Our mission is to advance effective and equitable solutions to pressing environmental challenges through actionable research that engages UCLA scholars, policymakers, and communities.


Learn more about how we collaboratively solve environmental challenges: 

Unite UCLA scholars with civic partners
Our faculty, staff, and students collaborate with a diversity of civic partners to shape environmental policy. Leveraging the expertise of the nation’s top public university, we help ensure that environmental policy innovations are evidence-based.

Uplift student leaders
We cultivate environmental champions by supporting students in research positions, fellowships and mentorship opportunities. Each year, we involve more than fifty students in our work.

Conduct rigorous research
Our high-quality, unbiased research tackles critical environmental and societal challenges – from rising temperatures to ensuring clean air and the human right to water for all. Our work often focuses on California, one of the world’s largest economies, to support models of environmental leadership relevant nationally and globally.

Inform policy and elevate community-driven solutions
We identify problems, inform solutions, and uplift best practices that should be scaled for transformative benefits. Specifically, we design equitable and effective environmental policies, guide public investments, and elevate community-driven climate solutions.

Improve everyday lives
We strive to remedy disparities with a focus on historically underserved and overburdened low-income communities and communities of color. Our goal is for everyone to have clean, affordable, and resilient places to live, work, learn, and play.


  • Inquiry: We are committed to pursuing high-quality, unbiased, original research.
  • Innovation: We creatively address challenging environmental problems by collaborating with communities and civic partners to model new solutions.
  • Action: We are passionate about informing effective policies and supporting community-driven actions that advance environmental equity.
  • Collaboration: We value learning from and working with a diverse set of partners – including community leaders, advocates, policymakers, and other scholars – to advance a more just, sustainable, and resilient future.
  • Justice: We believe that everyone has the right to a safe and healthy environment.


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.

Renee and Meyer Luskin founded the Luskin Center for Innovation in 2008, and it became part of the Luskin School of Public Affairs in 2009.

“A sustainable, healthy environment is the greatest inheritance one can leave to children, and the most enduring gift to the community and nation.” 

– Meyer Luskin


Our impact is intrinsically tied to our collaborations. Civic partners include leaders from local, state, and national governments as well as non-profit organizations and communities, with a particular interest in California.

Examples of current and recent civic collaborators

Communities for a Better Environment Established 1978

Examples of current and recent funding partners

California Energy Commission
Climateworks Foundation

Example of research unit collaborators