connect / 2016

Sustainable LA 2050 GIS Portal

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by The NOW Institute/UCLA

A web interface that connects researchers, policymakers, and citizens by testing and visualizing scenarios for a sustainable LA by 2050.

Please describe your project proposal.

Founded on comprehensive UCLA research on LA County’s patterns in energy, water, and ecosystem health, our proposal creates an online portal that geospatially collects, connects, and conveys planning scenarios, working toward a fully built-out implementation strategy for a sustainable LA by 2050. This planning tool will 1) collect isolated data from its disparate sources, 2) connect data into comprehensive, dynamic visual scenarios, and 3) convey the impact of various planning solutions.

Which of the connect metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Cultural events
  • Public/open streets gatherings
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Travel time to work
  • Public transit riders
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Residential segregation
  • Transit-accessible housing and employment (the share of housing units and percentage of jobs that are located within a half-mile of transit)
  • Voting rates

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to connect?

LEARN: Los Angeles already has some of the world’s most talented researchers working on solutions for climate change, rapid urbanization, and social inequality. Yet these solutions are frequently conceived of in isolation—there is often little dialogue between various disciplines, policy makers and the public at-large. This inability to know how to handle the vast amount of data severely limits articulating well-informed strategies that will affect comprehensive, holistic change.

CONNECT: An intelligent direction for LA can only come from harnessing the distributed knowledge network of LA’s multiple public utilities, government agencies, research institutions, civic organizations, and citizens.

Our proposal’s main goal is to provide this connection. Our web portal will serve not simply as a one-sided communication tool, but as a hub for all the multiple inputs and outputs that shape LA.

We’ve begun to make progress on connecting data patterns to neighborhoods, building typologies, and planning proposals. Our goal for this portal is to make an interactive hub where researchers will want to add their data because it helps them visualize their data. Civic organizations and nonprofits can collect information that will help them better advance and champion their own goals.

LIVE: The complex relationships between disparate datasets and their stakeholders can be difficult to understand. Our portal will make these relationships clear and visible. Information that’s not readily accessible to the public will be made transparent and easy to use. By helping citizens to understand their everyday choices within a larger context, we can measure the collective impact of many people acting independently toward a sustainable future (e.g. converting a lawn to xeriscaping, installing rooftop solar panels, or riding public transit).

Communities and nonprofits can now visualize, plan, and understand the impacts of neighborhood-scale collaborative efforts (e.g. a new park, a streetside bioswale, or renewable energy storage).

Planners, politicians, and researchers can identify and develop real-world solutions that are readily implementable and effective on a large-scale. This means comparing different strategies and measuring their viability based on their infrastructure costs, environmental impact, and lifestyle changes.

For example, this portal could easily identify existing housing and job opportunities within a ½ mile-radius access of current transit nodes, and can help citizens and planners map out the best locations for future development. This is the kind of service the community can expect us to provide through this project.

The initial pilot project for this proposal (shown in part in the demo video) has already been developed and will be presented on October 19th, 2016 as part of the EARTH NOW: EARTH 2050 UCLA Luskin Symposium -

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

The success of the project is dependant on creating an intuitive, interactive tool that allows for a shared understanding and discovery of what LA could look like in 2050. It should be used by multiple organizations, researchers, journalists, and policymakers to understand and map out solutions for a sustainable LA.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research