Cities & Towns

As the world continues to urbanize, we’re investigating and analyzing how communities of all sizes can be vibrant, just and sustainable communities for the health of residents and our planet.


In the News


Daniel Swain for New York Times — In Southern California, a Wildfire That May Foreshadow a Hazardous Summer

The Post Fire in Los Angeles County burns over 15,000 acres, raising alarm for dangerous fire season in the West. Experts warn of overgrown vegetation after wet winters. “This is…

Wildfire Burns Across Southern California, firefighters try to mitigate wildfire


UCLA to guide the prioritization and evaluation of equity strategies for LADWP’s clean energy transition

Last year, as part of the study, the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation (LCI) and colleagues provided LADWP with recommendations for robust, long-term solutions to low-income customers’ ability to pay their bills through the clean energy transition. Now, in partnership with the UCLA California Center for Sustainable Communities, our researchers are digging deeper into energy equity issues to guide the agency’s development, implementation, and evaluation of these recommendations. “LADWP has the opportunity to lead the nation in how to achieve a more just energy transition,” said Stephanie Pincetl, director of the UCLA California Center for Sustainable Communities, “and we are honored to help facilitate that possibility.”

electric bill and calculator


Will changes at San Gabriel Mountains National Monument serve LA’s communities of color?

Stephanie Pincetl, a professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and founding director of the university’s California Center for Sustainable Communities, said that LA County needs to provide more public open space close to where people live. That way, city dwellers need not drive to the mountains in such high numbers in order to enjoy nature. Another way of limiting visitation, she said, might lie in initiating the kind of permitting strategy used at other popular parks, such as Yosemite, which caps guest numbers per day. Pincetl believes the importance of the lands to Indigenous people only heightens the need for better stewardship by all visitors and caretakers. “These spaces have historic cultural value and meaning for tribal people, and we’re asking them to share,” she said. “How do we graciously acknowledge their generosity in sharing this land with us by taking good care of it ourselves?”

A child plays along the Arroyo Seco near Switzer Picnic Area, San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.


Downtown S.F.’s office buildings are guzzling tons of energy no one is using

Building experts say it’s no surprise that empty offices are burning so much energy. Electrical infrastructure like elevators consumes energy even when not in use, as do the pumps that maintain water pressure for faucets and toilets, said Eric Fournier, research director at UCLA’s California Center for Sustainable Communities. Turning these off would make it hard for buildings to “maintain a posture of openness.” A building is “kind of a living thing,” he said. “You can’t just cut the cord on it and expect it to carry on in good health for a long period of time.” Air conditioning systems are also kept on in empty buildings to avoid structural problems, mold and water-borne illnesses. The design of these large offices, many of which were built over a century ago, typically assumes a certain range of temperatures, Fournier explained. “If you deviate from that for a prolonged period, weird things happen that could be very expensive to fix.”

Salesforce West at 50 Fremont St. is among the office buildings in San Francisco using lots of energy.


UCLA’s Comprehensive Sustainability Plan

UCLA has a long history of sustainability leadership — from early energy efficiency efforts and the formation of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability in the 1990s, to the establishment of…

How Climate Change Will Impact California, Interview with Dr. Alan Barreca

Interview on The Young Turks ScIQ with UCLA environmental economist Alan Barreca by Jayde Lovell about climate change effects on public health, vulnerable communities, and the state of California. They also…


LADWP LA100 Equity Strategies Chapter 13. Energy Affordability and Policy Solutions Analysis

Pierce, Gregory; Coffee, Daniel; Sheinberg, Rachel; Patterson, Shona; Trumbull, Kelly ;Dunlap, Lauren; Sundar, Shweta; Pugh, Carolyn; Murillo, Alberto

Working Paper | 2023

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Pollution, Light

T. Longcore

Published Work | 2023 | Encyclopedia of Biodiversity (Third Edition)