Planning, Policy, and Design Distinguished Fellows 2015-16

August 2015

The Department of Planning, Policy, and Design is pleased to welcome the third class of Distinguished Fellows for the 2015-16 academic year. The program was established to connect senior planning and policy leaders to graduate students and alumni in urban planning. The Fellows represent a wide variety of policy interests: urban planning, housing, transportation, urban design, energy, environment, and community development. Click here to learn more about the program.

The Fellows include:

  • America Bracho
    CEO/President, Latino Health Access
  • Bill Fulton
    Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University
  • Susan Hori
    Partner, Real Estate and Land Use, Mannatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
  • Felicia Marcus
    Chair, California State Water Resources Control Board
  • Timothy Psomas
    Chairman Emeritus, Psomas; and Founding Chair, Institute for Sustainable Infrastucture
  • Tony Salazar
    President, West Coast Operations, McCormack Baron Salazar

Live close to a train and you might drive less

July 2015

A recently released study by Douglas Houston, Associate Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design, and Marlon Boarnet, Professor of Public Policy at USC, provides the first evaluation of the impacts of a new light rail service in California on travel patterns and indicates rail transit can encourage nearby residents to drive less and help reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions. The people that responded to the study's survey who lived within walking distance (1 km) of the Los Angeles Expo light rail drove approximately 10 fewer miles per day than those that lived farther away. People that lived close to rail stations also took approximately triple the number of rail trips. Their findings suggest that household travel behavior responds to transit service enhancements and inform planning efforts to provide more sustainable travel options in southern California.

Gifts to Affordable Housing Project

June 2015
Under the direction of Victoria Basolo, Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design, the Transit Oriented Development and Environment-Friendly Design on Affordable Housing Project has been initiated by a consortium of funders, including Wells Fargo, SVA-Architects and Susan Hori, Esq. This project will use data from seven sites developed by Jamboree Housing Corporation in Los Angeles and Orange County to provide new knowledge about trends in low-income housing development and the consequences, if any, of seeking multiple social goals in producing this housing. This study will be the first of its kind and will produce results that are of theoretical interest (residential choice and travel behavior) and, equally important, of practical importance to developers and public policymakers. 
Photo Credit: For Jamboree by

Water-energy interdependence by getting decision-makers to talk

June 2015
Across the western United States, water and power are interconnected. Hydropower provides about 21% of the western region’s electricity. Nearly 20% of California’s electricity is used to move, treat and heat water. Despite this interdependence, these resources are regulated by separate agencies, delivered by separate utilities and studied independently.
In May, Water UCI and the US Department of Energy jointly sponsored a first-of-its-kind workshop with utilities, regulators and researchers from throughout the west to discuss new ways of working together. At the end of two days, participants outlined several steps as a basis for managing water and electricity more effectively. Dave Feldman summarized the steps in an article published by The Conversation.