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.
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 [...]
The 23rd annual UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium on the Transportation - Land Use - Environment Connection will explore the implications of recent and foreseeable future technological innovations for transportation, land use, and environmental policy and planning. The Symposium is an annual invitation-only retreat attended by about 125 policy makers and senior policy analysts from around the country. Many of the most prominent thinkers and policy makers from around the globe have spoken in this series. The Symposium is a joint endeavor of ITS and the Lewis Center. For more information and to view the 2013 program, click here.
Professor Albert Saiz,of MIT visited the Lewis Center in May to discuss his research findings about interest rates and their connection with fluctuations in housing prices. Speaking to an audience of 25, he found that the interest rate-housing prices link has significant consequences for wealth accumulation, labor mobility, consumption, macroeconomic volatility, and financial market stability. However, Prof. Saiz noted that it is difficult to know if housing price movements are due to fundamental factors such as rental prices or "irrational exuberance". Prof. Saiz shared grounded theoretical expectations about the impact of changes in rental prices on home values. He stated that rental prices and rental expenditures are explained at least in part by interest rates, and that expected changes in home values are a function of the supply elasticity of housing and the initial share of land relative to prices in a city. Prof. Saiz spoke as part of a spring series of lectures focusing on housing.
The 23rd annual UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium on the Transportation - Land Use - Environment Connection will explore the implications of recent and foreseeable future technological innovations for transportation, land use, and environmental policy and planning. The Symposium is an annual invitation-only retreat attended by about 125 policy makers and senior policy analysts from around the country. Many of the most prominent thinkers and policy makers from around the globe have spoken in this series. The Symposium is a joint endeavor of ITS and the Lewis Center.
Three UCLA transportation Ph.D. graduates have accepted new positions recently. Camille Fink is now Associate Editor at American Planning Association Press. Andrew Mondschein is Assistant Professor of Urban & Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia. Michael Smart is Assistant Professor of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Congratulations and best of luck in your new positions!