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The Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies was established to promote the study, understanding and solution of regional policy issues, with special reference to Southern California. Areas of study include problems of the environment, urban design, housing, community and neighborhood dynamics, transportation and local economic development. The Center was founded in 1988 with a $5 million endowment from Ralph and Goldy Lewis. In addition to income from the Lewis Endowment, the Center is supported by private and corporate foundation gifts and grants, individual donors, and research grants from a variety of governmental agencies. The Center sponsors a lecture/seminar series, as well as workshops and conferences focusing on Southern California, in an effort to build bridges to the local community.

Some working papers are not available electronically but a link is provided to the Lewis Center website for ordering instructions.

The Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies

There are 285 publications in this collection, published between 1990 and 2024.
Annual Reports (6)

Annual Report 2004-2005

The Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies was established in 1988 on the basis of a five million dollar endowment gift from Ralph and Goldy Lewis. The main objective of the Lewis Center is to promote the study, understanding, and solution of regional policy issues, with special reference to Southern California. These important issues include problems of the environment, urban design, housing, community and neighborhood dynamics, transportation, and local economic development. The academic year 2004-2005 was the fifteenth full year of the Lewis Center's operation. An expanding number of faculty and students have been involved in the Center’s work, and contacts with outside agencies continue to grow. The Center’s Director works closely with an Executive Committee, and with guidance from an Advisory Council. During 20042005, three Executive Committee meetings were held to review the Center’s activities and future directions. The Executive Committee also approved funding for two years of the Southern California Survey (SCS) on issues and attitudes of interest to the region for use by researchers, social scientists, and local agencies. A joint Advisory Council-Executive Committee meeting was also held at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). Attendees voiced support for the SCS and agreed to review and comment on it, and help disseminate survey information. Members also agreed to help promote an upcoming workshop on 2002 Economic Census data at UCLA. We would like to thank members of both groups for their willingness to assist the Lewis Center in its activities. (Members of both groups are listed at the end of this newsletter.)

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Community Service Projects/Papers (19)

California Transportation Needs Assessment: The Transportation Barriers and Needs of Welfare Recipients and Low-Wage Workers

The purpose of this report is to aid policymakers, planners and administrators in using available funds to effectively plan for the transportation needs of welfare recipients and other low-income adults in California. More specifically, the objectives of this project are: To identify the transportation obstacles facing welfare recipients and other lowincome individuals in California; To provide transportation options to better enable CalWORKs recipients and lowincome individuals find and keep employment; To provide information and county-specific data to better assist local welfare agencies, transit providers, workforce development boards, state agencies, and the private sector in planning and implementing welfare-to-work transportation programs; and, finally, To develop a statewide strategy for applying for and allocating funding through the Job Access and Reverse Commute program

Technical Supplement to Economic Needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Distressed Areas: Establishing Baseline Information

This technical supplement provides the tables and maps upon which the analysis included in the report for the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, "Economic Needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander in Distressed Areas” was based. contains detailed neighborhood profiles and maps of low-income APA areas in the following MSAs: Chicago, Long Beach (Little Phnom Pen), Los Angeles (Koreatown), Lowell, New Orleans, New York City (Chinatown), New York City (Jackson Heights), Orange County (Little Saigon), Sacramento, Saint Paul, San Francisco (Chinatown), Seattle, Stockton (Cambodian), Stockton (Filipino), Hawaii Study Area, Oahu, Hawaii Study Area, Molokai and San Francisco (Samoan).

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Conference Proceedings (3)

A Research Agenda: Impacts of Welfare Reform on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs)

This document summarizes the proceedings from a research symposium held on June 29 th, 2006, on the impact of Welfare Reform on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). This population has not received adequate attention in most welfare studies, despite the severity of the problem facing some ethnic subgroups. The symposium’s goals are to review existing research, identify future research needs, and to develop a strategy to implement a research agenda. Included in this document are background information, abstracts of the papers presented during the symposium, recommendations for future research, biographical information and an annotated bibliography of selective publications.

Open Access Articles (6)

It's Time to End Single-Family Zoning

Local planning in the United States is unique in the amount of land it reserves for detached single-family homes. This privileging of single-family homes, normally called R1 zoning, exacerbates inequality and undermines efficiency. R1’s origins are unpleasant: Stained by explicitly classist and implicitly racist motivations, R1 today continues to promote exclusion. It makes it harder for people to access high-opportunity places, and in expensive regions it contributes to shortages of housing, thereby benefiting homeowners at the expense of renters and forcing many housing consumers to spend more on housing. Stacked against these drawbacks, moreover, are a series of only weak arguments in R1’s favor about preferences, aesthetics, and a single-family way of life. We demonstrate that these pro-R1 concerns are either specious, or can be addressed in ways less socially harmful than R1. Given the strong arguments against R1 and the weak arguments for it, we contend planners should work to abolish R1 single-family zoning.

Planning for and Against Vehicular Homelessness: Spatial Trends and Determinants of Vehicular Dwelling in Los Angeles

Problem, research strategy, and findings

Shelter is a necessity, yet approximately 17 out of every 10,000 people in the United States are unhoused. Public attention to homelessness has centered on individuals sitting and sleeping in public spaces. However, as many as 50% of the unsheltered live in vehicles. For people sleeping in vehicles, finding a safe place to park is an ongoing challenge, further complicated by the growing number of ordinances restricting vehicular dwelling. We drew on point-in-time count data from the Los Angeles (CA) Homeless Services Authority to examine spatial patterns of vehicular homelessness in Los Angeles from 2016 to 2020. We tested the relationship between the presence of vehicle regulations and the number of people sleeping in vehicles. Although the data likely underestimated vehicular homelessness, we found that ordinances directly reduced the number of people living in vehicles in particular census tracts. On average, cities with citywide and overnight bans had greater impacts on people sleeping in vehicles than cities with less restrictive ordinances. However, the indirect effects in neighboring tracts were stronger and demonstrate the role of these ordinances in simply shifting the vehicular homeless between areas.

Takeaway for practice

Given the slow pace of delivering permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness, cities should reduce the harm and precariousness of living in vehicles. Strategies to do this include the reform of punitive vehicle towing and vehicle dwelling regulations. Safe parking programs can provide individuals with a safe place to park their vehicles at night, offer ancillary services, and deter harassment from neighborhood residents and the police. Longer term, transformative change will require additional policies and programs to place people into permanently affordable housing.

Last Thoughts From Manville, Monkkonen, and Lens

This article responds to: The View From Minneapolis: Comments on “Death to Single-Family Zoning” and “It’s Time to End Single-Family Zoning”, Ending Single-Family Zoning: Is There a Plan B?, Not a Matter of Choice: Eliminating Single-Family Zoning, Calls to End All Single-Family Zoning Need More Scrutiny, Eliminating Existing Single-Family Zoning Is a Mistake, Though Rumors of Its Demise Might Be Exaggerated…, The Detached Single-Family Home Genie and Its Bottle

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Policy Briefs (92)
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Reports (32)

Value Capture Reconsidered: What if L.A. was Actually Building Too Little?

Should cities only allow new housing on the condition that the developers of that housing deliver public benefits in return? This idea is often called “value capture”, and is used to justify — among other things — various forms of inclusionary zoning. I argue in this essay that value capture is conceptually and logically flawed. It rests on the idea that new housing is not by itself a public benefit, and on the assumption that not building housing is socially harmless. Most of all, it inverts one of the most important insights in urban economics and urban public finance: that value rests primarily in land, and that development is an important way to share and redistribute land value. Value capture mechanisms that are triggered by development tacitly punish landowners who share land value, and tacitly reward owners who withhold it. The fair and efficient approach to value capture involves taxing land, not development, and encouraging rather than discouraging the production of new homes. Contemporary value capture, in contrast, provides a veneer of redistribution but serves primarily to protect most urban wealth from redistribution.

Building Up the "Zoning Buffer": Using Broad Upzones to Increase Housing Capacity Without Increasing Land Values

U.S. cities spent much of the middle and late 20th century reducing capacity for new housing through extensive downzoning, leading to a shortage of homes and rising prices in high-demand locations. To combat this, many cities and states are now reversing course and upzoning to allow higher-density housing, usually in targeted locations such as individual neighborhoods or corridors. While these targeted upzones have increased housing production in some cases, they have also led to higher land prices that erode the affordability of new homes. In this paper I introduce the concept of the “zoning buffer” — the gap between the existing housing stock and the maximum number of homes allowed by current zoning — and describe how it affects land values and ultimately the production and affordability of housing. When upzoning produces a large zoning buffer, land values should not increase substantially because land with redevelopment potential is no longer scarce; property owners lack the leverage to demand more from a developer than a typical homebuyer. These properties can transact at lower prices, delivering lower-cost housing to residents. When zoning buffers remain small, upzoning will result in land value increases that are largely captured by incumbent property owners. I argue that improved housing affordability at a city-, metro-, or region-wide scale can only be achieved through “broad upzoning,” defined here as zoning changes that allow at least moderate density (roughly 6-10 units) on a large share of parcels (at least 25%-50%). With zoning reform receiving more attention across the country, policymakers should prioritize broad upzoning over other strategies that may be unlikely to improve long-term affordability.

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Southern California Survey (21)

Issue 11: Barriers to Transit Use

A 2005 survey sponsored by the UCLA Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies found that, in general, public transit is underutilized. Ridership on public transportation accounts for only a very small fraction of all trips, with utilization varying systematically with economic and demographic characteristics. People do not use mass transit more often because it offers only limited service and geographic coverage. Overcoming these barriers will be challenging.

So Cal Survey 2005 Technical Paper

The Lewis Center has partnered with several groups to develop the survey and to analyze and disseminate the results. Organizations on the UCLA campus include the Center for Communications and Community, the Institute for Transportation Studies, the UCLA Center for Civil Society, and the UCLA Anderson School. We have also partnered with two public agencies, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). UCLA faculty partners include Vickie Mays from the Psychology Department and Michael Stoll from the Department of Policy Studies. We also received helpful comments from several UCLA faculty members including Brian Taylor, Amy Zegart, Frank Gilliam, Helmut Anheier, Hagai Katz, Chris Thornberg and Ed Leamer.

The survey covers seven topics but is divided into two parts, Form A and Form B. The Public Opinion, Transportation, and Demographic modules are administered to all 1500 survey respondents. The remaining modules are only given to half of the survey respondents. Form A includes the questions on the Economy, Employment, and Housing. Form B includes questions on Social Capital and Terrorism and Disaster preparedness. The Transportation questions are also divided into two modules. Half of respondents are asked questions about their commute, while the other half are asked about their last trip in a car. However, if a respondent who is assigned the commute question is not employed or does not commute they are assigned to the last trip questions.

Issue 5: High Interest in Hybrid Cars

This SCS Fact Sheet provides information on the level of interest in purchasing hybrid automobiles—vehicles that combine gasoline and electric motors to increase fuel mileage and reduce air pollution. A significant minority stated that they are willing to pay more for such a car, with the proportion varying by income and ethnicity. Not surprisingly, those drivers who commute to work and those with environmental concerns are more likely to pay the additional cost for a hybrid car.

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Student Reports (65)

Building Small: Assessing Feasibility of 5-to-10 Unit Projects in California

California is currently facing an affordable housing crisis, despite recent legislative efforts to spur housing development. Much of this shortage can be attributed to restrictive land use policies, such as zoning, that limit the amount of housing allowed. In 2021, Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) passed allowing for the development of up to four units on single-family zoned parcels. However, housing professionals and recent studies indicate that the rules of SB 9 do not allow for financially feasible development. This research explores whether larger developments, with 5-to-10 units, are more financially feasible on single-family zoned parcels in California and whether opportunities exist to improve the feasibility of small multi-family housing development. This research presents findings from semi-structured interviews with housing professionals and a financial analysis using a pro forma model for various 5-to-10-unit project scenarios. I find that limited financial feasibility exists for new 5-to-10-unit projects in primarily single-family zoned areas in San Francisco and Los Angeles under existing economic and design conditions. None of the modeled 5-unit projects would be financially feasible. Most 10-unit rental projects are not viable and would require reduced city fees, a partial property tax abatement, or a per-unit subsidy to be financially feasible and meet industry standard profit expectations in San Francisco or Los Angeles. I recommend several actions for the State and San Francisco Planning Department to consider, including increasing allowable density on single-family zoned lots in high-opportunity areas to 10 units, allowing single-stair/vertical shared access buildings, and revising local development design regulations.

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Working Paper Series (41)

The Industrial Division of Labor Among Immigrants and Internal Migrants to the Los Angeles Economy

Between 1985-90, the Los Angeles CMSA received about 400,000 working immigrants and about 575,000 working native in-migrants. We subdivide these native- and foreign-born migrants by national origin and race to examine the processes that channel recent arrivals into different industrial sectors. Our analysis extends previous research on migrant employment and the ethnic division of labor in two ways. We compare the employment of recent arrivals to residents for several groups across a large, diverse, regional economy. We also consider the role educational qualifications play in the allocation of different migrant groups to jobs. The results show that both native- and foreign-born groups channel into particular industrial sectors. The strength of group channeling, however, varies by national origin and ethnic group. For example, we find that native born white in-migrants typically take jobs based on their educational qualifications, whereas ethnic group effects dominate the choice of industry of recent Korean immigrants. Overall, white and black native-born residents and Filipino residents have employment distributions most dissimilar from recently arrived migrant groups other than their own. The employment distribution of Mexican residents is most like that of Mexican newcomers, but also quite similar to other recently arrived groups. The analysis suggests Mexican residents experience more labor market competition from migrants than other groups.

Social Capital or Social Closure? Immigrant Networks in the Labor Market

This paper offers a reconsideration and reconceptualization of the role of immigrant social networks in the labor market. As the literature suggests, and as I show, the social connections among workers, and between workers and employers, facilitate economic action; network recruitment is so pervasive because it improves the quality and quantity of information that both workers and employers need, and also shapes the employment relationship by imparting a set of understandings common to workers and employers. But once imported into a workplace, immigrant networks can be turned to other ends; the social closure potential of immigrant networks can also serve as an instrument for reallocating resources from management to labor, while simultaneously increasing opportunities for one group of ethnically distinctive workers at the expense of another. This effort to increase rewards by restricting access to resources and opportunities to a limited circle of eligibles generates an expansionary thrust, extending the penetration of immigrant networks beyond the range defined by considerations of an efficiency sort. I apply the neo-Weberian concepts of "exclusionary," "usurpationary," and "dual" closure to demonstrate how immigrant networks expand their reach.

The 2000 Census Undercount in Los Angeles County

This working paper reports the findings from an analysis of the estimated undercount of the population in the 2000 Census for Los Angeles County. The Bureau of the Census improved its performance for 2000 relative to 1990, but the enumeration was not complete. The are three key findings: 1) Los Angeles County has a disproportionate number of the undercounted population; 2) the undercounted population is unevenly distributed within Los Angeles County across neighborhoods, varying across neighborhoods from -0.3% to 5.9%; and 3) neighborhoods with the highest under-count rates tend to be poor and predominantly minority, and have a relatively large number of children. Because of the geographic differences, disadvantaged neighborhoods and populations are at risk of being under-represented, under-served, and under-funded.

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