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.
Sharing Solar's Promise: Harnessing LA's FIT to Create Jobs and Build Social Equity is presented by the LABC Institute and authored by a joint team of USC and UCLA researchers led by Dr. Manuel Pastor, Director of the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and Dr. J.R. DeShazo, Director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.
The report finds that a significantly expanded feed-in-tariff (FIT) rooftop solar program in Los Angeles would create thousands of new jobs and spur hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment, with particular benefit to residents living in traditionally underserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles. California leads the nation in solar job creation with over 47,000 workers, accounting for about one-third of the nation's total solar industry employment. Across the state itself, job growth in the solar sector (8.1%) outpaced overall job growth (1.7%) in the past year, a trend that is expected to continue.
To date, more than 40 percent of the current project applications for the FIT program - also known as CLEAN LA Solar - are located in Los Angeles' solar equity "hot spots," or neighborhoods with abundant rooftop space for solar installations and also in need of significant socioeconomic and environmental investment. The report calls for the FIT to be expanded from 100 to 600 megawatts, and to include incentives for solar developers and property owners to focus much of that growth in low-income communities.
FIT 100 in Los Angeles: An Evaluation of Early Progress is presented by the LABC Institute and authored by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, under the leadership of its Director, J.R. DeShazo, Ph.D., and Alex Turek, Project Manager at the Luskin Center. In 2013, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) embarked on a pioneering feed-in tariff (FiT) program, by which electric power generated by solar rooftop installations on commercial, industrial, retail and multi-family buildings is sold to the LADWP for use by residential and business customers. This program was achieved after five years of advocacy efforts done by the CLEAN LA Coalition. (Visit www.cleanlasolar.com for more information.) The report finds that the 100-megawatt FiT – the “FiT 100” – is on track to meeting its considerable economic and sustainability goals by 2015, including:
- Creating more than 2,000 jobs
- Generating approximately $300 million in direct investment in the City of Los Angeles
- Displacing as many as 2.7 million tons of greenhouse gases from the environment annually
- Powering more than 21,000 homes
These successes come despite the FiT paying the lowest power rates of any comparable program in the country, averaging 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Download the Report Summary here.
Released at LABC's 2013 Mayoral Housing, Transportation, and Jobs Summit, the report provides a detailed analysis of the opportunities and challenges associated with developing livable communities in Los Angeles County - a critical factor in maintaining the region's economic competitiveness. This report was commissioned as a follow-up to the LABC Institute's 2012 study, Building Livable Communities: Enhancing Economic Competitiveness in Los Angeles.
Released at LABC's 2013 Sustainability Summit, this study recommends the establishment of a revolving loan fund and associated lending programs to finance energy efficiency and clean energy projects in order to maximize the associated benefits of Prop 39, passed by voters in November 2012, in accordance with the stated objectives of the proposition.
Building Livable Communities: Enhancing Economic Competitiveness in Los Angeles
The report examines the current supply of workhouse housing in Greater Los Angeles – an issue critical to the region's economic competitiveness – in light of the housing crisis and economic downturn from which LA is struggling to recover.
This report examines the diversity of types and design choices for Feed-in Tariff programs, and offer policy makers an array of tools from which to structure a FiT program.
A major collaboration between the LABC Institute, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of Los Angeles, this study illustrates a vision of a new privately funded and publicly incentivized market for multifamily rooftop solar that reduces owner and tenant utility costs, provides a new revenue stream for owners, and creates and retains jobs for local workers.
For too long, the environment, the economy and equity have been viewed as competing against each other. But this report finds that clean energy - particularly solar - and stable, skilled jobs can contribute to shoring up the middle class and providing pathways for those on the margin.
In September 2009, the Los Angeles Business Council created a Solar Working Group consisting of Los Angeles County leaders in the private, environmental and educational sectors to investigate the promise of a local Feed-in Tariff program. This study offers guidelines for Feed-in Tariff design for Los Angeles, designed as a result of that research.
The LABC report argues that Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) programs can play a pivotal role in improving regional economic competitiveness and jobs/housing balance in the short-term, and work as a part of a long-term economic development strategy that includes encouraging smart growth, investing in public transportation and building a vibrant clean-tech economy.
The Workhouse Housing Scorecard describes the factors leading to the significant jobs/housing imbalance and quantifies the severity of the problem.