Since 2018, over 160 undergraduate and graduate students have been engaged as interns, researchers, and cohort participants, helping to advance the Sustainable Development Goals in the City of Los Angeles. In partnership with City departments and the Office of the Mayor, students have completed over 22 research projects advancing one or more specific SDG targets. Read through the student projects to learn more!
Gender Equity Indicators
In Spring 2021, two teams of students at Occidental College and the Claremont Colleges worked with the Office of the Mayor to research and propose a list of indicators to measure gender equity progress at the local level. The students presented their findings at a network meeting of the City Hub and Network for Gender Equity (CHANGE).
Truth in Los Angeles
In Spring 2021, a team of 13 students worked with the City’s Chief Equity Officer to explore how L.A. can use truth telling practices to address racial justice through recognition, active responsibility, and repair of past harms.
Just Transition in Los Angeles: Ensuring Equity During Decarbonization
Fall 2020 - Spring 2021
Throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, a group of five students worked with the Mayor’s Chief Sustainability Officer to better understand the fossil fuel sector in Los Angeles and recommend pathways for a just transition to a sustainable and climate-resilient economy. Through qualitative and quantitative research and stakeholder interviews, the students found the fossil fuel value chain employs around 31,000 workers in Los Angeles County, with a median salary between $95,000-$105,000 per year. Working closely with workers in this sector to understand their perspective on desirable career pathways will be vital in developing a strategy for L.A.’s clean energy future.
Community Development Block Grants
Fostering economic opportunities and expanding access to suitable housing is central to the City of Los Angeles’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program began in 1976 and is administered nationally by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Using the United Nations SDG framework, our team researched and evaluated funding allocations of CDBG dollars in order to assist Los Angeles in building a sustainable city with decent work for all Angelenos.
Healthy Indoor Environments
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important health factor that impacts everyone, every day. This blog post presents the research and findings of a student team tasked with developing recommendations to improve indoor air quality in Los Angeles.
Leaving No LGBTQIA+ Angeleno Behind
In Summer 2020, a team of six students from the University of Southern California, the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, and Occidental College worked on a project to draw on the best practices of other cities and identify new data sources to improve measures of impact, inclusion, and representation of LGBTQIA+ Angelenos. Students worked under the guidance of faculty advisor Professor Sofia Gruskin (Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, University of Southern California).
Understanding the Linkages Between Student Housing Insecurity and Educational Outcomes
In Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) there are upwards of 1,000 schools and more than 600,000 students — 17,000 of whom are experiencing homelessness. This special report investigates how improved educational access for students experiencing homelessness can serve as a critical point of intervention in breaking cycles of poverty.
Biodiversity in Los Angeles
The City of Los Angeles is fortunate to be located within a globally recognized hotspot of native biodiversity. While Los Angeles is a biodiversity jewel, this designation also means that the biodiversity here is threatened, and innovative strategies are needed to ensure its resilience and sustainability. A student team worked with the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation and Environment for 10 weeks to develop methodologies to measure biodiversity metrics as part of the Los Angeles Biodiversity Index.
The Angeleno Journey: Housing Insecurity to Housing Stability
The student team conducted research and outreach to residents and service providers to inform a definition of housing security, and draft an initial journey map reflecting the lived experience of residents facing housing insecurity. This journey map informed recommendations around interventions and steps the City could take to support residents and prevent the loss of stable housing.
Equitable Investment: Exploring Street Asset Planning
The research team worked with L.A.’s Bureau of Street Services (StreetsLA) on advancing its strategic commitment to accessibility and equity. Contributing to the work of the StreetsLA Equity Committee and the StreetsLA Advanced Planning Team, the research team developed a methodology to prioritize equitable and sustainable investment in street-level infrastructure, adding data layers to existing decision support systems used by StreetsLA. The project considered investments in service provision, such as street sweeping and pavement condition, as well as distribution and maintenance of above-ground pedestrian, active transportation, and transit-related amenities, commonly known as street assets.
Unlocking LA's Potential: Identifying Barriers to Services for Opportunity Youth
Tasked with investigating inequalities in Los Angeles through the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this project team sought to understand the barriers which Opportunity Youth encounter while receiving services from the city’s YouthSource Centers. The study spanned approximately three months and used a mixed-method research approach. Our project includes an extensive literature review, a service index, and a ArcGIS mapping of analysis of services, population, and transportation.
Case Study on Climate Action
Climate Action proposes targets that take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. As a city, Los Angeles has been at the forefront of efforts to combat climate change through our City of L.A.’s Green New Deal (City of L.A.’s Sustainability pLAn) and Resilient L.A., as well as in partnership with cities around the country (Climate Mayors) and around the world (C40, 100 Resilient Cities).
SDG Stakeholder Mapping
The students gathered information with a focus on either the public, private, or non-profit sectors in L.A., but combined their findings to present recommendations to the City on ten of the seventeen Global Goals.