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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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. (http://lewis.sppsr.ucla.edu/WorkingPapers.html)

Cover page of Opportunities for Agriculture and Solar in the Urban Fringe: The Antelope Valley as a Case Study

Opportunities for Agriculture and Solar in the Urban Fringe: The Antelope Valley as a Case Study

(2021)

In August 2019, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted OurCounty, an extensive and thorough regional sustainability plan for Los Angeles. Within Strategy 3A, which calls on the County to increase housing density and limit urban sprawl, is Action 47, which institutionalizes a County effort to “Support the preservation of agricultural and working lands, including rangelands, by limiting the conversion of these lands to residential or other uses...” The Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning (LACDRP) has been tasked by the Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office to identify responses that promote “equitable and sustainable land use and development without displacement.”

In this brief, the Antelope Valley is framed as an important case study that (1) highlights the current state of California’s desert farmlands and (2) the impact solar might have on these rural places. Specifically, this brief describes the patterns associated with these lands by farmland quality, physical land uses, and zoning, and assesses how these characteristics might influence or be influenced by the relationship the land has with ground-mounted utility-scale solar energy development. The brief then identifies policy mechanisms that the LACDRP can implement to better plan for both agriculture and solar.

Cover page of COVID-19 Impacts on Los Angeles Based Community Development Corporations

COVID-19 Impacts on Los Angeles Based Community Development Corporations

(2021)

The purpose of this research was to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on Los Angeles Based Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and highlight specific strategies for organizational resilience during unprecedented times. This research aimed to study the experience of Los Angeles CDCs when facing an unprecedented crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of the changing landscape, the study’s findings suggest that the overall goals of CDCs in Los Angeles have not changed; rather, the methods to implement their mission have shifted. To ensure stability and maintain vitality during the COVID-19 pandemic, strategic methods included: collaborating with other organizations, utilizing new funding sources, expanding/reorganizing the roles of different employees, creating new programs, and strengthening interpersonal employee talent and relationships. Overall, the survey and interview findings from Los Angeles-based CDCs suggest that neighborhood-based organizations can reorient their work to fit the specific needs of their constituents and maintain viability.

Cover page of Whose Budget is it Anyway? Demystifying the City of Los Angeles Transportation Budgeting Process

Whose Budget is it Anyway? Demystifying the City of Los Angeles Transportation Budgeting Process

(2020)

The purpose of this research is to investigate the current process through which the City of Los Angeles develops and approves its annual budget, with a particular emphasis on the role of transportation funding within this process. Additionally, the research focuses on ways for community-based organizations to become more effectively involved in the City's budgeting process. The research methods included professional interviews with city staff involved in or knowledgeable on the budgeting process, as well as focus groups with members of community-based organizations interested in potential budget advocacy. The results of the research revealed a much more complex process than the relatively straightforward timeline presented by the City itself. “Transportation” has a complicated role in the budgeting process because it means many different things to many different people. The report concludes with recommendations for community-based organizations to engage most effectively with the City's budgeting process. The report also includes an educational tool to be used by the research client organization (Investing in Place) in future budget advocacy coalition-building endeavors.

Cover page of Meeting Travel Needs: Becoming Reacquainted with a Community’s Unmet Travel Needs

Meeting Travel Needs: Becoming Reacquainted with a Community’s Unmet Travel Needs

(2020)

Our current examples of transportation needs assessments focus on existing and established travel behaviors to predict the needs of a community, but there are populations that face additional burdens that are not captured outside of surveys and data collection efforts in academia. The goal of this research is to identify the best practices to collect data on the unmet travel needs of a neighborhood, particularly for disadvantaged populations. This project is a mixed-methods approach involving a literature review, open-ended interviews with academics and professionals with survey experience, and focus groups with community members in Downtown Huntington Park. This study finds that the ideal approach for collecting information on the travel needs of a neighborhood combines the benefits of active and passive data collection using smartphone-based surveys and thorough outreach to ensure that the survey instrument works for underrepresented populations. The current efforts to study the travel needs of disadvantaged populations in studies occur at a smaller scale, but with a focused effort in relationship building and community context. There are quality resources, examples, and guides for community needs assessments that can serve as a template for agencies seeking to explore the needs of their communities, such as the Mobility Equity Framework and the University of Kansas Community Tool Box. Community members in Downtown Huntington Park conveyed a willingness to participate in a smartphone-based travel survey, expressed their car-dependent nature, and provided valuable feedback on how outreach could be conducted in their neighborhood.

Cover page of School Transportation Equity for Vulnerable Student Populations through Ridehailing: An Analysis of HopSkipDrive and Other Trips to School in Los Angeles County

School Transportation Equity for Vulnerable Student Populations through Ridehailing: An Analysis of HopSkipDrive and Other Trips to School in Los Angeles County

(2020)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (2015) gave foster youth additional legal protections in school, including the right to transportation and the right to remain at their school despite any moves, similar to protections already in place for students experiencing homelessness and students with disabilities. Californiaís compliance with this mandate was relatively more difficult than other statesí, as less than ten percent of students in California travel by school bus, compared with 35 percent nationally. Thus, California schools could not simply tap into their existing services to provide transportation for foster youth. Ridehailing offers a solution to this gap. HopSkipDrive, a ridehailing company designed to transport children, engages in contracts with school districts and county governments to provide school transportation for these vulnerable student populations. In 2018ñ2019, HopSkipDrive provided 32,796 trips to school in Los Angeles County, with massive time savings over the logical alterative: transit. Using Googleís Directions API, I determine that HopSkipDrive offers time savings of nearly 70 percent compared with the same trips simulated on transit. HopSkipDriveís trips average 28 minutes in duration, yet on transit only 30 percent would have taken less than 45 minutes. This is despite 90 percent of all origins and destinations being located within a half-mile of a transit stop. This service has important social equity implications beyond just time savings offered to vulnerable student populations, as HopSkipDrive contract trips tend to originate in neighborhoods with high percentages of low-income households and people of color.