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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