UCLA Student Project Spotlight

Over the course of our work on the East San Gabriel Valley Area Plan, we have the opportunity to collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders and subject matter experts.

One piece of this collaboration is our ongoing work with UCLA graduate students, and their capstone research projects. We recently had the opportunity to work with Jane Lee, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning AND Master of Public Health Candidate.

Their project, titled “STEPS: Spaces Through the Eyes and Perceptions of Seniors”, focuses on assessing the post-pandemic physical and social use of Open Space by older adults in Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights.

“Open spaces, defined as any open piece of land that is undeveloped and accessible to the public, have been shown to be particularly beneficial to seniors (defined as those aged 65+), who have also been documented to be vulnerable to high feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Older adults and access to open space is an often overlooked topic, yet is a pressing issue when planning for an aging population. My approach draws from three years of research experience on community-based geriatric health, along with a personal passion towards studying senior behaviors, including how and where they have thrived during the pandemic.”

The insights developed in this report allow our team to better adapt the Area Plan to include policies and considerations that best meet the needs of older adults. The recommendations given in the report are also practical, and include implementation ideas with low costs and high impact.

“This report is intended to encourage and support urban decision-makers in the planning process for open spaces, which starts with nothing more than recognizing that even the smallest changes in attitudes, land use, and even signage can reactivate a space to generate greater social benefits.”

To read the report and to see the poster, click the links below:

Thank you Jane!