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.

2023 UEP Senior Comprehensive Projects

Controversies over Public Exam Schools: A Case Study Of Lowell High School in San Francisco Unified School District
This research investigates the contentious issue of public exam high schools. Public exam high schools select their student body predominantly through some measure of academic merit. Through a case study of Lowell High School in San Francisco, California, the only public exam high school in the school district, this research examines the role of selective schools in a district and what their future should look like, as districts strive for educational equity. 
by Madeline Aubry 
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Inequality in Urban Food Systems: Assessing Grocery Store Distribution within the City of Los Angeles
Food insecurity is a growing issue within cities. It is a crisis which disproportionately affects low income and people of color, as they have less access to fresh and nutritious foods, often leading to detrimental health consequences. This study explores these issues using the City of Los Angeles as a case study.
by Josh Beissinger
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Is this the end of public sector unions in America or a new beginning? A Case Study of the California Federation of Teachers
This report finds that, although right-to-work organizations have gotten stronger since the Janus decision, the California Federation of Teachers has grown its membership and financial reserves and thus offers a unique opportunity to study public sector union success in the post-Janus era.
by Leo Blain
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Nonprofit Music Education: A case study on the Harmony Project and Education Through Music - Los Angeles
This paper studies the state of music education in Los Angeles and the benefits and limitations of non profit music education organizations, like the Harmony Project and Education Through Music - Los Angeles, as well as possible solutions to overcome the barriers in access to music education.
by Stefan Ceara

Resident-Centered Design: Analyzing the Redevelopment of Public Housing Projects in California
Programs like HOPE VI or the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative along with tools like RAD fund private developers to revitalize distressed public housing projects both through investment but also the provision of new amenities and design principles in accordance with movements like New Urbanism. This study investigates to what degree the built environment within redevelopments such as is prioritized around resident needs as well as how specific design elements and policies facilitate this process.
by Oliver Corpus
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An analysis of SAG-AFTRA film and TV set safety regulations and perceptions: Are they doing enough?
The recent shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchens, on the SAG Production “Rust”, has brought much awareness to the lack of safety on union sets. There has been a significant amount of media attention and literature of late that places blame on the inexperienced non union personnel that work on SAG productions. This article proposes to identify from the literature the failures that occurred, why they occurred and what can be done to prevent them in the future.
by Chase Cortese
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Students' Use of Outdoor Space at Occidental College: Considerations for an Environmentally and Culturally Sustainable Landscape
by Colleen Easler

Analyzing the Impact of Resident Involvement in Public Housing Referendums: A Case Study of New York City's Public Housing Preservation Trust
This research paper discusses the issue of resident participation in public housing referendums within the context of the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust, a recently established initiative aimed at addressing the ongoing failures of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The paper examines NYCHA's capacity to effectively implement the voting mechanism of the Trust and how to engage a vulnerable population by examining resident involvement best practices and the key components of a successful referendum.
by Sonali Govind

Sustainability in Soccer: Developing Eco-Friendly Models of Soccer Fields in LA Parks by Assessing The Benefits and Tradeoffs of Synthetic Turf and Grass Soccer Fields
by Jazz Henry
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Building a Sustainable City through the Decarbonization of Affordable Housing: A Case Study of East LA Community Corporation
In the current era of climate emergency, it is crucial that Los Angeles focuses on addressing the challenges to building decarbonization as buildings are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses in the city. This paper examines the role of nonprofit developers in the equitable decarbonization of buildings, mainly residential buildings that are affordable.
by Melissa Maldonado
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Evolving Equitable Access: The Los Angeles Public Library System’s Impact on Wealth Inequality
Despite chronic underfunding nationwide, public libraries have become more utilized than ever with extensive digital resources and adapted programming. Including the perspective of the Covid-19 pandemic, this work aims to answer how recent changes have shaped the impact of resources provided by public libraries that impact the prevalence of wealth inequality.
by Emma McKechnie
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Homeownership and the American Illusion: The State of Black Homeowners is Urban South Carolina
Stretching across three time periods, Recession (2006-2010), Early Recovery (2011-2015), and Recovered (2015-2019), this quantitative analysis of the state of Black homeownership in urban South Carolina asks the question, to what extent does homeownership provide a source of stable wealth for Black Americans?
by Ellie McKinney
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Community, Circularity, & Compost: The Case for Community-Driven Food Waste Diversion Systems in the City of Los Angeles
by Isa Merel
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Defining the Nuclear-Naval Unknown: News Media Narrative Construction and Naval-Industrial Community Understandings
This project looks at the way community members understand Puget Sound Naval history and come to define the complex risks, benefits, and systems of codependence which are felt by
 stakeholders when a community is formed with such a clear industrial purpose.This paper explores broadly how media framing constructs, informs, and even distorts the understanding of a site, and asks what implications that distortion may have for industrial communities as they strive to define their personal experiences and make informed decisions with regard to potential industrial risks and benefits. 
by Lucy Njegovan
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A Case Study of Pasadena: Planning Urban Forests for the Future of Climate Change
The objective of this research is to analyze Pasadena's successes and shortcomings concerning its urban canopy and evaluate the preparedness of its street trees for climate change. The paper explains that climate change will impact Pasadena in two significant ways: pollen production and water usage.
by Anaise Nugent

Procedural Equity and Greening Schoolyards: A Mixed Method Study of Proposition 84 Funded Projects in Los Angeles County
Greening school campuses offers a critical opportunity to build climate resiliency and combat environmental injustices at a local and regional scale; however, the unique geopolitical landscape of Los Angeles County presents several challenges that complicate implementing and operating such projects. Through a case study analysis of Proposition 84 awarded green schoolyard projects in Los Angeles County, this study investigates issues of procedural equity during the grant application and implementation processes of a project.
by Isabelle Russell
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What Comes Next? Envisioning the Future of Oil Sites in Los Angeles
The city and county of Los Angeles are currently planning the phaseout of oil and gas drilling in the region after passing ordinances that declare oil and gas drilling non-conforming land uses within their jurisdictions. The goal of this study is to understand what community leaders and activists who have been involved in this issue think about how the phaseout should occur, particularly in terms of cleanup, ownership and use of land, and how communities living near oil sites should be able to participate in the closure and redevelopment of the site in their neighborhood.
by Emma Silber
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Individual and Institutional Interconnectedness: Exploring Student Attitudes and Behaviors Surrounding Water Conservation at Liberal Arts Colleges
by Aya Sugiura

How Politics, Policy Networks, and Finance Intersect to Shape the Outcomes of Affordable Housing Development: An Analysis of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Financing in Los Angeles
by Leah Sweeney
full text

Two Worlds in Chinatown:  Authenticity and Identity in Urban Ethnic Enclaves
Ethnic enclaves are unique sites that hold historic and contemporary significance and special meaning for those that have interacted with them. These sites offer a transnational and local sense of place and can provide safety and solidarity amongst those with shared identities or lived experiences. This project examines Los Angeles’s Chinatown as a case study of urban ethnic enclaves and their capacity for building a sense of community and belonging.
by Nathan Tam
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Growing Up: An Exploratory Study of CEA Technology in the Urban Food Landscape
The agricultural industry, and global food systems more broadly, have faced severe criticism for their exacerbation of climate change and their disposition to social instability, as we’ve seen most recently during the Covid-19 pandemic. This study explores the role of controlled-environment agriculture as new agro-technology and seeks to understand its impact as an alternative food source, within the urban landscapes, particularly on the local level.
by Gillian Tarrant
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Assessing Primary Uses and User-Identified Benefits of Food Forests: A Study of Beacon Food Forest
As governments look to new methods for managing sustainability, resilience, and climate goals in their cities, food forestry has emerged as a novel form of urban green space with the potential to not only provide healthy and free food, but also mitigate climate change, support urban ecosystems, and promote holistic wellbeing among residents. This research investigates users’ and community members’ perceptions of the impact Beacon Food Forest (BFF) has on them or their communities.
by Irene Wickwire
(full text)

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Urban & Environmental Policy Institute

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