The Los Angeles City Council responded to constituent concerns by proposing a motion to regulate the short-term rental market in residential zones.Concerned by the difficulty other cities have faced in enforcing their new regulations for the short-term rental market, our client, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, asked us to investigate complementary policy options to increase the enforceability of the motion and recommend how to best implement the proposed regulations.

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Improving Access to Justice for Self-Represented Litigants in San Bernardino Self-Help Centers
By Maria Abesa, Michelle Cordi, Rie Kudo (Student Capstone)

Self-Help centers in San Bernardino County contend with an almost daily influx of customers seeking assistance in preparing to represent themselves in court. Self-Help centers provide one of the only available resources in the county for self-represented litigants to gain access to the justice system. We identified two overarching categories of problems facing Self-Help: large numbers of customers mistakenly directed to Self-Help centers and inefficient on-site service delivery. Within these categories we identified several barriers to access, including a lack of effective internal communication, use of outdated web-based resources, and inefficient processing of customers.

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Rules of Division: The Influence of Land Use Regulation on Income Segregation
By Michael Lens, Paavo Monkkonen

Income segregation in U.S. metropolitan areas has been rising for the last forty years. This is a concerning trend, since neighborhood social mix has been shown to have lifelong impacts on health, economic productivity, and behaviors such as propensity to commit crime. Although it is widely assumed that local land use regulations – such as minimum lot sizes and growth controls – exclude low-income households from wealthier neighborhoods and thus amplify segregation, the empirical research is limited. Using new statistical measures for the 95 biggest cities in the US, we investigate the relationship between land use regulations and segregation by income.

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Parks for Seniors: Identifying Opportunity Sites in LA
By Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Madeline Brozen, Wanmeng Ren

Older adults are a highly underserved group in regards to parks, despite the fact that scholars have found a “healing effect” and promotion of one’s physical and emotional well-being when spending time in natural settings. Despite the strong link between physical activity and health, older adults represent the most inactive portion of the population. This is due, in part, to a general lack of recreational and park facilities designed with older adults in mind. This report seeks to build upon the work of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, the City Project, and Community Health Councils to address park needs in Los Angeles, but also focus particular attention on the needs of older adults. This report intends to identify the areas of high need but also high opportunity in the City of Los Angeles for developing senior-friendly parks.

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Sustainable LA: Lessons from Vancouver
By UCLA Vancouver Study Tour

In March 2015, a group of 14 UCLA Urban and Regional Planning graduate students travelled to Vancouver to learn first-hand about Vancouver’s sustainable planning successes. Students met with over 30 government agencies, non-profits, researchers and private companies working at the front lines of sustainable urbanism. This report highlights a few of the most meaningful lessons learned. The report is organized around seven lessons which we consider especially applicable and implementable in Los Angeles. Each lesson alludes to an objective from the Sustainable City pLAn. Hashtags at the bottom of each lesson indicate which pLAn sections (economy, environment, equity) the lessons align with.

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The Greying of American Cities: Evaluating Built Environment Indicators for Ensuring an Age-Friendly City
By Valerie J. Coleman (Student Capstone)

The American elderly population is growing at unprecedented rates, six times faster than the rest of the population, and by 2050, cohorts 65 years and older will have doubled. In a few short years, they will account for 24 percent of the population, yet cities have not planned for this silver tsunami. There is an urgent need to ensure the age-friendliness of our cities. In this report, we analyze the results of our literature review focused on the built environment and its interaction with seniors and discuss the initial list of criteria we developed to address the needs of an aging population in the central city.

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Rules of Estrangement: Local Land Use Regulation in the SF Bay Area
By Nils Kok, Paavo Monkkonen, John M. Quigley

Conventional wisdom would suggest that housing construction in the Bay Area must be booming in the 21st century as developers respond to a growing economy flush with well-paid tech workers. Yet compare new housing development rates in the Bay Area to places like Houston and the coastal metropolis lags far behind. This discrepancy lends credence to the view that the Bay Area’s relatively strict regulatory environment plays a large role in reducing the supply of housing. This paper uses a new source of intra-metropolitan data on land prices to assess such a claim by examining the influence of land use regulation within the Bay Area housing market.

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Placemaking for an Aging Population: Guidelines for Senior-Friendly Parks
By Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Lené Levy-Storms, Madeline Brozen

Unfortunately, people over the age of 65 in the U.S. remain a highly underserved group in regards to parks. This gap exists despite the many benefits of parks, which among other things also include a positive relationship between physical and emotional well-being. Thus, the purpose of this report is to identify and to compile information from different sources about the needs and preferences of olderadults in regards to open space and synthesize it in the form of design guidelines for senior-friendly open spaces in cities.

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Transplanted Continuity: Examining the Ethno-Spatial Prospect of the Dawoodi Bohra Community in Southern California
By Arfakhashad Munaim (Student Capstone)

The thriving of immigrant ethics and diaspora communities in contemporary urban environments is emblematic of cultural and socio-political navigation. In Southern California, numerous micro-communities identify their inferential beliefs in the way they engage, negotiate, and embrace the extant planning processes and policy regimes of their respective municipalities and cities. The Dawoodi Bohra community is one such growing diaspora of approximately 1.2 million Shi'ite Muslims worldwide that have created micro-community establishments defined by a complex of four sacred spaces: the Masjid (mosque), Manzil (residences), Madrasah (academic institution), and the Mujtama (public space). Their Anjuman-e-Burhanee complex in Woodland Hills in Southern California embodies numerous strategies--from site selection and planning negotiations to the systematic engagements of religious practices--all within the existing physical, social and political constructs of American cities.

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Reclaiming the Right-of-Way Evaluation Report: An Assessment of the Spring Street Parklets
By Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Madeline Brozen, Robin Abad Ocubillo, Kevin Ocubillo

Following the first parklet installation in San Francisco in 2010, cities across the United States and Canada have started installing parklets at an ever-increasing rate. Curbside parklet installation in Los Angeles began in September 2011, when the City Council instructed the Planning Department in coordination with the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works to assist with the implementation of parklet Introduction demonstration projects currently under consideration.
This study seeks to examine a variety of different effects of the two Downtown Los Angeles parklets on their surrounding neighborhood. The scope of this analysis is limited to Spring Street between 6th and 7th streets, referred to as the 600 block of Spring.

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A New Way to Park on the Street: Evaluating the Spring Street Parklets in Downtown LA
By Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Madeline Brozen, Robin Abad Ocubillo, Kevin Ocubillo

Parklets are small public spaces created by converting parking spots into recreational areas for people. First conceived in San Francisco in 2010, these spaces often feature benches, tables, chairs, and plants, but they can also have game tables and exercise equipment. The creation of these spaces provides an opportunity to build community and enhance the charm of the street, all at low cost to cities or public agencies. The city of Los Angeles installed its first parklets in early 2013, and this study seeks to examine the effect of these two parklets on their adjacent downtown community.

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Greenhouse Gas Reduction Close to Home
By Juan Matute

In 2008, California adopted the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) to lower GHG emissions by reforming local land use and transportation policies that subsidize cars and suburban sprawl. Recent literature focuses on the need to measure the complete output of GHG emissions in local areas, but these efforts risk falling short of state and federal targets for two reasons: a lack of proper local forecasting tools and the absence of an appropriate guide for implementing local measurement. This report remedies research shortcomings by offering a framework for measuring, evaluating, and forecasting the GHG effects of local policies.

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Can’t Hear the Train A Comin’: Passenger Exposure to Noise at LA Transit Platforms
By Alexander Schaffer

There are 16 transit stations located inside highway medians in Los Angeles County, and passengers on these station platforms are subjected to high levels of noise produced by nearby highway traffic. Exposure to these elevated sound volumes makes waiting for a bus or train unpleasant at best, and potentially harmful to passengers’ health. Researchers have shown a conclusive link between hearing loss and exposure to high ambient noise levels, and daily commuters, who use stations in noisy highway medians, over the course of many years may suffer from hearing loss and damage to circulatory systems. This study examines the noise levels at these stations with three specific goals: Determining which stations experience the most noise, Identifying why noise levels vary from station to station, and Suggesting design features that could reduce noise levels.

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Performance Metrics for the City of Los Angeles
By Madeline Brozen, Rachel Cushing, Herbie Huff, Chanda Singh, Margot Ocanas

Over the next 30 years, the Los Angeles region will expand the transportation system through investments from Measure R. As the region moves forward through an unprecedented opportunity to shift the city’s paradigm of transportation planning and policy, it is important for our political leaders, city staff, and community to understand current conditions and trade-offs that may lead to better or worse outcomes for various indicators. With revisions to the General Plan on the horizon, this report seeks to establish baseline conditions in order to measure progress in the future. Our hope is that this data will serve as a baseline for a new era in transportation performance measurement in LA – one whose goal is not only to maximize mobility and access but also quality of life for all Angelenos.

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Model Design Manual for Living Streets
By Madeline Brozen, Ryan Snyder

A growing number of communities are discovering the value of their streets as important public spaces for many aspects of daily life. Residents want streets that are safe to cross or walk along, offer places to meet people, link healthy neighborhoods, and have a vibrant mix of retail. Yet, as these communities form partnerships with neighborhood associations, environmental organizations, and other groups in asking their city councils to create streets and neighborhoods that fit this vision, unexpected obstacles have arisen. An increasing number of cities looking to modify the design of their streets are often stifled by standards and guidelines that prevent them from making the changes they seek. This manual presents an opportunity to these communities to work through these challenges and ultimately design their streets for health, safety, livability, sustainability and more.

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