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.
2022 UEP Senior Comprehensive Projects
Rockaway, NY: A Community Diving Headfirst into Closing the Water Competancy and Ocean Literacy Gap
This research project seeks to understand the racial and socioeconomic barriers to water competency and ocean literacy in coastal communities like Rockaway, NY. Specifically, how are community organizations addressing the racial and socioeconomic disparities in ocean literacy and water competency?
by Manon Achard
"Of Fur and Scales": Analyzing Differences in Invasive Predator Management Policies in California and Florida
by Lachlan Ashenmiller
Burning Behind Bars: The 'Cruel and Unusual' Punishment of Climate Change Impacting the Incarcerated Population of Texas
As the repercussions of anthropogenic climate change grow increasingly detrimental across the planet, the incarcerated population bears the brunt of global warming. This research project investigates inmates’ disproportionate exposure to extreme heat and humidity through a constitutional, human rights, and environmental justice framework.
by Madison Bluth
Micro-Fashion Designing: An Examination of Sustainable Garment Production and Fast Fashion Alternatives
An emerging subsect of the sustainable fashion industry identified by this study, micro-fashion designing is a form of garment production where each part of the production process is operated by one person. The purpose of this study is to examine micro-fashion designing practices, and further, to determine if they can be translated into the larger fashion industry. This study reviews existing literature on the linear economy and the environmental and social impacts of the fast fashion industry.
by Caterina Burch
Shrink the Links: Analyzing the Potential of Repurposing Golf Courses in Los Angeles
Los Angeles growth patterns and land use policies of the past have created a sprawling metropolis with very little space left to continue growing out from the city’s urban core. This sprawl has led to a county-wide lack of developable land in areas that continue to grow in population and struggle with deficiencies in both housing and park land. Looking to creative solutions to that lack of developable land, I found the 91 golf courses within 20 miles of Los Angeles to present themselves for analysis. This research aims to find if golf courses in Los Angeles could be repurposed to be developed in a way that maximizes social benefit to the people of Los Angeles.
by Jack Conroy
Why are Toxic Clean-ups Taking So Long? The Role of Time in the Remediation of Environmentally Contaminated Sites
Toxic cleanups are complex and take time. However, the longer a person is exposed to toxic elements, the worse their public health outcome. Chronic exposure, especially to chemicals such as lead, leads to a higher risk of health problems. With that in mind, generally, a faster cleanup would be better for community health. This paper investigates how long toxic cleanups take and why. Specifically, we examine sources of funding for each cleanup and the poverty of the community surrounding the site.
by Tessa Davis
Art Spaces in Northeast Los Angeles: A qualitative study on their perceptions of their role in Gentrification and how they engage their community
This research concerns the relationship between art and gentrification and the relationship between art spaces and the communities surrounding them. Within this topic, this study poses and answers two questions: how do art spaces in Northeast Los Angeles perceive the role of art in gentrification and how do how do art spaces engage in anti-gentrification efforts and in benefitting their communities?
by Julia Driscoll
The Effect of Outdoor Mindfulness Activities on Elementary Students' Mental Wellness
As we continue to see a rise in youth mental health challenges, it is necessary younger generations have access to tools that may help navigate the complexities of the world while cultivating a respectful relationship with our environment. In collaboration with staff and students at Loreto Elementary school, this research analyzed the impact that outdoor mindfulness activities have on children's mental wellness. Data and further evidence was gathered through qualitative surveys to better understand the elementary students’ feelings of wellness before and after an outdoor mindfulness activity.
by Julia Hansen
Fiscal Zoning in New Jersey: A Study on Single Family Zoning and Municipal Revenue
Zoning has played a large role in the development and creation of the New Jersey suburban landscape. In New Jersey, zoning and land-use decisions are almost entirely that of the municipality. For this reason, I chose to explore the potential for municipal revenue to act as incentive for municipalities to zone primarily single-family residential. This study chose to observe the correlation between single-family zoning share and municipal revenue variables of total revenue per capita, local tax revenue per capita, and local tax as a percentage of total revenue.
by Katie Hines
City Savings: the Level and Impact of Fiscal Reserves in California Cities
Reserve funds are an understudied fiscal tool for cities. This study collected reserve fund data for California cities, separated by formal reserve funds (restricted or committed funds according to GFOA Statement 54 fund definitions, designated for general emergency or budget-balancing purposes) and informal reserve funds (all unrestricted general fund balance).
by Jada Ho
Acorns as a Driver of Food System Resiliance in Native American Communities in Sonoma County
Food is an essential component of daily life. Because of this it is important that the food that we consume is healthy, accessible, and culturally appropriate. For Native Americans in Sonoma County acorns were the staple food source that provided reliable nutrition to tribes for generations. Due to colonization, displacement, and many forms of oppression at the policy level, the ability of the tribes to cultivate oak trees and subsequently harvest acorns has been severely diminished. This paper aims to examine how reimplementation of acorns as a staple food source can contribute to food system resilience in Indigenous communities in Northern California.
by Lily Hue
How Do Tax Ordinances Impact LA Transit Infrastructure? A Case Study of Downtown Los Angeles Metro's CAAP Policies and Strategies
The objective of this paper is to evaluate decarbonization in transportation efforts in Los Angeles, specifically examining Metro’s utilization of strategies in order to implement CAAP policies. I aim to examine the question of: What strategies are utilized by specific transport programs that are funded by Measure R and M to implement the decarbonization policies set by Metro’s 2019 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) in Los Angeles?
by Elizabeth Lai
Sprawling Regions: Perspectives from Transit Officials
Urban sprawl – also known as urban encroachment - has become an increasingly significant problem in the United States over the last century. This is worthy of attention because the negative outcomes associated with sprawl are considerable. Even within the relatively narrow confines of transportation, the ramifications of sprawl extend to issues concerning public health, the environment, and the economy. A driving factor behind the consequences of sprawl is its tendency to prioritize personal automobiles as a primary means of transportation. These consequences will be reviewed in further detail.
by Peter Merry
Los Angeles' War on the Poor: A Case Study in Militarism, Displacement, and Public Space at Echo Park Lake
This paper analyzes militarism, displacement, and public space in the urban environment through a case study of the March 2021 eviction of a tent community at Echo Park Lake, a public park in a gentrifying neighborhood in Los Angeles. Building on existing literature on spatial injustice, militarism, public space, and houselessness, this paper studies the Echo Park Lake sweep as a significant modern iteration of displacement and dispossession in the city’s long history of colonialism, racial capitalism, and state violence.
by Ina Morton
Adaptive Reuse and Cycling: A Case Study of Downtown Los Angeles Development and Active Transportation Infrastructure
by Anna Sasser
Garment Worker Cooperatives: An Examination Into Ethical Production in the Fashion Industry Applied to the Framework of Garment Worker Organizing in LA
As consumers have become more aware of sweatshop labor, unfair practices of big businesses, and the waste of the fashion industry, secondhand shopping, the “shop small” movement, and sustainable materials have appealed to consumers’ conscience. However, many small businesses or brands that use sustainable materials still do not pay livable wages to the people who make their pieces. Along with increased legal protections, new employment/business models have arisen across many industries to combat this inequitable distribution of profits. Garment workers and workers in all industries globally are looking to worker cooperative models of collective self-employment as an alternative. I am asking what the strategies and challenges are to developing and sustaining garment worker co-ops and how can those develop from the existing framework of garment worker organizing in L.A.
by Miya Woo