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Tag Archives: walkability

Walkability Of Neighborhoods Are A Health Risk

cobblestone street walk

cobblestone street walk

According to a new study by UCLA public health experts, the physical environment of your neighborhood can affect your health.

"If it's not easy to walk to places, you're surrounded by unhealthy food choices, and you spend hours each day driving to and from your job; that's a powerful determinant of your health." said Dr. Richard Jackson, a pediatrician and professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA's Field School of Public Health.

Poorer communities, in particular, are susceptible to these health risks because they lack infrastructure and access to outdoor amenities. Faculty and students at the Fielding School are working with key stakeholders in Los Angeles to build green spaces to public transit, bike lanes and streetscapes that are geared toward optimizing public health. The focus will be on transportation equity, or aligning a community's infrastructure with the needs of its residents.

One of the most successful outcomes of these efforts is CicLAvia, an open-streets event where hundreds of people walk, bike, or skate to get active and engaged in their communities. CicLAvia events inspire active, green lifestyles in its participants; less than half arrive to these events by car, choosing instead to walk, bike, or take transit. For more information about CicLAvia, including upcoming events, click here. To read more about the new public health study, visit the UCLA Newsroom.


10 Things to Do in Westwood Village


westwood-leconteWhile the Westwood community may not be the largest in the city of LA, it sure is one that packs a lot of character. This small yet unique community is filled with tons of shops, restaurants and museums ready for you to walk through their doors. Whether you’ve just simply never had the time or you never know where to go, one thing’s for sure: It is never too late to explore.

Here are 10 suggestions of popular places that you might want to visit next time you find yourself in Westwood.

1. Westwood Village Theatre 

Built in 1930, and opened in 1931, the Westwood Village Theatre has since been a popular location for all moviegoers for several generations. Equipped with its iconic 170-foot tall tower, the Westwood Village Theatre has been home to many Hollywood blockbuster premieres as well as generations upon generations of UCLA Bruins.

2. Hammer Museum

Feel like you need some artistic inspiration lately? The Hammer Museum at UCLA has an enormous variety of paintings and exhibitions, accompanied by an amazing sculpture garden, all of which are guaranteed to leave you truly inspired. Better yet, admission to the museum is completely free! So what are you waiting for? Schedule an exclusive tour at the Hammer today!

3. 901Westwood

Not to be confused with the UCLA campus store in Ackerman Union, this UCLA store located on Weyburn Avenue, otherwise known as “901Westwood,” has been serving the Westwood and UCLA Community with the best deals and promotions ever since its opening three years ago. Hint: Their deals are so great, they’re sometimes even better than the ones on campus! Now that deserves an 8-clap.

4. Diddy Riese

If there’s one thing that’ll bring you back to Westwood, it’s this gem right here. Not only are their freshly-baked cookies the best in the city, but they are also extremely affordable. For only $1.75, you can build your own ice cream sandwich from a wide variety of ice cream flavors and baked goodies! Better yet, you can take home an entire dozen of cookies for only $4! Is your mouth watering yet?

5. Westwood Farmers' Market

Come out and enjoy Westwood Village’s very own farmers' market every Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.! Located on Broxton Avenue, the farmers market is the place for all of those who enjoy locally grown produce, fruit samplings, live music and handmade crafts.

6. Fat Sal’s

Partially owned by Hollywood actor and Entourage cast member Jerry Ferrara, Fat Sal’s is one of Westwood’s most popular lunch and dinner spots. Their unforgettable menu, includes sandwiches stuffed with fries, cheeseburgers, mozzarella sticks and even potato chips, a variety that is truly one for the masses. Sure, this may not be the healthiest dinner option, but you'll definitely keep coming back for more.

7. Geffen Playhouse

Geffen Playhouse Exterior

If you're a fan of live theater, the Geffen Playhouse has to be on your go-to list. The Geffen offers five plays per season that often feature award-winning actors, such as Neil Patrick Harris and David Hyde Pierce! Don’t miss a single moment of the 2016-2017 season! Visit their webpage for shows and ticket information.

8. Fowler Museum

Image result for fowler museum

With a marvelous collection inspired by global arts and cultures and an emphasis on works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas, the Fowler Museum will   enhance your understanding and appreciation for diversity. It will also give you a great opportunity to take a walk through the beautiful UCLA campus!

9. Rocket Fizz

Attention all kids, teens and adults with a dominant sweet tooth: this is the place for you. Located on Broxton Ave, Rocket Fizz offers a large selection of sweets that range from bottled soda pop, to bacon-flavored candies, all of which are fully capable of making any kid or adult go bananas. On top of their wide range of go-to favorites, Rocket Fizz also carries exclusive snacks from foreign countries that you’ve probably never even heard of before!

10. House Of Meatballs

Ever wanted a chance to build your own quality lunch at an affordable price? House Of Meatballs, located on Gayley Avenue, is a Southern Italian Kitchen inspired restaurant where you get to choose everything from the pasta on your plate to the cheese and sauce of your liking. When it comes to deciding the meat, always make sure to go for the homemade meatballs.


Q&A with Juan Matute, Director of the UCLA Local Climate Change Initiative

Juan Matute is the Director of the UCLA Local Climate Change Initiative at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. We asked him a few questions about climate change, transportation and what we can do about it.

Tell us about the Climate Change Initiative at Luskin. 

The UCLA Local Climate Change Initiative does research to support California’s transition to a low-carbon economy while enhancing our quality of life. One of our next projects will look at walkability, bikability, job access, and transit access in different neighborhoods in the Los Angeles region. We want to identify neighborhoods where it’s relatively easy to live a car-light or car-free lifestyle.

Do you have any recent successes at Luskin that you can tell us about?

I recently released a report on hidden incentives that keep Californians driving, even if they’d rather switch to other modes. While many policies may seem innocuous, they end up spreading out cities (leading to greater trip distances and less walking), reduce demand for other transportation options (such as carshare and carpool) or strip some of the potential cost savings  from those who don’t use automobile infrastructure.

What kind of role does transportation play in climate change?

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California.  Successfully reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions will require substantial changes in how we get around each day. In the future, we’ll see far greater levels of walking for neighborhood trips than we currently do. This means substantial changes to the transportation and land use system will occur over the next few decades in order to make walking the preferred mode for more trips.

How do a person’s transportation choices factor into climate change? 

California can set an example for how a rich, auto-dependent economy moves beyond high-energy transportation modes toward a more sustainable means of getting around. UCLA has one of the oldest and most studied alternative commute programs in the country. By using discounted transit passes, biking, walking and even paying for parking rather than receiving it for free, UCLA students, employees, and visitors have managed to make commuting to UCLA far less energy and traffic-intensive than it would otherwise be.

How do you commute to campus each day, and what’s your favorite aspect of it?

I either bike or take the bus to campus. I really like to watch The Colbert Report on the bus, because it makes my commute experience orders of magnitude better than sitting in a driver’s seat, waiting for a queue of cars to get onto the freeway so that one person occupying 300 square feet of space can sneak under the 405.

What can members of the UCLA community do to support Luskin’s work on climate change?
Follow @UCLAClimate on Twitter and respond to the U.S. Census Bureau. Policy researchers love data.