Our Research

The LABC Institute is at the forefront of original, primary research on topics that promote sustainable development and nurture healthy communities in Los Angeles. Our efforts have led to significant, influential studies that have helped shape the city’s public-policy conversation:

LA's New Frontier: Capturing Opportunities for New Housing,Economic Growth, and Sustainable Development in LA River Communities

A Livable River

Since 2012, the LABC Institute has emphasized the need to develop livable communities that include a substantial workforce housing component as a part of a comprehensive economic development strategy for the region. Livable communities are those which have a balanced mix of residential and commercial uses, tied together through public transit connections, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and mobility hubs. Rapid expansion of the Los Angeles transit network is providing an incredible opportunity to widen the developable footprint around transit stations and connect livable communities like never before.

While we work to incentivize high quality, livable development in the region, it is critical to expand the supply of affordable and workforce housing for those earning between 50 and 120 percent of the Area Median Income (“AMI”). In Los Angeles County, annual funding for lower-income affordable housing (80 percent AMI or below) has fallen dramatically, from $732 million in 2008 to $164 million in 2013—a 78 percent decline in just five years (California Housing Partnership Corporation, 2014). Workforce housing, which is affordable to those earning between 80 and 120 percent of AMI and essential to housing moderate-income residents such as teachers, public servants, and young employees, has similarly suffered from a lack of supply and funding. Without an increased supply of affordable and workforce housing, Los Angeles could see much of its workforce—and subsequently, economic activity—depart to regions with less cost-burdened housing markets.

The Los Angeles River revitalization presents a unique opportunity to develop underutilized land and build new transportation connections, creating a cohesive series of sustainable, thriving, equitable communities throughout Los Angeles County. Successful redevelopment along the river will be a key component of the region’s sustainable growth strategy for years to come.

This report explores the numerous opportunities for development along the river and into the surrounding neighborhoods, and begins with a look at the past and present conditions of the LA River and its adjacent communities. It is followed by a summary of the potential the river holds for revitalization and sustainable development and a brief analysis of the multitude of strategic efforts that have taken place to plan for growth along the river.


Empowering LA’s Solar Workforce: New Policies that Deliver Investments and Jobs

In November 2011, the LABC Institute released Empowering LA’s Solar Workforce: New Policies that Deliver Investments and Jobs, produced in collaboration with the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, and other partners.

The study found that Los Angeles has a significant “workforce in waiting” trained for clean-energy solar jobs in installation, design, sales and more. These jobs are the result of numerous training programs run by a variety of organizations such as Homeboy Industries and IBEW Local 11. It’s estimated that 2,200 people are trained each year in Los Angeles County alone.

Many of these training programs are located near “hotspots” – areas with great potential for solar-power generation – that coincide with areas of high unemployment and economic need. These include areas in the San Fernando Valley, east Los Angeles, and areas west of downtown, including Hollywood.

Finally, the study found that city leaders have failed to enact energy policies to take advantage of this ready resource, and put L.A. residents to work. LADWP has one of the weakest track records in solar-power generation among major California utilities, generating less than one sixth as much solar power per customer as the state leader, Southern California Edison.

Read the study here.

Making a Market: Multifamily Rooftop Solar and Social Equity in Los Angeles

In April 2011, the LABC Institute released Making a Market: Multifamily Rooftop Solar and Social Equity in Los Angeles, produced in collaboration with the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, and other partners.

This study found that a solar feed-in tariff (FiT) program on apartment rooftops could provide up to 300 megawatts of clean power within city boundaries over the next 5-10 years – enough to power 30,000 homes. In addition, creating a well-designed multifamily solar rooftop program in low-income neighborhoods not only would create jobs, but it can reduce the costs of housing for low-income residents in the form of reduced energy costs or rebates.

The study built on previous research by UCLA and the LABC finding that a city-wide 600-megawatt solar program on commercial and residential rooftops would generate $2 billion in local investment, create thousands of jobs, and have an impact of as little as 19 cents a month for the average residential LADWP customer.

Read the study here.