Commute distances have increased for SoCal high- and middle-wage earners, UCI study finds

January 2017

A UCI study has found that commute distances in Southern California have gotten longer for high- and middle-wage earners but have remained unchanged for low-wage earners. According to the latest quarterly report issued through the School of Social Ecology’s Metropolitan Futures Initiative (MFI), between 2002 and 2010, the distance between where high- and middle-income jobs are located and where those workers live increased across the region. Matching the cost of housing with job income level is a challenge for policymakers and city planners. Workers don’t want to live too close to industrial or commercial areas, but at the same time, they don’t want to commute long distances. “In the broad context of Southern California, this in part means assisting with job growth in the Inland Empire, the origin of one of the largest mega-commuting flows in the U.S., or removing barriers to workforce housing development in the job destination areas,” said John Hipp, MFI Director and UCI Professor of Criminology, Law and Society.

Governing our most precious resource

January 2017

Written by David Feldman, Professor of Planning, Policy and Design, the book, Water Politicstakes an in-depth look at the issues, debates and challenges in water politics today. By using real-life examples of water controversies from all over the world, he illustrates how multi-faced the nature of water politics is. The book educates its readers on the necessity of cooperation and for more equitable water management in order for the global community to properly address water challenges. 

A Problem: Water and Inequality

December 2016
David Feldman, Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design, is quoted in on the consequences of California's water crisis upon the different regions of the state, and how authoritative figures may have contributed to the discrepancies being experienced among the regions.
Moreover, these problems are not new. Disparities are being highlighted by the drought, but their roots go back much further. "Through history, water has always been provided by various authorities that have power. And that power's often exercised unequally," said UC Irvine professor David Feldman, a political scientist who specializes in water management and policy.

Metropolitan Futures Initiative Report Examines Demographic ‘Mixing’

October 2016

The latest quarterly report issued through the School of Social Ecology’s Metropolitan Futures Initiative (MFI) explores the concept of demographic “mixing,” its prevalence in Southern California neighborhoods and its relationship to “economic dynamism.” Researchers identified seven factors that directly affect a community’s vitality and well-being, each with a four- or five-category range: population age, household income, educational attainment, race/ethnicity, housing age, housing type and land use. “Mixing” refers to the distribution of those attributes. For example, an area where residents were fairly evenly divided among the four population age categories would be described as having a high level of age mixing. Conversely, a place with a large proportion of children and middle-aged adults but few young adults and seniors would be labeled as having a low degree of age mixing. “Our cutting-edge statistical analyses allow us to assess which neighborhood ‘ingredients’ help or hinder such economic indicators as employment or home value,” said John Hipp, director of the MFI and professor of criminology, law & society at UCI.

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Flood Modeling for Poverty Alleviation

October 2016

Flooding is the most destructive type of natural disaster, affecting 100 million people globally, especially in developing nations. Much is being done, but current efforts are not bending the trajectory of human history away from more frequent, and more destructive, flooding disasters. The School of Social Ecology, School of Engineering and Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation have entered a competition called 100&Change for a $100 million MacArthur Foundation grant to help solve this critical problem of our time.

This interdisciplinary team of engineers and social scientists works with vulnerable communities to co-develop the most sophisticated flood visualization tools available, allowing decision-makers and citizens to better understand their flood risk and experiment with mitigation strategies at any scale, from green infrastructure to low-risk urban development. The computer models we use rely on data that is not always available, and so we use modern, low-cost technologies to fill in the gaps. With the support of the MacArthur Foundation, the goal is to scale up: co-developing flood hazard assessment and mitigation tools for the 18 urban areas facing the greatest risk around the world. These tools will enable communities to improve their resilience and engage in planning and decision-making to mitigate future flood risk.

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