USC Center for Sustainable Cities

Improving cities through research, education, and community outreach


CSC to Sponsor Public Seminars on Climate Assessments

Climate Assessments are periodic assessments that review and synthesize research on climate change. These assessments are exemplars of how science can contribute to momentous policy decisions in the face of uncertainty, and, in general, of navigating the science-policy interface. The Center for Sustainable Cities will hold a series of public seminars on Climate Assessments: Current Practice and Future Prospects. Prof. Hilda Blanco, and Andy Miller, Associate Director for Climate at US EPA Office of Research and Development will co-chair the seminars. The objectives of the series are to examine the current structure and scope of international and national climate assessments and how they address the science-policy interface, as well as to identify ways to improve future assessments.

The first seminar will be on “Climate Assessments: Their structure, strengths and weaknesses”. At this first session Prof. Blanco and C.A. Miller will briefly discuss the objectives for the seminar series, and introduce the topic by characterizing two major climate assessments, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessments (IPCC) and the National Climate Assessments, briefly discussing their structure, scope, and how they address the science-policy interface. Readings to prepare for the seminars will be provided a week before the seminars to facilitate discussion among participants. The first seminar will be held on Sept. 11, from 12-1:30 at Lewis Hall, Room 308.

The topic for the second seminar is “Climate Assessments: Sectoral, Aggregated vs. Integrated Impacts” to be held on October 30, 12:30 to 1:45 pm, Lewis 215. This seminar will focus on the traditional sectoral approach of the assessments, and how linkages and interactions among sectoral impacts can be addressed in future assessments.

“Climate Assessments: Incorporating Institutional Factors” will be the topic for November 13, 12:30-1:45, Lewis 215. Climate assessments have had a traditional focus on impacts, and policy options identified often do not address the institutional and implementation factors that determine the viability of such options. This seminar will address the importance of such factors and how they can be incorporated in future assessments.

Earth Day Celebration

A Forum on California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard Progress and Challenges

A public discussion of administrators, industry experts and USC professors to explore progress and challenges in meeting California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Vineyard Room – Davidson Center

Cecilia Aguillon, Kyocera Solar
Gary Barsley, Southern California Edison
Aram Benyamin, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Laura Berland-Shane, Siemens
Hilda Blanco, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
Paul Douglas, California Public Utility Commission
Jeffery Greenblatt, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Adam Rose, Sol Price School of Public Policy
Chris Weare, Sol Price School of Public Policy

Code: renewable

Urban Growth Seminar Series: Urban Infrastructure Planning in the Ecological Age

April 10th, 12:15pm – 1:30pm

Russell Fortmeyer
Senior Consultant, Sustainability, Aurp

Urban Growth Seminar Series: Urban Regeneration and California’s Current Billion Dollar Experiment

March 27th, 12:15pm – 1:30pm

Stephanie Shakofsky
Executive Director, Center for Creative Land Recycling

Urban Growth Seminar Series: Bridging Planning & Architecture

March 20th, 12:15pm – 1:30pm

Vinayak Bharne
Director of Design at Moule & Polyzoides Architects & Urbanists;
Adjunct Faculty of Urban Design at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the USC School of Architecture

Urban Growth Seminar Series: Network Planning for Regional Sustainability: The Case of Collaborative Regional Initiatives in California

March 6th, 12:15pm – 1:30pm

Dr. Judith Innes
Professor Emerita of City & Regional Planning at the
UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design

Urban Growth Seminar Series: Urbanization and Policy Impacts: a view from the technology standpoint

February 21st, 12:15pm – 1:30pm

Hardik Bhatt
Director of Business Development and Strategy, Cisco’s Global Smart + Connected Communities group

Urban Growth Seminar Series: China’s Future Green Cities

January 24th, 12:15pm – 1:30pm

Matthew Kahn
Professor, UCLA Institute of the Environment, Department of Public Policy, and Department of Economics

CSC Annual Forum on Climate Change

November 10th, Vineyard Room at the Davidson Center, from 3 to 5 p.m. Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, will talk about the role of cities in mitigating climate change, USC faculty and the public will discuss, and prof. Hilda Blanco will present current and future activities of the Center.
A reception will follow.
RSVP at (code: climate)

Local Governments and Climate Change: How Cities and Counties are Preparing

Tuesday, September 27, RGL 101, 12:15 to 1:30pm Speaker: Monica Gilchrist, Interim California Director, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Los Angeles ( Lecture Topic: Local Governments and Climate Change: How Cities and Counties are Preparing This session will provide an overview of how local governments are preparing for the future including a review of greenhouse gas emissions inventories, Climate Action Plans, Adaptation Planning and the connection to policy in California. No RSVP needed. Flyer

Center for Sustainable Cities Summer Fellows’ Research Showcase

Friday, September 16 at RGL 308 from 12pm to 1:30pm.

The fellows will address research on cost-efficiency of water conservation measures, green retrofitting for multi-family housing, California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, and climate change adaptation planning in the U.S.

No RSVP required

West 27th Place Grand Opening Thursday, August 18, 2011

Henry Cisneros invites students and faculty to join Symphony Development and the US Green Building Council to the grand opening of West 27th Place, the first LEED platinum certified student housing in the nation.
Thursday August 18th 2011 11 am – 2 pm
West 27th Place
530 West 27th Street
Los Angeles CA 90007
rsvp to

A Dialogue on Energy and Water: Uncovering the issues and finding solutions

May 18th

University of Southern California, Tudor Campus Center Forum

Crucial to the security and economic well-being of the United States is the sustainable supply of both energy and water. Energy and water are highly interdependent. The electricity industry, for example, is the second larger user (after agriculture) of water in the U.S., while all facets of the water supply chain, from source to tap, require affordable, readily available energy to convey, treat, distribute, and heat or cool water. The energy used for water is a significant contributor to the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

Local, state, and federal policies designed to develop and manage these resources often do not take this interdependence into account. Rapidly growing urban centers in the west and southwest face steep challenges as they try to plan for population growth, while facing growing water scarcity, projected shifts in rainfall patterns due to climate change, and increasing energy and infrastructure costs.

Sponsored by:
US Chamber of Commerce
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce
USC Keston Institute

RSVP (code: waterenergy)

Annual Sustainability Summit

April 12

The Los Angeles Business Council is proud to present the 5th Annual Sustainability Summit at The Getty Center, April 12, 2011 from 7:30 am to 2pm.

This year’s summit is hosted in concert with The Getty, Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the LABC.

Much is in store for the upcoming 2011 Summit! We will introduce our second annual “Salon of Masters” series convening a select group of sustainability industry pioneers. Michael Northrop, the Sustainable Development Programs Director for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund will participate on the panel alongside Scott Lyle, Chief Operating Officer for GE/Arden Realty, John Mooney, Chief Financial Officer of Haworth, Inc., Rod O’Connor from the US Department of Energy,Wendy Schmidt of the Schmidt Family Foundation, and Richard Maullin, President of FM3. The conversational round table will illuminate the defining moments along each of these pioneers’ paths, and their respective visions for the future.

Specific panel topics this year will include business’ role in helping achieve renewable goals and how we develop and grow green business. The Summit will feature an impressive line-up of speakers and panelists, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Mary Nichols, Chairwoman, California Air Resources Board, Alan Rothenberg, President, Board of LAWA Commissioner, LA City Council President pro Tempore Jan Perry, Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development at US HUD, Mercedes Marquez, The Honorable Henry Cisneros with CityView, Ambassador Mickey Kantor of Mayer Brown and many others.

April 12, The Getty Center
Invitation only! Registration Deadline is March 25th, 2011. RSVP

The Sustainable City

April 14-16

Sponsored by: Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, Seaver College of Science and Engineering, School of Film and Television

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University is pleased to announce its first annual Interdisciplinary Symposium, which will be held from April 14-16, 2011. In partnership with the Seaver College of Science and Engineering with contributions from the School of Film and Television this inaugural symposium draws upon LMU’s substantial strengths in environmental justice, urban ecology, and environmental studies, the focus of the Symposium is The Sustainable City.

April 14-16, 2011, Loyola Marymount University
More Info: Website

Co-Sponsorship of SPPD’s Urban Growth Seminars

CSC is co-sponsoring the Urban Growth Seminars during the Spring semester of 2011, which are focused on different aspects of sustainability:

Our Visiting Professor Marina Alberti started the spring 2011 Urban Growth Seminars. On February 8th, she presented on Urban Patterns and Carbon Dynamics: Emerging Hypotheses and Research Strategies. Prof. Lisa Schweitzer was the discussant.

About the Topic: Although a shift in the patterns of urbanization might be central to face key global environmental challenges, empirical studies of the links between these patterns and carbon stocks are extremely limited. In her work, Dr. Alberti presents an integrated framework to identify key mechanisms and interactions between urban patterns and the carbon cycle. Using the Seattle metropolitan area as a case study, she presents observations and discusses her hypothesis on how alternative development patterns may produce different carbon signatures.

Tuesday, February 15, 12:15-1:30 in RGL 101
Speaker: Dr. Meghan Gough Co-Director of Sustainable Communities Institute and Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Commonwealth University
Topic: Bridging the Green Divide: The Role of Public Gardens in Promoting Sustainable Community Development

Tuesday, March 1, 12:15-1:30 in RGL 101
Speaker: Cary D. Lowe, Ph.D., AICP, Attorney at Law
Topic: Sustainability, Retrofitting, Economic Stimulus and CEQA
Discussant: Michael Dieden, founder and head of site acquisition, pre-development design, entitlements and marketing for Creative Housing Associates.

Tuesday, March 22, 12:15- 1:30 in RGL 101
Speaker: Dr. Rob Olshansky, Professor & Associate Head of Urban and Regional Planning, Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Topic: Clear as Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans
Discussant: TBA

Tuesday, April 5, 12:15-1:30 in RGL 101
Speakers: Cecelia Estolano, J.D., Chief Strategist on State and Local Initiatives, Green For All and Dr. Robert Leighninger, advisor to California New Deal Legacy Project and Faculty Associate, Arizona State University
Topic: Infrastructure in California: Legacies and Prospects
Discussant: TBA

Climate Change Forum

CSC held a Climate Change Adaptation Public Forum on December 13, 2010. The Forum was focused on the report of the Advisory Panel of the State of California on Climate Change Adaptation, “California’s Strategy to Prepare for the Unavoidable Effects of Climate Change.” Prof. Mazmanian, project director of the Advisory Panel and Bedrosian Chair in Government, SPPD gave a presentation on the report, and a panel discussion followed moderated by Prof. Blanco. Participants included two Advisory Panel members, Lee Harrington and Ron Gastelum. The other participants included Katherine Perez, Executive Director of ULI, Los Angeles, Mary Leslie, Executive Director of the L.A. Business Council, and Dr. Jack Sahl, Director of Environment and Resource Sustainability at Southern California Edison. The Forum was sponsored by HSBC and held at the Davidson Center.

Forum Program (PDF)
YouTube video

Urban Adaptation to Climate Change (UACC) Collaborative

The UACC Collaborative ’s goal is to facilitate research collaborations among faculty across the University. It held three meetings during fall semester and will continue this spring.

  • On Sept. 28th, 2010, the Collaborative met for the first time. Prof. Blanco explained the goals of the collaborative, and gave a brief presentation of her research on water scarcity in Southern California under climate change.
  • On Oct. 26m 2010, Profs. L. Stott and Jefferey Sellers made presentations. Prof. Sellers highlighted two of his current research projects, one focused on peri-urban expansion and environmental sustainability with examples from China and India, and the second focused on climate policies and politics in California focused on special district governance. Prof. Stott presented on California’s dynamic climate and highlighted what we know, and what we don’t know on this topic.
  • On Dec. 10, 2010, Prof. Meredith Franklin from Preventive Medicine presented her work on spatial statistics and climate change modeling. The meeting was held at the Health Sciences campus to facilitate the participation of the faculty at Preventive Medicine.
  • On Feb. 10, 2011, Dr. Joao Teixeira, from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, gave a presentation on the new center at JPL he is heading . JPL is the lead U.S. center for robotic exploration of the solar system, and conducts major programs in space-based Earth Sciences. Dr. Teixeira is the Director of the Climate Physics Group at JPL and will present on the current climate research at JPL as well as their future plans for climate-related work, including opportunities for JPL-USC linkages.

Fall 2010 Research Forum Highlighting the work of CSC Summer Fellows

On September 27, 2010 several CSC Summer Fellows presented their work to faculty and students at SPPD:

  • Azita Rezvan, doctoral student, DPPD, presented on “LEED and the Others: Green Rating Systems”
  • Janne Olson, Masters student in Public Policy, presented on “Water scarcity and SoCal water districts”
  • Jie Zhou, Ph.D. student, SPPD, presented on “Urban GHG inventories”

CSC Public Seminar on the Economics and Politics of Cap and Trade

On April 15, 2010, Profs. Tony Bertelli and Adam Rose provided two perspectives on cap and trade policy—economics and politics. Prof. Rose argued that there is broad support among climate change researchers that a cap and trade system is the best way to accomplish the target reductions in greenhouse gases required to mitigate climate change and its impacts. At least one small “regional” cap and trade system is in operation in the US, and in 2009, the House passed the Markey Waxman bill which calls for the establishment of a nationwide cap and trade system. However, there is extensive debate on the potential impacts of Markey Waxman, and Prof. Bertelli questioned whether an effective cap and trade system could be established via legislation.

Cities and Climate Change: A Solutions Oriented Conference

conference_flyer_10_no_names_small_webcopy_000Hosted by the USC Center for Sustainable Cities and Sponsored by HSBC

University of Southern California
Davidson Conference Center
Thursday, April 30, 2009

Conference Panels

  • Buildings and Landscape: Climate Change and the Built Environment
  • People and Communities: Climate Change and Issues of Justice
  • Moving Towards the Green Collar Economy

Conference Participants

Morning Keynote Address by Dr. Philip Duffy, Scientific Director of Climate Central, Director of the University of California Institute for Research on Climate Change and its Societal Impacts, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, UC Merced

Lunchtime Keynote Address by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Chief Executive Officer of Green for All.

Sustainability Champion Award Ceremony and Video Presentation of Van Jones’ Acceptance Speech

USC College and the Center for Sustainable Cities honors Van Jones as the Second Annual Sustainability Champion. The Sustainability Champion Award is presented to an individual or organization whose efforts illuminate the path toward greater sustainability. By highlighting major challenges that imperil our common future – be they environmental, economic or social – or by offering innovative ways to address them. Sustainability Champions help transform knowledge into action on behalf of our planet and its plants, animals, and people.

Van Jones is founding president of Green For All, a U.S. organization that promotes green-collar jobs and opportunities for the disadvantaged. Its mission is to build an inclusive, green economy – strong enough to resolve the ecological crisis and lift millions of people out of poverty. He now serves as Special Advisor to the White House Council of Environmental Quality for Green Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation. Mr. Jones is also a TIME Magazine 2008 Environmental Hero, one of Fast Company’s 12 Most Creative Minds of 2008, and the New York Times Bestselling author of The Green Collar Economy (Harper One 2008).