Let’s Lead on Climate with the 2028 Olympic Games

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The City of Los Angeles adopted an optimistic theme for the 2028 Olympic Games — “Follow the Sun.” This theme encompasses not only LA’s sunny and bright spirit, but it also delivers an optimistic outlook into a more sustainable future. One of the main priorities for the 2028 Olympic games is to be sustainable in all ways — financially, structurally, and environmentally. The City hopes to set out on achieving this vision by reusing the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and existing sports stadiums for the 2028 games, rather than solely depending on constructing brand new facilities.

Being a two-time host for previous Summer Olympics, LA holds the appropriate sentiment for athletes and guests, while possessing experience in planning for the future. Athletes will be housed and trained at UCLA and USC campuses, allowing the city to drastically reduce costs and resources for constructing new facilities. Because the games will span from the Valley to the shores of Long Beach, feasible modes of public transportation will be available for attendees, such as the newly constructed Metro Purple Line Extension (set to finish by 2020).

As the spirit and energy from Olympic participants rise high, so will the demand for energy. To address this issue, LA 2028 is committed to sourcing clean energy from the two biggest energy providers in the LA region — Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).

As the City looks forward to a new era of the Olympic games, one thing is clear — Los Angeles is a true Olympian city at heart with an innovative future in mind.

Further research…
How are other cities planning for climate resilience? ecoAmerica’s Let’s Lead on Climate report showcases how different cities from the West Coast to the East Coast are planning for the future.

Posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Why We Need More Parks in Los Angeles

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My first and fondest memory of parks go back to my childhood when I was just five years old, riding my training bike to the park with my sisters. Having just immigrated to Los Angeles from Vietnam, I must admit riding and running freely and safely through the park was a new concept, though for 5 year-old Anna it was a quick embrace. Of course, I’m not the only person to hold such a sentimental relationship with parks.

Countless studies have revealed the importance of incorporating green space and nature into community planning. It isn’t a coincidence that park use and access correlate with children’s health and emotional well-being. Aside from being excellent natural CO2 vacuums, urban neighborhood greenspace can help reduce adolescent aggression. Yet, over 75% of the population in Los Angeles County shows a need for more parks, according to a Parks Needs Assessment conducted by the LA County Department of Parks and Recreation.

What’s even more of a “coincidence” is that the relationship between community well-being and park access is strong! Places with serious park deficits have life expectancies below the county average (A Portrait of Los Angeles County 2017-2018). In another study by the City Project, overlaying maps of household income with park needs reveals that low-income communities reflect higher park needs.

How do we address these park and health inequities?

Prioritizing funding for parks and open spaces is one of the key solutions to addressing these intertwined inequity issues. With numerous studies and reports assessing parks in Los Angeles, local government agencies now have adequate knowledge to take action, such as which neighborhoods are park poor* and why it is that they are park poor.

So, what’s the next step? Allocate proper funding to transform ideas into action.

Proposition 68, formerly known as Senate Bill 5, provides a solution by proposing $4 billion in bonds to fund grants and projects for creating and restoring parks in park-poor neighborhoods, expanding outdoor opportunities for disadvantaged youth, and maintaining state parks and infrastructure. Funding can be allocated resourcefully to neighborhoods that need it the most without jeopardizing funds to maintain existing parks and open space.

Investing in a new park is more than just an investment in a soccer field and a shiny new playground; it’s an investment to ensure that 50 years from now, all five-year-olds can ride their training bikes throughout the park without compromising their health, and regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.

*Park poor: “ Refers to any geographic area that provides less than three acres of green space per 1,000 residents, as defined by California law. Three acres is the size of approximately one and one half soccer or football fields (The City Project).”

Posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Local Climate Leadership: Fern Nueno

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Fern Nueno is a Planner at the City of Long Beach and will be a guest speaker at our next Leadership Circle Quarterly Meeting on February 7th.

Tell us about your work on climate.

Long Beach is developing its first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), which builds upon the previous work done by the City and other organizations in the area.  Community engagement is an important part of creating and implementing this plan, so we reached out to residents, business owners, and the local scientific community early in the process and will continue the discussion throughout development of the plan.  Through the CAAP, Long Beach will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become a more resilient city by preparing for the impacts of climate change.

What inspired you on your career path? And what or who inspires you now?

I have had many interests that shaped my career path, and have been inspired along the way by amazing new scientific discoveries and technologies.  I enjoy planning because of the variety of projects that planners work on to improve our communities.  I continue to be inspired when I hear presentations by people who are passionate about protecting the environment and improving quality of life locally and globally.  I especially enjoy discussions with multidisciplinary groups of planners, public health professionals, economists, and scientists.

What are the barriers you face in work — and what could make your job easier?

One barrier is a lack of resources, from information to staff time to funding.  Another barrier is trying to balance conflicting priorities, both in Long Beach and at the regional, national, and global level.  Continued collaboration with other agencies, research institutions, and organizations could make my job easier.

A genie grants you two wishes that will help fight climate change. What do you ask for? The third wish is for anything you want (sky’s the limit!).

  1. I want a deep understanding of physics and psychology downloaded into my brain.
  2. An empathy button that I could press to help people consider previously unknown possibilities. 
  3. Super powers!  Maybe teleportation abilities?
Posted on Monday, January 29th, 2018
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