Wk 2- Group Assignment

Group Name: Project “Develop China”

Why are prosperity and economic activity spread so unevenly across China? Are workers in Shanghai really 13 times more productive than workers in Guizhou? Spatial inequality has become an increasingly important feature of the spatial economy of many developing countries, and seems to be coupled with increasing economic growth and development. Despite tremendous growth over the past 30 years, spatial inequality in China is intensifying over time. To better understand this puzzling relationship between growth and inequality I investigate geographical explanations of uneven development and apply them to the Chinese case.
The observed spatial inequality in China and elsewhere can be explained, in part, by inequalities associated with geography’s first nature and second nature. Specifically, first nature refers to the natural advantage of some locations over others in terms of resource endowments, climate and access to rivers, coasts, ports and borders. Second nature considers the interactions between economic agents, and especially increasing returns and diminishing transport costs associated with agglomeration economies.

The goals of this project are 3-fold: first, test several main hypotheses developed in the economic growth literature and apply them to the Chinese context; second, taking into account spatial dependence, identify neighborhood effects of relative location on growth; and third, offer policy-relevant insights for Chinese regional development. To carry out my research objectives, I will use the Annual report of Industrial Enterprise Statistics collected by the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) from 1998-2009. The dataset includes an extensive set of variables at the firm level, including geographic location (given at the zip code level), gross output, sales, R&D, value added, net fixed assets, exports, employee training expenditures, firm ownership structure, industry affiliation (given at the 4-digit level), establishment year, employment and FDI. I will build interactive maps to show how county growth, agglomeration and resource production changes over time in China.

Lead Researcher

Anthony Howell – Sino Scholar

In collaboration with UCLA Geography and Peking University Urban and Regional Planning in Beijing, China, I am working closely to carry out research that intersects research perspectives developed within the geography, urban and regional planning and economic development literatures. I am from Lansing, MI and received a B.S. in Political Science and a B.S. in Chinese Language and Culture from Michigan State University. At UCLA, I am pursuing a joint degree program in Statistics and Geography (M.S/PhD).

Tulum Raiders: Group Introduction


A rapidly emerging Caribbean coastal town of 18,000 inhabitants, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico is a tourism hotspot. It only became a municipality in 2008, and since then has begun comprehensive urban planning efforts. However, resources are still being made available to the current and future communities of Tulum. The Urban Master Plan projects significant growth over the next five years that will more than double the size of the town. Organizations of community volunteers are in place and local residents are interested in benefiting their community. Success in local volunteer Red Cross programs shows that there is a strong commitment to community engagement. However, a centralized resource of information is not currently available in Tulum to facilitate dialogue and foster collaboration. The municipal staff has agreed that this resource is of high priority to the health of their growing communities, and they have engaged the Tulum Raiders in carrying out this objective.

Project Objectives

  1. Supporting Municipal Agendas: The neighborhood website will provide technical and social knowledge for use in updating the comprehensive Urban Master Plan and making other citywide investment decisions, so that the municipality considers the wealth of ecology and public interest, while fostering the economic growth vital to improving the quality of life for Tulumeños.
  2. Fostering Community Engagement: Community webpages will grant a platform for citizens to express ideas and concerns about their town, as well as a centralized place to collect information. When the website becomes widely accessed, citizens will use this resource as a virtual extension of their neighborhoods. Creating a sense of belonging and ownership of residents to their neighborhoods will increase security and improve these areas overall.
  3. Assessing the environmental impact of rapid urbanization: A town of 18,000 inhabitants, Tulum is growing rapidly with little attention to the impact on the environment. Not only is Tulum in a tropical forest and on a coastline, but it also sits on three interconnected fragile water ecosystems; the largest underground river system in the world, the mangrove forest and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. Our team aims to map where population growth and infrastructural development is happening (by overlaying the geographical map) to identify vulnerable areas. As a community resource, this information will help to educate the public, as well as provide a reference tool for the Urban Planning staff in updating their Urban Master Plan as growth continues.

Final Product

Neighborhood Resource Portal


  1. Tulum Municipal Offices
  2. Residents of Tulum

Group Members and Roles

Lisa Glancy, Project Manager

Lisa Glancy is a Mexican American native of Seattle, WA. She studied at the University of Washington before moving to Mexico City for many years. She then worked as a Divemaster in Tulum, on the Mexican Caribbean coast, where she fell in love with the community and their intricate connection to the natural environment. Lisa is currently completing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree at the UCLA, while continuing to work on projects in Tulum. She is producing a documentary film there, coordinating an environmentally sustainable mixed-use development and also conducting asset and deficit mapping with the municipal government and international partners. She hopes that projects such as these will benefit communities like Tulum in environmentally sustainable economic growth.

Paola Bassignana, Community Engagement Specialist

 Paola Bassignana is a born-and-raised Southern Californian of Ecuadorian decent. Her strong family ties to her parents’ native country instilled an interest in travel, culture, and international development from a young age. She studied International Relations and Italian at the University of California, Santa Barbara and furthered her Italian studies at the University of Padua, Italy. Paola has experience working in the non-profit sector and has a particular career interest in international development. After spending time post graduation squandering her modest savings on travel and interning in Washington DC, Paola decided she would be more useful in the field as an urban planner. She is currently a student in the M.A. of Urban and Regional Planning program at UCLA.

Grace Phillips, Web Designer and Blogger

Grace was born in Echo Park and has lived in many states since. She grew up on the Amtrak line between Philadelphia and Boston, with some allegiance to the Hudson River Line.  After getting a degree in Chinese (none of which she remembers, so please don’t ask her anything in Chinese and potentially embarrass her) and geography from Princeton and Columbia, she worked in many different industries.  Her most recent career as a sustainable landscape designer led her to get her MA from UCLA in Regional and Urban Planning focusing on public spaces and infrastructure.  She tends to focus obsessively on how urban public spaces and public infrastructure impact human health.

Yumiko Ota, Sustainable Growth Specialist

Yumi is from Tokyo, Japan. Her background is in international development. Before coming to UCLA she worked as a consultant and participated in several infrastructural and economic development projects in Asia and Africa. Her speciality is in community development, participatory development, and informal economy. She is interested in sustainable urban growth by creating development plans that are environmentally sound and sufficiently accommodate residents’ needs.

How safe is LA? New IT firm to re-present the city’s safety in a new light

We are pleased to announce Home.Land.Security., a new IT firm specializing in mapping the safety of Los Angeles’ communities for the city’s most vulnerable people.

In February of this year, Trayvon Martin, a 16-year-old African American was shot and killed by George Zimmerman as he walked to his girlfriend’s house in Sanford, Florida. The killing, which appears to have been racially motivated, has triggered anger and sadness nationwide. It has also sparked controversy and attention to the safety of Black and Latino teenagers—especially after talk show host Geraldo Rivera suggested that Trayvon’s death was due to his wardrobe choice (a hooded sweatshirt) rather than his racist attacker. This project is a response to incidents like Trayvon’s death, and seeks to bring to light the larger systemic forces that make neighborhoods unsafe.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the interrelationships between health, safety, and the built environment and the dire need to create safer spaces. Public health professionals have begun to think more holistically about health, questioning the social and spatial determinants of wellbeing. Planners too are thinking beyond their traditional domain, questioning how streets, housing, neighborhoods and cities may affect the health of their residents.

We believe that this growing attention to creating safe and healthy spaces is a positive development, but that it does not go far enough. It has failed to address the acute threats to the safety of queers, immigrants, people of color, women, low-income people, the homeless, people with disabilities, and other communities.

Home.Land.Security. seeks to fill this gap by visually representing unsafe, threatening and harmful spaces as experienced by the most vulnerable. We will include some traditional health riskscapes, such as pollution and access to healthy food and open space, but will also include less traditional threats such as immigration raids, racist/homophobic discourse and hate crimes and police violence. Our team is working around the clock to asses which data sources are most appropriate to explore this topic.

Meet our team

Jordan “Bug Zapper” Rozencranz, Lead Coder
Ben “Likes Shiny Things” Palmquist, Lead User Interface Designer
Pamela “Devil in the Details” Stephens, Lead Data Wrangler
Will “Wordsmith” Dominie, Lead Author

Week 2: Group Proposal


GeoStories is a Los Angeles-based consortium of Urban Studies and Culturomic experts working with clients to create interactive, experiential mapping solutions using web-GIS technologies. In particular, GeoStories specializes in combining narrative and cartographic practices to create engaging, consumer-facing digital map interfaces. GeoStories is led by:

Andrew Pogany — Chief Experience Officer (CEO):

As CEO, Pogany leads business development and account management, and is thus responsible for determining the best ways to effectively address each client’s particular goals. Pogany works closely with GIS technologists as well as the SST to create immersive, interactive, and sustainable digital mapping solutions.

Uyen Ngo — Senior Story Teller (SST):

As SST, Ngo is responsible for collecting, curating, and managing the materials necessary to create personal stories to share with the world. As such, she works closely with clients as well as individuals to determine the required content and to ensure that content’s quality and security.


For their newest client, UrbanStudies206B, GeoStories looks to create a “StoryEngine” that would allow users to create their own multimedia, narrative-driven maps. The StoryEngine site—whose motto is, “Tell Your Story, One Place At a Time”—would in essence be an interface that prompts a user to input information and media that would then be used to almost immediately generate a personalized, digital map narrative. For example, the interface would utilize a function asking the user to input a minimum of 5 locations, each with written descriptions (stories), and with the option of attaching media such as images/video. Once finished, and the user hits the “Mapify” button, a digital map incorporating the user’s designated locations, descriptions, and media would automatically be generated. The map could then be easily shared or downloaded.

Take Energy Seriously, Los Angeles! (T.E.S.L.A.)

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption is a priority of the state of California. In 2009, California implemented SB 375, which requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to create Sustainable Community Strategies to address these goals.

Recently, New York City published a consumption map that graphically displays electricity use at the block level (http://modi.mech.columbia.edu/nycenergy/). It further estimates annual energy consumption by end-use (space heating, space cooling, electricity usage, and hot water).

This map has garnered a lot of attention from California’s MPOs and Governor Jerry Brown. Last week, Governor Brown’s office requested a similar map be produced for Los Angeles’ energy consumption. The Institute of the Environment (a research facility at UCLA) has accepted this challenge and want to produce a pilot map to engage people with their ongoing research related to SB 375.

Why Energy Mapping?

Our team, Take Energy Seriously, Los Angeles! (T.E.S.L.A.), will use New York’s energy consumption map as a resource.  Our group will create a pilot version of this map for the City of Los Angeles (City) mapping water and energy consumption. We have annual water usage data at the address (meter) level and electricity data at the zip-plus four level. Additionally, we have a parcel map that has building-type and square-footage data for the City. This data is useful because it provides a more complete overview of energy consumption in Los Angeles.

As of right now, only the utilities know how much energy is used and where it is used. Producing this map greatly impacts energy policy in the City and eventually throughout the State. Knowing this level of data can assist policymakers in their understanding of implications of energy sustainability requirements and goals. This map can also be utilized by Los Angeles residents to clarify and illuminate where the major power consumers are in the city.

Our Team

Jacki- Technical Genius and Principal Dreamer

Hailing from Kansas City, Jacki came to UCLA’s Urban and Regional Planning program and hit the ground running! She has worked for The Institute of the Environment for three quarters and will be the liaison between our client (The Institute of the Environment) and our group. Jacki’s data analysis skills will be a great addition as we graphically display complex information.

Kristen- Energy Super Star and Data Cruncher

A local of Southern California, Kristen grew up with an interest in Los Angeles happenings. As an undergraduate, Kristen studied residential energy consumption and feedback technologies to increase conservation. Her extensive knowledge will be valuable to inform decisions regarding data analysis.

Kyle- Math Extraordinaire and Voice of Reason

Kyle is the MAN! Not just gender wise, but also in cool-factor. As a civil engineer, Kyle will be a great asset in validating our methodology and processing complex levels of data. Kyle hails from Anaheim, California but spent his undergraduate years in New York.

Zhongbo- Creative Director and Voice of the People

Zhongbo makes the world a better looking place wherever she goes! Originally from Jilin, China, Zhongbo has a degree in civil engineering and is currently concentrating in Design and Development at UCLA’s Urban and Regional Planning program. Her ability to inspire will create an engaging interface that is user-friendly.

Where Are We From?

Introducing FNR Consulting

FNR Consulting is a new Los Angeles-based firm that is focused on meeting client’s needs by mixing web-based GIS technologies with a proprietary blend of of winning.  Their first project, expected to be released in late spring, will be a demonstration of this philosophy.

The Project
Angelenos are known for their supposed love of the automobile. But before LA epitomized car culture, it was home to an extensive public transit system. This is still true today, with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) operating the third-largest public transportation system in the US (by ridership), not to mention the other municipal transit operators in the region. Recent funding sources, such as Measure R and (potentially) the 30/10 initiative (now Fast Forward America), can further improve transit access throughout the county. Despite the popularity of these efforts, however, most Angelenos still drive. While we certainly do not expect this will change overnight, we want to help improve accessibility for transit passengers today.

Physical access alone does not necessarily translate into widespread accessibility. On of the barriers especially to getting choice riders on board with using transit is improving the user experience and providing information that makes transit easy to use. To this end, our team is working to develop an application that will show users the pedestrian shed surrounding their local transit stops, mapping easily walkable destinations to encourage potential users to try transit and facilitating greater knowledge and accessibility for existing riders. This website will feature an interactive, searchable interface to integrate:

• LACMTA bus and rail maps,
• distance/time-based pedestrian sheds for transit lines, and
• businesses and destinations within the pedestrian shed.

Providing existing and potential riders with this information can show just how walkable parts of LA are, and can augment riders’ knowledge about what opportunities exist surrounding their transit stops.

The Team

Francis Reilly,

Francis likes transit and maps. He wants to encourage people to try the former by using the latter.

Norihiko Sakurai,

Nori loves trains and traveling.  He is fascinated by high speed railways and vibrant communities with slopes.

Roman Lopez,

Roman enjoys reading non-fiction books of any subject and traveling.  He dislikes asymmetric information.

Fort Awesome presents Secret City

The Secret City Project:
Uncovering History in Real-Time

Secret City

Our overall goal going forward on this project will be to remind people that our present time is a lot less unique than we’d all like to believe. This might seem a bit cynical at first, but it can also empower us in that it links us with individuals in the past who dealt with the same stresses that we do today. While past citizens were not able to tweet about these experiences, we aim to reconstruct a few of these stories and localize them to specific neighborhoods to give present social media users the opportunity to see what a 1920’s twitter stream in Westlake (now McArthur Park) would have looked like. Focusing on one neighborhood and following its history over the span of decades will also allow us to see how a neighborhood’s character changes with its demographics.

We believe that this project will have relevance for anyone interested in the evolution of cities over time. Naturally, current residents of the neighborhoods we profile will also be quite interested.

Potential Application of Project
The information we uncover and display can be used to bolster neighborhood cohesion by allowing individuals to attach their personal histories to certain decades and locations. Apart from being pretty cool, we feel that this will also remind people that the city is not a static structure and that existing conditions need not necessarily remain.

Fort Awesome Inc.
Roy Samaan – Master of Ceremonies
Justin Oh- Executive Vice President of Security
Daniel Parades- Messenger
Alexander Pudlin- Junior Custodian

Alex Pudlin
Alexander Pudlin
With a week of experience, Alex will happily take on the site’s style/graphics components (e.g. style sheet and layout).  In addition, he’ll research APIs that will help support this project’s mission. If feasible, he will (at least help) implement a time slider as well. Of course, as the project develops, his role may shift completely.

Roy Samaan
Roy Samaan
Roy will be taking on the task of theming/storyboarding the project ( in conjunction with the other troops garrisoned at Fort Awesome, naturally). He will also be researching methods to display historical information to highlight how the built form of the city has changed over time, and how the demographics of different neighborhoods have shifted over time.

Justin Oh
Justin Oh
When not keeping the riffraff out of Fort Awesome, Justin is assigned with researching and producing historical records from a variety of primary and secondary sources. He will take on additional Executive Vice-Presidential duties as needed.

Daniel Paredes
Daniel Paredes
Daniel is one of the few soldiers in this battle with experience in the horrors of website development and management. He began training in html at the tender age of 16, when he developed his first website as a class project. During college, Daniel oversaw routine maintenance of crg.berkeley.edu, which has since changed to become more reliant on dynamic techniques like drupal and ajax, a trend in modern website and application development. As messenger, Daniel will try to ensure that the message of Fort Awesome spreads far.

Introducing GoM! Members

Team: GoM! – (Go with Metro!)  Go!M website


We propose to design a mobile application with user-friendly interface targeting at college students in Los Angeles, releasing them information including Housing, Food & Dining, and Recreational Activities.

With this mobile application, students can find dorms & hotels, fine food with cheap price, bars & performances, and all this activities are within the service area of Metro. Besides, people can use Metro Student Community function to students who live in the same community and communicate with them.

Housing: low-rate housing information, school dorm locator (mainly about how to transit from the housing site to schools, providing functions like comparing the commute time of several sites etc.)

Food and Dining: low prize and high-ranked restaurants around school and dorm area on Yelp

Recreation Information: 1. Latest performance information update; 2. Recreation facilities around schools or within reach of Metro service; 3. Categorized recreational information (nightlife, museums, parks, hiking, biking, sport matches, concerts, theaters…)

Metro Student Community: 1. Finding students who live in the same community and using GoM! 2. Chatting room for students using GoM! to communicate

Team Members:

Jinghua Suo (Chief Web-Designer)

Jinghua Suo is the chief web designer of GoM!. She holds a master degree in Architecture in Tongji University in China and is a professional architect. She is a current MURP student in UCLA.

Joy—Eun Bee Kim (Web-Designer)

Eun Bee ‘Joy’ Kim was born in Seoul, Korea. She moved to US when she was 14.  She received BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley and currently, enrolled in MA Urban planning program at UCLA.

Mingzhe Liu (Marketing Manager and Web-Designer)

Mingzhe Liu is marketing manager and web-designer of GoM!. He is a professional planner in China in water management and now exchangingin MURP program in UCLA.

Lu Lu (Financial Officer and Application Designer)

Lu Luis financial officer and designer of this application. She holds a BA degree in English Literature in Zhejiang University in China and now a current MURP student of UCLA.