The Los Angeles Integrative Nature and Design (LindA) Collaborative is an interdisciplinary urban environmental research group that investigates the capacity of sustainable urban design interventions to help cities address the impacts of climate change. The group adopts an urban adaptive management approach:
1. Sustainable urban design interventions are urban-ecological field experiments.
2. Environmental changes associated with sustainable urban design interventions are monitored using a combination of field, remote, and social scientific methods.
3. Results are more likely to influence future decisions when data products are publicly available and visually accessible to a wide audience.
Aesthetics are central to the urban experience, but also have environmental implications. When we landscape our yard or when the city repaves a road, we are tending to urban aesthetics, but we are also environmental managers.
Heat Mitigation and Adaptation: Microclimate Regulation Through Urban Design
This series of projects investigate the microclimate regulating benefits of urban design interventions such as greening, tree planting, and solar reflective surfaces using a combination of remote sensing, field data, and modeling. Current research projects in this area include:
- Adapting to a Hotter Future in the Transformative Climate Communities – This project investigates the heat ameliorating benefits of urban greening interventions in three communities—Watts, Ontario, and Fresno—selected to receive state funding for climate action via the Transformative Climate Communities Program. This heat study project is funded by the Luskin Center for Innovation and the UCLA Faculty Career Award.
- Comparing Heat Outcomes between New Urbanism and Sprawl – This project investigates the microclimate differences attributable to design. It investigates Civano, a planned neighborhood in suburban Tucson, Arizona, and two adjacent communities, Sierra Morado (green building, conventional subdivision design) and Mesquite Ranch (conventional subdivision buildings and design). It finds that New Urbanist design reduces neighborhood land surface temperatures by 1-3 C, and that these findings hold for all seasons, day and night. Assessment of thermal comfort is underway.
- Cool Pavement: Untangling Heat Outcome Trade-offs – This study collected the first field measurements of Mean Radiant Temperature (MRT, a proxy for human thermal comfort), air and surface temperature, and incoming long wave and outgoing shortwave radiation.
- “Cool” Art – Internationally renowned artist Eric Skotnes, from the art collective INDECLINE, painted the first large-scale, street art piece using solar reflective paint to raise awareness about rising temperatures in cities. The project on a 27 x 72 foot brick wall on a 1920s-era building in South Los Angeles makes a double visual impact – as an elegant eco-mural that enlivens the community and also as an infrared image documented by thermal camera. This project is a collaboration with art historian Lizy Dastin, with primary funding from LCI, paint donated by Creative Paving Solutions, wall donated by Amped Kitchens, additional funding from the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, and thermal imagery by Ariane Middel. View the news story for more information.
Urban Ecology in Residential Neighborhoods
An estimated 60% of all new single family residential homes and 80% of all new single family residential homes in subdivisions fall under the auspices of private Homeowner Association (HOA) management. HOAs are private contracts and de facto land use law, with the legal authority to make and enforce rules and regulations about what homeowners can and cannot do with yards and building structure. While HOAs cannot supersede statutory law, they can impose restrictions that hinder voluntary adoption of a wide range of interventions, including those promoted via public policy like turf replacement, solar panels, and accessory dwelling units. This series of projects investigates HOA influence on residential lands.
- What is residential land tenure, and how does it affect environmental outcomes? This essay, published in Land Use Policy, brings together housing and land use scholarship to define residential land tenure — the rights to control and build wealth from land based on the dwelling it contains — and illustrate its environmental impacts. V. Kelly Turner asserts that housing policies extend to the land as well. For example, compulsory collective governance structures (like homeowners associations) set rules that can help or hinder cities’ environmental efforts, such as requiring residents to trim flammable brush around homes or limiting participation in turf replacement programs. Understanding and exploring the interplay between housing and land use policies can help cities to make more effective environmental regulations and programs.
- How do HOAs influence yard structure and management practices? This series of studies constructs maps of the spatial bounds of HOA neighborhoods, data that is not readily available in a usable format, examines the content of restrictive land covenants and other governing documents, and relates HOA status to yard management practices. In a series of studies in Maricopa County, Arizona, it found that HOAs comprise a minority in number of homes, but a majority in land area, and that HOAs do not necessarily use more water than non-HOA counterparts. A follow up study finds that land use regulations are migrating from publicly recorded Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions documents to proprietary documents, essentially creating a series of “hidden” land use laws. Ongoing work in this area includes additional analysis of land cover and water use in HOAs in Maricopa County, Arizona, and analysis yard structure and management practices in Santa Clarita, California.
- How do HOAs influence accessory dwelling unit (ADU) adoption? In partnership with the Casita Coalition, this project examines the extent to which HOAs influence the likelihood that homowers would choose to instal an ADU on premise.
Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management
The interdisciplinary STORMS project aims to determine how heterogeneous decision-making processes and management actions in urban regions influence environmental outcomes at the watershed scale. The project takes a case study featuring Cleveland, Ohio and Denver, Colorado. One aspect of the project aims to understand the role of formal rules and individual norms in shaping stormwater management actions, especially the likelihood of adopting green infrastructure as a stormwater control measure. Emerging results from policy document analysis and a survey distributed to stormwater managers in the two cities are presented and discussed with respect to the capacity of regional stormwater management programs to facilitate collective action to improve hydrology and ecosystem health in urban regions. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems program.
Kelly Turner is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Associate Director of Urban Environment Research at the Luskin Center for Innovation, and Faculty Affiliate of the Institute of Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Ariane Middel is an Assistant Professor in the School of Arts Media and Engineering and the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She is the director of the SHADE Lab, inventor of MaRTy – a mobile biometeorology devise – and a collaborator on the Transformative Climate Communities, Civano, Cool Streets, and “Cool” Art projects.
Lizy Dastin is a professor of Art History at UCLAx and Santa Monica College specializing in contemporary art and urban practice. She’s a passionate advocate of street art and its makers and is committed to creating a comprehensive digital archive of this otherwise ephemeral practice. Lizy has previously taught at Mercy College in the Bronx and the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and has worked on special projects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and Christie’s Auctions. Lizy is a collaborator on the “Cool” Art project.
Jon Ocon is a second-year MA/PhD student in the UCLA Geography Department and holds a BS in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California. He is currently working as a Graduate Student Researcher with Dr. V. Kelly Turner on the TCC project, understanding the impact of urban form on thermal comfort.
Los Angeles based artist Eric Skotnes works on figurative paintings based on human interaction than blend graffit art with classical figurative painting. Skotnes blends a love of large scale gratti murals with illustration and fine art training from the Art Center College of Design. He has done paintings, graffiti, murals, and illustration commissioned by movie and television productions such as Brooklyn Nine Nine, The Good Place, Marvel’s Runaways and more. Skotnes is a member of project partner INDECLINE, an Activist Art Collective founded in 2001 that focuses on social, ecological and economic injustices carried out by American and International governments, corporations and law enforcement agencies.
Mott Smith and Brian Albert, co-owners of Amped Kitchens, donated a wall at their L.A. South location for the street art mural. Amped Kitchen breaks barriers for emerging food companies by offering permit-ready, private production spaces within a vibrant community of dynamic food makers. The Amped Kitchen model originated at the L.A. North location and continues to grow with a Chicago site opening in late 2019.
Hadar Rahav and Jonathan Rahav of Creative Paving Solutions donated Solar Reflective Coating for this art installation. Creative Paving Solutions provides design consultation and paving installation for residential, commercial, and municipal projects. Their team of certified installation professionals use Decocoat DP-200 IR Solar Reflective coating, which can reduce surface temperatures up to 30% and contribute to LEED® credits.
Data & Visuals
Mary Braswell’s Flicker Page on the “Cool” Art Story: https://www.flickr.com/photos/uclapubaffairs/albums/72157711398169518/with/48920818337/