Our work has shaped dozens of local, state, and national policies to advance effective and equitable solutions to pressing environmental challenges. Along the way, LCI has earned three national awards from the American Planning Association (APA), five California-level APA awards, and recognition from President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative. Here are a few examples of impact:

  • We’re putting a spotlight on the human right to water.
    The ongoing drought, exacerbated by climate change, threatens the basic right to water for communities in California and across the nation. We are making water access a research priority to help government agencies ensure access to safe, affordable drinking water, especially in underserved communities. This includes working with the State of California on the first-ever, comprehensive drinking water needs assessment to inform investment decisions and serve as a U.S.-wide model.
  • We’re shaping California’s groundbreaking climate programs.
    Our research has shaped more than $10 billion in California Climate Investments to benefit underinvested communities facing legacy pollution. This includes our support for Transformative Climate Communities and applying lessons to inform the federal government’s unprecedented levels of climate investments to advance environmental justice.
  • We’re advancing equitable solutions to extreme heat.
    Our research informs evidence-based heat governance, including new policy, planning, and regulation to protect vulnerable populations and communities. Our policy briefs provide solutions for decision makers to proactively address heat exposure where people live, work, and go to school – before it becomes an acute health emergency.
  • We’re making public spaces more green, resilient, and accessible.
    Our award-winning guidebooks for living streets, parklets, greenways, and more are resources to build more green, climate-ready communities. Our current focus is on equitable access and climate resilience – ensuring access to parks, streetscapes, and other public spaces that have trees, other shade infrastructure, and more, particularly in underinvested communities.
  • We’re supporting clean energy transitions.
    Our researchers support local and state commitments to clean energy. Our current focus is helping the City of Los Angeles make its transition to 100% carbon-neutral energy in a way that is equitable and leaves no one behind.
  • We’re helping expand access to zero-emissions transportation.
    Our research has helped California’s leaders launch and scale the most ambitious efforts to remove polluting vehicles from our roads and transition to a clean transportation system. Our priority is to support the design and scaling of these efforts to ensure equitable access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.


Meyer and Renee Luskin, both first generation college students, credit UCLA with giving them their start to successful careers and wanted to give back to the community. In 2008, one of their first major gifts to the university was to establish the Luskin Center for Innovation.

In 2009, LCI became part of the now called Luskin School of Public Affairs, where it has been well positioned to realize the Luskins’ vision of uniting UCLA scholars with civic leaders to solve pressing problems confronting our community, nation, and world. LCI helped pioneer the novel approach of scholars conducting actionable policy research to provide the evidence needed for  civic leaders to solve environmental challenges. 

We quickly focused on the need to inform effective and equitable environmental policy. This priority has continued as LCI has grown, both internally and through our collaborations. Hundreds of nonprofit organizations, community groups, government agencies, and other civic partners across California have used our research to design, implement, and scale environmental policies and community actions that advance environmental equity and improves lives.