UEP Senior Comprehensive Projects, "Comps" as they are more commonly referred to, often stretch beyond the classroom to interact, impact and evaluate public policy issues at the local, national and even global level.
Check out the most current comps projects:
Class of 2013
Refined Corporate-Community Relations: Is a Community Benefits Agreement Possible in Richmond, CA?
By Alexander Acuña '13
Communities living in close proximity to oil refineries are constantly exposed to a high level of emissions, poor health, poverty and the constant threat of industrial accidents. Oil companies will often pretend to be a benevolent member of this community, but the benefits residents receive is paltry compared to the profits received from the refinement of petroleum products. This is particularly true in Richmond, a small city in the East San Francisco Bay. For over 110 years, Richmond has been politically, economically, and environmentally dominated by the presence of a Chevron refinery. In order to preserve health and safety, and increase the utility of the refinery for the community, Richmond community organizations are attemping to negotiate a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). While a CBA traditionally occurs in the context of a new real estate development, the challenge presented here is whether a CBA will work in the context of a long established industrial facility. This study seeks to determine whether a CBA can be negotiated in the context of Richmond. To do this, I analyze case studies of similar corporate-community agreements, interview community organizers, Chevron employees, non-profit workers, and city councilment in Richmond, and ultimately assess the various community leverages and challenges community groups face in trying to get Chevron to negotiate with them.
Stepping Stones to Success: the Determining Factors of Best Practices and Policies for Sexual Violence Prevention at Small Liberal Arts Colleges
By Fátima A. Avellán '13
It is horrifying to accept that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 33 men will experience an attempted or sexual assult in their lifetime, because even one is too much. What is even worse is that some schools are not doing as much as they should be doing to ensure that these crimes stop happening on their campus. Undoubtedly, some large public and private universities have been successful at addressing and preventing sexual violence on their campus. However, I see hardly any passion from small liberal arts colleges in truly committing to eradicate sexual violence from their campus. This research focuses on identifying the factors (or pre-conditions) that determine small liberal arts colleges implementing and accomplishing best practices and policies in preventing sexual violence. With the help of experts, students, administrators, and professors, I found that there are six determining factors that lead schools to achieving best practices and policies. Such factors include: commitment from the institution of high education; adequate staffing and support; proper knowledge and training of the causes and effects of sexual violence; student and faculty involvement in reforming practices and policies; prioritizing students before public image and fear of lawsuits; and sufficient funding and resources. The factors can be fulfilled by institutions who are truly dedicated to protecting and serving their students and creating a culture that is free from sexual violence. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Schooling in the Barrio: The Lennox School District's Approach to Community Empowerment and Educational Mobility
By Lizet Barba '13
This report will provide an analysis of the unique community and educational system of Lennox California. It will examine the extend to which Community involvement affects the status of the Lennox School District. Since the Lennox School District is different from most others in the United States, in that it is unincorporated, the research will draw attention to the fact that when it comes to parents and community involvement in this district, there are no limits. Over the last decade, Lennox School District has seen an immense improvement in ommunity involvement and has defied many of the stereotypical trends that are often seen in other urban school districts. A new generation of parents has stepped forward and wants to be sure that their voices be heard. Because of the tightness of the community and small size of the school district, everyone has been able to work together to make change happen. Despite the various challeneges that teh community of Lennox faces by being an unincorporated city, the educatonal system has enabled individuals to feel empowered and stand up for what they feel is best both for the community as a whole and for the education of ever child within the community. With the help of the school board of trustees, efforts have resulted in beter teacher interaction, parent interaction, authenticity of culture, and an exceptional bilinqual education.
All Bulk Everything: Opportunities and Barriers for Access to 'Good' Food with a Focus on Participation by Low-income Communities
By Clarissa Boyajian '13
This paper addresses the topic of bulk food buying clubs (BFBCs) as a potential means to bring cheap "good" (healthy, sustainable, organic, and local) food to low-income urban areas. The questions reserached are: Can BFBCs be effective models to address food security issues in urban areas? If not, why are they not effective models? What other problems arise and how can they be solved? Have BFBCs tried and failed to address the issues? If so, why did they fail? Research was gathered through the use of interviews and surveys conducted in Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Interviewees consisted of those involved in BFBCs, anti-hunger groups, and city food policy councils and surveys were distrubted to other BFBC members through interviewees. Survey and interview responses and case studies of four Portland BFBCs showed that the majority of BFBCs are not accessible to low-income households or people of color. Most respondents reported that the availability of affordable, "good" food was what was best about their BFBCs. Full Text
Taking the Kinks Out of Yor Hair and Out of Your Mind: A Study of Black Hair and the Intersections of Race and Gender in the United States
By Tyler B. Brewington '13
This report reframes the discussion around dominant beauty standards by emphasizing the need to expand the definition of who is considered to be beautiful by American standards of beauty. Specifically, this report takes a look at the natural hair movement and how the movement has propelled Black women to reevaluated the standards of beauty that they currently operate under - and it asserts that Black women are taking deliberate steps towards improving the language and attitudes that are cultivated in Black beauty culture. The natural hair movemetn is seeking to critically analyze how these actions are reaffirming the dominant European standard of beauty. The use of hair blogs online establishes a special opportunity that cound potentially turn the natural hair movement into a larger social movement offline that fosters equity and inclusion of various types of beauty. Full Text
Displacement and Gentrification in Low-Income Communities Connected to the Los Angeles 30/10 Plan: Who is Vulnerable, What Can Be Done to Prevent Deepening Inequality, and How L.A.'s Explamded Transit System Can Succeed
By Charlotte Bromley '13
Los Angeles is today undergoing one of the biggest public transportation system expansions in the country. The city is notorious for its smog, traffic, public health problems, and the economic disparities that exist between its high and low-income citizens. Through the expansion of its public transportation system, L.A. is in a unique situation where it has the opportunity to address all of these issues simultaneously. However, the matter must be approached deliberately and carefully. In Los Angeles and across the United States there has been a pattern emerging of new public transit stations built in low-income communities leading to gentrification and the displacement of low-income families. This displacement and the increased cost of livin associated with gentrification can undermine the purpose of building new transit, not only for the transit agency, but most importantly, for the families. Numerous studies, conducted both publicly and privately, show that public transit is overwhelmingly utilized by lower-income individuals, people of color, zero or one-car families, and renters, yet these are exactly the people that are being displaced from the neighborhoods where many new transit stations are constructed. Full Text
Back to the Future? The Reintroduction of Streetcar Service in Downtown Los Angeles
By Kevin Brunke '13
Although vanishing from the streets of Los Angeles five decades ago, streetcars may soon be traversing downtown Los Angeles' urban landscape by 2016. Yet, unlike the streetcars of yore, the modern streetcar will be a 3.75 mile couplet that serves downtown's various activity centers. However, what are the consequences of this development for a buisness and residentialcommunity that have called downtown Los Angeles home for years? And can a modern streetcar system be truly feasible in a city that still largely pursues policies that greatly favor the automobile over alternative modes of transportation? This study finds that the streetcar route is not only duplicative of existing servies in downtown Los Angeles, but that efficiency has been sacrificed for economic development. This study also finds that there is a divide between the development interests that wish to see the streetcar built and the population that has called Los Angeles home for many years. While downtown developers perceive the streetcar as a tool that will continue the downtown "renaissance" that began when the Staples Center was built, the lower-income population views the streetcar as a tool of gentrification that will aid in the future displacement of the lower income population in downtown Los Angeles.
Will Sports Save the American City: Deconstructing the Power Dynamics Between Public, Private, and Community Interest: A case Study of Los Angeles
By Roxanne Butler '13
Grassroots Greening: Motives for Involvement in Proposition 84 Funded School Grenning Porjects in LAUSD
By Eliza Campbell '13
While many view the placement of natural environments in schools as a luxury, a growing grassroots movement in Los Angeles is advocating that it is a necessary asset for education. Looking beyond the more obvious environmental implications, these advocates for school development are arguing, with support from research, that exposure to green space can improve health, aid academic performance and foster a sense of community. Parent volunteer, community organizations and government agencies are working together to implement greening projects at ten different schools across Los Angeles with funding from grants provided by Proposition 84, or The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006. This study look in-depth at one of those, Eagle Rock Elementary, Information about projects at two other schools, Victory Boulevard Elementary and Walnut Park Elementary Schools will be brought in to the analysis to provide a broader perspective of Proposition 84 funded developments in schools. This study looks at the motives of participants in grassroots school greening projects in Los Angeles with funding from Proposition 84. The participants in this research project are parent volunteers and experts representing the organization supporting each grant. They reported academic performance, health and community engagement as reasons why green schools are beneficial. The experts also spoke passionately about the sustainability potential.
Si se Puede? Organizing Workers Along the Food Supply Chain: Comparing the Strategies and Tactics of Worker Centers and Unions
By Jordan DeLano '13
This paper discusses emerging worker centers working along the food supply chain and dissect the differences in strategy and tactics of unions and worker centers working along the food supply chain. This paper is particular discusses the restaurant, grocery and farming sectors of the food supply chain. This paper in particular discusses the restaurant, grocery and farming sectors of the food supply chain. These sectors of the food supply chain are particularly difficult to organize, leaving holes for organizations with non-traditional structure and tactics. In the context of a diminishing labor movement, worker centers provide a promising alternative to unions. In particular, worker centers along the food supply chain have used their fexibility for truly remarkable victories, such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Restaurant Opportunities Center and OUR Walmart. This paper finds the differences in tactics, structure and strategy that create the challenges and opportunities that worker centers and unions face in their efforts to organize workers along the food supply chain. The reserach finds that worker centers are able to effectively use consumer engagement, which is particularly important along the food supply chain. Consumers have shifted standards of industry in the food chain, with the most recent examples being the organic and local food movement. Worker centers and unions have tried to create connections wit hthe food movement to advocate for workers' rights, as exemplified in the food justice movement. As both worker centers and unions reach out to consumers, it is important to gauge the level of engagement each type of organization can foster. This paper analyzes the implications that the structure of worker centers and unions have in organizing workers along the food supply chain.
Rooftop Gardens: A Green Solution to Los Angeles' Urban Problems
By Noah Donnell-Kilmer '13
My senior comprehensive project looks sat rooftop gardens, specifically their application at affordable housing sites in Los Angeles. I partnered with Esperanza Community Housing Corporation to look into this topic, but also make useful suggestions for all affordable housing groups. Over the course of the inital research it became clear that the issue could not be addressed solely on an individual building level, but that a city-wide approach was also necessary. Thus, this report includes both a guide for affordable housing groups and a comparative case study of Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles' rooftop gardening policies. The affordablwe housing section is a compilation of background research and interviews with local Los Angeles affordable housing organizations. Through this research I map out the challeneges and benefits of rooftop gardening for affordable housing sites. From this information, suggestions are made for overcoming the challeneges and maximizing the benefits. It is important to note that not all projects and housing sites are created the same, thus not all housing sites will find every piece of this report applicable. Moreover, this guide is not exhaustive and there are certainly more solutions if a group is creative. Full Text
Surviving Sandy: Stories of Environmental Stewardship
By Elizabeth Dutton '13
Expanding upon social-ecological systems (SES) resilience literature that challenges traditional and fear-cultured images of chaos and destruction in the aftermath of disasters, Surviving Sandy: Stories of Urban Environmental Stewardship examines the catalysts and inhibitors of resilience in the form of civic ecology practices in New York City after Hurricane Sandy. Conducted two months after Hurricane Sandy swept New York City, civic ecology practices took resilient forms in reparation efforts within urban green spaces, such as community gardens, parks, and street trees. Working in collaboration with the Civic Ecology Lab, this report hopes to affirm the need for a resilience-focused disaster mitigation framework and cultural ideology that emphasizes community involvement. Drawing on interviews with community organiation employees and New York City residents as well as an online survey, this report first examines how Hurricane Sandy and the damage it caused affected place attachment (topophilia), connection to nature (biophilia), and social-ecological networks. It then addresses how changes in topophilia, biophilia, and social-ecological networks were able to transfer into SES resilience in the forms of social learning and improvisation, and in cases where it didn't, what the barriers to resilience were. Full Text: Part 1 Part 2
By Alex Forster '13
Solar energy in California has changed in many ways since the creation of Mayor Antonio Villiagosa's Solar LA plan in 2008. The plan was in response to the first renewable portfolio standard goal by 20% by 2017 set by the LADWP that was later extended to 33% by 2020 through Senate Bill 2. Solar LA ha been able to produce aconsiderable amount of solar in Los Angeles through its various programs. One of the more prominent ones is the new Feed-in Tariff system (FiT). This along with large-scale utility owned solar projects being constructed in the desert has led Los Angeles towards a more solar future. The Solar LA plan has three componants, the Customer Solar Program, by 2020 Solar LA is projected to produce 1.3 gigawatts of solar distributed across the Los Angeles basin and in surrounding areas. The plan has been on track with LADWP achieving a 20% renewable portfolio standard goal in 2010. As the market continue to mature over time it will be important for policy makers to be able to adapt. This will be in the form of new and inventive policies that will continue to drive the demand forward. Full Text
How Design Impacts Social Interaction and Overall Health in Affordable Housing Complexes in Los Angeles
By Elizabeth Hall '13
This research was conducted to provide a clear picture of the relationship between affordable housing design and residents' overall health. The paper begins with a brief history of affordable housing in the United States in order to introduce and provide historical context for the comprehensive subject. The U.S. history is followed with a brief historical section concentrated on affordable housing in Los Angeles. I then discuss the research that does exist on the interaction between health and housing design. A case study of three different housing organizations allows me to compile research on current design practices in affordable housing complexes in Los Angeles. These case studies illustrate design praticies that have been deemed successful and allow me to solidify recommendations for future affordable housing construction. Finally, I end the paper with a concluding paragraph on why this subject is so vital to Los Angeles and the nation.
Little Bangledesh in Los Angeles: A Study on Community Engagement and the Function of an Ethic Enclave
By Somath Hasina '13
This research paper attemps to discover how community engagement can be increased in the ethnic enclave of Little Bangladesh, and ways in which it can improve to better serve the needs of the Bangladeshi community. Interviews were conducted with key members of the Bangladesh Unity Federation of Los Angeles (BUFLA), the primary support group for Bangladeshi's in Los Angeles, to determine how this organization can aid in promoting community engagement, and ways in which it can secure the continued existence of the enclave. This paper finds that offical designation has only aided Bangladeshi businesses in improving business, but also in helping spread the Bangladeshi culture with other communities. Further, most Bangladeshi individuals feel that the designation of Little Bangladesh is both a good representation of Bangladeshi culture and community in Los Angeles. The enclave is utilized for several purposes, including cultural, economic, and social needs. However, my reserach shows that women and youth feel that they are not very active within the communty of Little Bangladesh. BUFLA must take a leading role in order to continue the advancement of the enclave. They must actively reach out to women and youth in the region, as well as work with the city to incorporate new facilities into the area. Most importantly, BUFLA must work with surrounding groups and form alliances with the broader Los Angeles community to advance the goals of the enclave.
Housing First as a Solution to Homelessness
By Uriah Johnson '13
Homelessness is not merely the experience of being without shelter or a home. More likely than not, those who experience long or multiple stints of homelessness do so as a result of specific issues associated with episodic and chronic homelessness. Ellen Hart-Shegos explains episodic homelessness for families saying, "These families may have been homeless several times, but homelessness is caused primarily by economic problems rather than disabilities. Their primary need is to become fully employed to prevent further homelessness." On the other hand, individuals and families who are in need of intensive, long term treatment or services to achieve stability generally experience chronic homelessness. More specifically, individuals who suffer from mental illness and/or addiction; formerly homeless youth, particiularly those who were in foster careconvicts have the highest risk of becoming chronically homeless. The Housing First program structure is significant because it successfully addresses the needs characteristically seen in both chronically and episodically homeless individuals and families. With this in mind, I question: how can the use of the housing first model be a more effective approach to addressing homelessness in cities across the nation? To answer this, I will observe two different uses of this model implemented in New York and Los Angeles that have been successful in assisting families and individuals in achieving sustainable permanent housing situations.
Changing the Face of Fashion: Evaluating the Meaning & Future of Sustainability Within the Fashion Industry
By Mili Kale '13
While many designers and companies in the fashion industry are slowly beginning to embrace the idea of sustainability as a core aspect to their businesses, these actions have yet to be adopted industry wide. Programs within large corporations, like H&M's Clothing Collective Initiative, as well ast he emergence of small label eco-fashion designers are most definitely steps in this direction; however sustainability and sustainable initiatives are today still an exception, rather than the norm. Sustainability can no longer be seen as a trend - it needs to be a concept embedded in to a business model or design method rather than one that lasts simply for the spring runway. This report examines the current state of sustainability within the fashion industry with the ultimate goal to examine how the ambiguous word of sustainability should be defined within the fashion industry, in ordr for the current sustainable fashion movement to gain traction within the industry, while also looking at how, if ever, larger, more established companies can change their current practices and include sustainability in the forefront of their business. This report found that sustainability is not something that can have one singular definition, but rather a concept that needs to be fully understood across all players in the industry: designers, consumers, manufacturers, and large retailers.
"Taking the Reins": Adaptive Horseback Riding for At-Risk Youth
By Allegra Keith '13
The term "therapeutic riding" or "equine therapy" encompasses a number of different services and modes of therapy. All therapeutic riding programs use horses in conjunction with instructors and volunteers to serve the needs of their clinets. However, there is a distinction btween different specific services. "Therapeutic riding" is an all encompassing term that typically refers to riding lessons for participants with different needs. Aside from this traditional form of equine therapy, there is also Hippotherapy, a service that specifcally focuses on the physical benefits of being on a horse, and the cognitive proesses that cancan be strengthened by this interaction. Where as therapeutic riding focuses on increasing riding skill and learning about the horse, Hippotherapy focuses less on learning direct information, and more on the motion and connection to the horse. This study is intended to assist Executive Directors of therapeutic riding centers and residential treatment facilities for youth alike in evaluating the potential benefits of such a partnership for their organization. Additionally, therapists working with families with troubled youth should be able to assess whethr an adaptive riding program would benefit their clients, and determine if they should recommend placement of their adolescent with a residential facility that offers equine services through a partnering entity. Full Text
Hammarby Sjöstad: A Role Model for Inspiration or Replication?
By Oliver Khan '13
In an era of increasing urbanization and consumption, the aspiring eco-city-district of Hammarby Sjöstad with its distinguished eco-cycle known as the Hammarby Model, is an international exemplar for inspiration in regards to sustainable urban development and sustainable waste management. The city district, today home to almost 20,000 people (expected to increase to at least 25,000 when the project is finalized in 2017), is situated in the municipality of Stockholm and does not have any self-governing decision-making power. Hammarby Sjöstad can serve as a model for replication regarding certain sustainability measures, although several aspects are difficult to replicate due to dissimilar political structures and political orientations. Moreover, the decision making process for sustainable measures in Sweden is ultimately carried out on a municipal level, yet all levels of city administration, together with public and private constituents and consultants, are involved in the process. This is not the case in many other countries, where private companies have more independence, and urban infrastructure is decentralized. The integrated approach and full-circle solution Hammarby Sjöstad represents, is the most principal aspect of the project, but its applications ahs important lessons for replication. These include the need for education, behavioral congruency with environmental agendas, setting attainable goals, and providing room for improvements and rearrangements.
Labor & Community Coalition Building in Local Politics; Lessons from the Portland Community Benefits Campaign
By Forrest Benjamin Kowalczyk '13
With the labor movement looking to regain its strength after roughly five decades of declining union density, progessive labor leaders have began to evolve movement strategy looking to aggressively organize in service sector industries and amongst historically excluded communities. Additionally, for the last two decades there has been a new emphasis on local political work, building coalitions with community allies to support economic justice and workforce initiatives. These coalitions likewise function to bring communities of traditionally excluded people into the movement. This study seeks to explore the significance of the coalition-based political workby examining a variety of policy tools including, living wage laws, construction careers policies, and community benefits agreements. This overview will contextualize the case study provided of the current community benefits agreement being advanced in Portland, Oregon by the Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity. This unique policy campaign, backed by historically disparate interests, is representative of the movement fusion occurring nationally, while also combining elements of previously distinct policy tools. Additionally, the Portland case study illuminates both the tremendous capacity for collaborative work between labor unions and community interests, as well as the lasting challenges that these innovative coalitions must overcome. Full Text
Surveying Transit Riders at Culver City Expo Station and the Wilshire/Western Purple Line Station: A Comparative Case Study of Mid-City/Westside Rail Expansion in Los Angeles
By Jonathan Krol '13
The ultimate aim of this research is to identify how and whether the expansion fo the Expo Line and tPurple Line meets the needs transit-commuters, while contrasting these demands with concerns of local communities lining the (potential) rail routes. Furthermore, I'm interested in why rail-users choose certain types of transit over others, including whether there is a correlation between transit/neighborhood characteristics and higher rates of transit and walking. Walking is along with bicycling, of supreme importance in Los Angeles when using public transportation. The development of businesses and transit preferences since the proliferation of the automobile in Los Angeles has certainly made it a challenge for commuters to get to their destinations using public transit alone (and in a reasonable time at that). Finally, I'd like to investigate the feasibility and/or necessity for more transit-oriented development (TOD) rail stations. I will conclude with my policy recommendations.
In the Trenches: Reflection of the Pedagogy and Policy of Teaching Los Angeles' English Language Learners
By Charlotte R. Krovoza '13
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) enrolls the highest concentration English language learners in the United States at 31 percent. However, the district is notoriously known for low graduation rates among its English learners (ELs), at 33%. IN light of this, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched an investigation in March of 2010 to see if the district's English learners have been denied educational opportunities. After 19-months, the OCR concluded that ELs indeed were denied opportunities. As part of the settlement, the Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department of LAUSD formed a committee to assist in writing an EL Master Plan. The stakes are incredibly high and this effort has the potential to redefine an EL student's future. If a revamp of EL instruction succeeds, the achievement gap will significantly shrink. Recognizing that teachers would ultimately be the ones responsible for the implantation of this new plan, I sought to interview teachers in the 2nd largest school district in the nation to better understand their insights into how a closing of the achievement gap may be realized. Full Text: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Our Weeping Beaches: The Most Effective Strategies to a Cleaner Coastline
By Conrad Liebowitz '13
This report discusses the negative impacts of marine debris along the Los Angeles Coastline. By using the Santa Monica Bay as a case study, this investigative study will inspect the most effective strategies to alleviate the negative impacts caused by marine debris. The population of Los Angeles has steadily grown over the years resulting in more trash input into the local coastal habitat. In response to this increase in trash input this study has been released to remain prevalent and provide up to date information and statistics. Full Text
Dead Space Reborn: Brownfield Redevelopment Along the LA River
By Jack Moreau '13
The Los Angeles River was once a lush valley to Native American tribes whom settled the space for its fertility. With the arrival of western culture a series of alterations, some minor, some major, ultimately led to the channelization of the river and the loss of much of its natural beauty. Where the river once served as a critical element for urban survival in Los Angeles, it had become a barrier, dividing the communities along side it. As the river became more unrecognizable, many factories used it as a dumping site for toxic chemicals. As a result, much of the river and the lands adjacent are contaminated with chemicals harmful to the surrounding communities. However, these contaminated sites now lie vacant and available for restoration. The G2 parcel of the union pacfic railroad Taylor Yard is an unused industrial site with potential of offer 44 acres or green space and connect North East Los Angeles to the LA River. The City of Los Angeles Released an LA River Revitalization Master Plan in 2007 describing the cities vision and implementation practices for river restoration; among the projects listed in the G2 parcel. In addition, the Army Corps of Engineers is wrapping up a seven yearlong study on the levels of contamination present in the river, clean up strategies, and cost analyses. The ecosystem restoration of the G2 parcel would provide the surroudnign communities with greatly needed public space. The ultimate vision for the LA river is to provide a greenway system wherein a series of public greenspaces and network of alternative transportation connect the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean.
A Food (R)evolution: A Look at How Mobile Food is Changing Los Angeles
By Kiran L. Rishi '13
The following report portrays an extensive case study comparing the Loncheras, or taco trucks, that cruise the streets of the Los Angeles and the newer "hip" gourmet food trucks - Twitter trucks. The goal of the report is to establish how patrons access food trucks and mobile food, and how policies and the history of street vending has shaped the street food culture that has existed for over 100 years in Los Angeles. The report provides background research on the history and evolution of street food and street vending in Los Angeles, and briefly examines the current heated sidewalk vending battle that is taking place in the city. The background examines how street vending began in Los Angeles, and looks at health and vending policies in Los Angeles as well as Portland and New York City. The results found that the majority of patrons access trucks by car, exhibiting the irony of "mobile" food. Additionally, the results found that opening a food truck is in fact a means of survival for many families, and the long history of Loncheras serves witness. Finally, the report concludes with a series of policy recommendations surrounding food trucks and street vending that would help to establish vending zones and areas for trucks to operate that would build communities and allow street vending to become a part of the fabric of Los Angeles.
Tracking the Nature of Urban Transit in Boston and Los Angeles: How the Nature of a Community's Public Transit System Affects Accessibility to Health Care
By Shylana Roman '13
Equalizing Access in the Fair Trade: An Examination of Gender Equity across Nicaraguan Coffee Cooperatives
By Caitlin Ruppel '13
This research project examined how gender equity is being addressed at coffee cooperatives across the northern region of Nicaragua. Three cooperatives situated in the departments of Matagalpa and Jinotega were studied: the Organization of Northern Coffee Cooperatives (CECOCAFEN), the San Ramón Cooperative Union (UCA San Ramón) and the Society of Small Coffee Producers, Exporters and Buyers Cooperative Union (UCA SOPPEXCCA). Three United States based partner organizations of these cooperatives were researched as well: Coffee Kids, the Community Agroecology network (CAN) and Cooperative Coffees. The research sough to analyze the differential impact that differing definitions may have on perceptions of gender equity and related practice within and across all levels of the Nicaraguan coffee cooperative network. Semi-structured interview, text analysis of gender policies and participant observation were used to answer the research question: waht might be the benefits and compromises of establishing a consistent definition of "gender equity" across all levels of the Nicaraguan coffee industry? Is there a need for a standard approach? Full Text
Why did We Occupy? Occupy Los Angeles as a Moment in Time
By Allyssa Scheyer '13
Occupy Wall Street was a social phenomenon that only lasted for about 2 months in New York, but left a legacy of national dialogue about wealth disparities in the United States, especially between the top one percent of income earners and the bottom 99 percent. The spirit of Occupy Wall Street was not confined to the protestors' campsite at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, however, and local Occupy camps sprouted up across the country. The Los Angeles camp, called Occupy LA, was an unusually diverse group of occupiers that chose to camp outside of City Hall in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. This encampment too lasted ony 2 months (58 days exactly), but it left a strong mark on Californian's political thought. In this paper I attempt to analyze why Occupy Wall Street was so attrctive to so many people (at least initally) and what the legacy that Occupy Wall Street and occupy Los Angeles left behind is. Using participant observation and interviews, I discovered that Occupy demonstrations empowered participants in a much different way than other types of political activism do. The focus of Occupy was on the collective needs, not the individual, and this focus allowed Occupy Wall Street and Occupy LA to attract numerous participants with diverse interests, all linked under a meta-narrative of financial injustice. Occupy camps also lacked a traditional leadership models, which initially helped attract supporters, but eventually led to the desertion of many participants.
Public Participation in Urban Planning
By Dylan Sittig '13
This report utilizes case studies of two groups in South Los Angeles, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), as well as a study of urban planner James Rojas' "design-based learning" workshops in order to examine how organizations educate and involve community members in urban planning decisions. Emphasis is placed on the "lived knowledge" of community members, and the pwoer that knowledge should afford community members to make informed decisions about their community. The "lived knowledge" enables community members to produce the best solutions to many urban problems, including poor housing conditions, exposure to environmental problems, and inadequate access to trnsportation options. Finally, this report recommends that community groups and city planners integrate more community input with the formal urban planning process. Full Text
Olympic-Sized Opportunities: AN Investigation of the Olympic Games as a Tool to Promote and Advance a Sustainable Agenda
By Emma Sorrell '13
During the last two decades, concerns for sustainability and the future of our planet entered into the public consciousness and became issues of global public policy. The Olympics have been especially scrutinized and criticized for extravagant use of natural resources, disregard for the natural environment and other environmental impacts, and incompatibility with sustainabilty principles. Although the Olympic Games may currently contribute to global environmental and sustainability problems, they also have an important role to play in identifying possible solutions. Using London 2012 as a case study, this project aims to investigate how, in addition to making the staging of the Olympic Games more sustainable, the Olympics can be used as a tool to promote and advance a long-term sustainability agenda, and how those changes can be instituionalized and integrated into the fabric of society. With proper leadership, and planning that considers its legacy from the very beginning, the Olympics can be used as a tool to improve the sustainability of both the host city and the Olympic supporting industries. This report analyzes two mini case-studies: one examining the city planning and public works initiatives carried out by the London 2012 organizing committees (the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA)), and the other looking at LOCOG's attempt to integrate environmental sustainability efforts into the activities of their long-term corporate sponsor Coca-Cola. As a result, this report identifies if/how sustainability initiatives were successfully implemented, offers suggestions on how host cities may effectively use these strageties in the future, and presents recommendations, for host cities, NGO advocacy organizations, and the International Olympic Committee, on how to more effectively use the Olympic Games as a catalyst for change. Full Text
Revitalizing Traditional Food Systems: An Evaluation of Food Sovereignty Initiatives on the Navajo Nation
By Margeau Valteau '13
In the United States today, many Native American reservations continue to struggle with poverty, limited resourceds, food insecurity, and high rates of diet related diseases. For thousands of years before European colonization, Native Americans survived on healthy diets of foods that they produced, gathered and hunted. These traditional foods and food systems declined when the Native Americans were forced from their original lands, causing them to lose their food sovereignty and conform to a foreign, "Western" diet. Put on reservations desigend to restrict Native Americans in many ways, Native Americans still find it difficult to access healthy foods and grocery stores, causing them to rely on federal food assistance programs. In an effort to combat food insecurity, Native Americans look at food sovereignty - the ability of communities to regain control of their food system, from production to its distribution and consumption to its role in culture - to help their people recreate a healthy food system. The Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the United States, is one of the tribes working on (re)creating their healthy food system through food sovereignty strategies. Many of these efforts come from community-based organizations, separate from the Navajo Nation government. This study examines the efforts and programs of five organizations, in the western and central parts of the Navajo Nation, that are currently working to make the Navajo Nation more food sovereign and improve food access and healthy for Navajo people.
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An In-Depth Analysis of Federally Qualified Health Centers in Los Angeles County and the Implementation fo the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
By Jessica Welty '13
This paper is an examination of the effects of the Medicaid expansion in California, Medi-Cal as it is known within the state, on Federally Qualified Health Centers, or safety net clinics in Los Angeles County. To begin with there is a history of health care reform within the United States, starting with the passage of the most recent legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This is specifically looking at the expansion of Medicaid and increased funding to community clinics. Additionally, the case of health care reform in Massachusetts is framed as a model for expansion to help understand how health care reform will effect the population. The research is then situated through looking at the role of Community Clinics more broadly, and specifically within Los Angeles County, where the bulk of the paper is focused. Through an examination of State and County policy, as well as an in-depth analysis of Federally Qualified Health Centers in Los Angeles County, I look to examine the preparedness of these organizations moving forward towards 2014 and their ability to adequately serve an increased patient population. Full Text
Do or Die: How Organized Labor Beat Prop 32 and What it Means for the Labor Movement
By Clara Wheatley-Schaller '13
This paper explores recent attempts by consedrvative forces to weaken the labor movement through state legislation and ballot initiatives and offers a case study of Proposition 32, a "paycheck protection" ballot initiative in California in the 2012 election. Labor unions organized, mobilized and campaigned heavily to successfully defeat Proposition 32. Through the mobilization organized labor united and built coalition with environmental groups, good government groups, and community organizations. Backers of these anti-union efforts argue that they are successful to some extend regardless of the outcome on Election day because they distract unions from organizing and force them to spend millions defending their existing rights. However, labor and community leaders argue that although they would rather be organizing than playing defense, Prop 32 was an opportunity for unions to unite and build relationsisp with other progressive organizations, which presents opportunities to go on offense and advance the labor movement.
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