Urban Design at the Intersection of Transportation, Climate Change, Ecology, and Social Justice

Research Lead: Kian Goh

University: UCLA

Problem Statement: In February 2019, the U.S. Congress announced a resolution for the Green New Deal (GND), a set of policies to drive renewable energy and the low-carbon economy and eradicate poverty while protecting against climate change. Transportation infrastructure was a prominent part of the original 1930s New Deal, including projects such as highways and bridges. Transportation is now a critical part of any broad effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To what extent do we understand the potential of the GND to remake the way we move through cities and regions?

Project Description: This project takes on transportation and urban climate futures by focusing on social and ecological questions of transportation infrastructure prompted by the GND and how to design for them. Questions about what to do with infrastructure are caught between rubrics of efficiency, environmental sustainability, and social impact. Given the climate change and social justice imperatives of the GND, how do planners, city managers, and community groups understand and make decisions about long-term, large-cost transportation infrastructure in ways that are environmentally and socially transformative? This research addresses this question by focusing on the intersection of urban design, environmental ethnography, and transportation planning, furthering understanding of contested social and environmental conditions of the present, investigating the possible bounds of desired outcomes of the future.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $46,282

Project Partner(s): Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcett