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LOS ANGELES – Several hundred regional leaders, planners and economic experts will gather in Los Angeles on Monday to discuss that alarming trend and what is being done in the areas of education, training, job growth and state policies to address the “new normal.”

View the press release here.

Public Invited to Transit, Rail Planning Meetings

Join the Southern California Association of Governments for community meetings July 12 and 13 to provide feedback about transit and rail plans for the eastern San Gabriel Valley and western San Bernardino Valley:

  • Tuesday, July 12, 5:30-7:30 pm, George M. Gibson Senior Center, 250 N. 3rd Ave., Upland
  • Wednesday, July 13, 5:30-7:30 pm, Palomares Academy of Health Sciences, 2211 N. Orange Grove Ave., Pomona

View exhibits, discuss future transit and rail options with planners, and complete a survey to help shape the future of transportation for the area. If unable to attend in person, complete a five minute, interactive survey at SCAG-ICS-Survey.com. For more information, contact Project Manager Steve Fox at fox@scag.ca.gov or (213) 236-1855.

Learn more: www.scag.ca.gov/programs/Pages/InterCountyTransitRail.aspx

Los Angeles –SCAG joined the University of Southern California Bedrosian Center on Governance and other prominent civic leaders today in launching the SoCal Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Initiative, a cooperative set of recommendations designed by academia and the private sector to prevent or minimize the damage and disruption caused by a major natural disaster.

The initiative, which comes amid brush fires in Santa Barbara and under the specter of a predicted massive quake along the San Andreas fault, brings scientists, business leaders and policymakers together to boost Southern California’s sustainability and resiliency in the face of a natural disaster.

The DRR Initiative is a product of combined knowledge of an unprecedented gathering of scholars. The joint team’s executive committee, which includes retired U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones as a special advisor, unveiled the recommendations to the public during a June 23 forum on the USC campus. According to report authors and other leaders present in the forum, the recommendations serve as a case study for both the Southern California region and the world.

“With this initiative, we want to help build a more resilient Southern California – one where communities across the Southland work hand-in-hand with the government,” said Raphael Bostic, director of the USC Bedrosian Center. “We don’t want to provide abstract suggestions on what ‘needs’ to be done. Our ultimate goal is comprehensive engagement with local communities, businesses and authorities, so they make the right disaster risk reduction decisions themselves.”

Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments and co-chair of the DRR Initiative, added, "Southern California's vulnerability to natural disasters demands that we look forward, and prepare comprehensively to mitigate the impact of a major event. It is critical to our economy and to the 18 million residents in the region that we strengthen our connections, our infrastructure, and build resilience."

In the recommendations, the joint team addresses several major risks typically stemming from natural disasters in densely-populated seaside and mountainous regions like Southern California. They have compiled a list of the best resources leading to focused outcomes that can be implemented. The combination of disaster-related challenges is divided into five groups: infrastructure interdependencies, education on true impacts, social capital as a solution, fire following earthquakes, and enhancing building resilience.

“Massive natural disasters, primarily, earthquakes, are a certain possibility in Southern California in the years to come,” said John Bwarie of Stratiscope, who is also a project coordinator on the DRR Initiative. “Research shows that people fail to prepare since it is either too complicated, or too overwhelming. The Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative identifies simple steps that can be taken in the short-term to reduce the impact of a disaster.”

“This effort was launched to bring the private and public sectors together to target actions that can be taken now to address our vulnerabilities,” said Chris Smith, the other co-chair of the Initative and founder of eqcglobal. “We can all significantly reduce the impact of the next great earthquake. These solutions are manageable and specific, so this report can be used today.”

The SoCal DRR Initiative Executive Committee includes representatives from Los Angles Economic Development Corporation, AEG Worldwide, USC Bedrosian Center on Governance, Alston and Bird, Southern California Edison, Walt Disney Company, Urban Land Institute-Los Angeles, Southern California Association of Governments, Port of Los Angeles, AON Risk Services, SoCal Gas, EQC Global, Wells Fargo, and Stratiscope. To download the report, click here.

Los Angeles – Millennials represent one of the most dynamic population segments in the United States, but face significant housing and employment challenges in the new economy, experts said Monday.

Speaking at an all-day conference at the California Science Center - “The Continued Rise of the Millennials?” - demographers, policy makers and business leaders said a gridlock of housing and jobs is impacting where and how young adults are living more than perceived preferences. Millennials – typically defined as persons born between 1980 and 1999 – now number 75.4 million in the United States and is the nation’s largest living generation, according to the Census Bureau.

Monday’s conference was the latest in an annual series of demographic workshops sponsored by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. 

“The Great Recession really slammed the college generation. They walked right into a death trap,” said Dowell Myers, director of the Population Dynamics Research Group at the Price School.

In addition to a tightened job market, the economic shift that began in 2007 resulted in a sharp reduction in single-family and multifamily housing construction, creating a supply-and-demand  imbalance that has hit California and Greater Los Angeles particularly hard. As millions of millennials were reaching adulthood, massive numbers of homeowners were forced back into the rental market. 

Compounding this, the move-up market has stalled as well, with growing numbers of homeowners choosing to stay put. This, too, has been driven by market forces – notably the rapid acceleration in home costs. According to the California Association of Realtors (CAR), only 34 percent of households in the state can afford a median-priced home, well below the U.S. average of 60 percent.

“To understand what’s happening with millennials, it’s important to see what’s happening with baby boomers. They’re not moving. It’s not penciling out for them,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, CAR’s vice president and chief economist.  As a result, “We now have a generation (millennials) that has delayed adulthood for eight years.” 

Randall Lewis, executive vice president and a principal in the Lewis Operating Corp., a major Southern California community builder, said about a third of all millennials currently live at home. 

“Most are there because they’re forced to live there,” Lewis said. “We’re in the middle of a crisis. Supply is a powerful force in keeping housing affordable.” 

Another powerful force are career opportunities – a point Lewis emphasized in urging policy makers to work with their school districts. “There is a really strong correlation between educational attainment and employment,” he said.

Other challenges highlighted during the conference include community resistance to affordable housing and the long-term financial impact of student loan debt. According to a National Association of Realtors survey released Monday, 71 percent of respondents with student loan debt said the burden of those monthly payments was keeping them from buying a home.

Michele Martinez, a Santa Ana City Council member and President of SCAG, said it is important to understand how multilayered these challenges are – for millennials and the region’s communities.

“From housing to job creation to regional transportation planning and sustainability, we have a lot of work to do,” Martinez said. “What we’re seeing very clearly is that the challenges one generation or one community faces are closely connected to the challenges faced by others. We don’t live in silos. We need to work collaboratively and with shared vision.” 

Keywords : Demographics

On April 8, 2016, SCAG submitted the approved Final 2016-2040 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (2016 RTP/SCS), the associated 2015 Federal Transportation Improvement Program (FTIP) Consistency Amendment through Amendment 15-12, and Final 2016 RTP/SCS PEIR to the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, California Air Resources Board and other reviewing agencies for review and certification. As the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the six-county Southern California region, SCAG must develop a RTP/SCS that will comply with federal and state transportation and air quality regulations. On June 1 & 2, 2016, SCAG received joint conformity determination letters from the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration indicating that all federal air quality conformity requirements for the 2016 RTP/SCS and the associated 2015 FTIP Consistency Amendment through Amendment 15-12 have been met. The FHWA/FTA conformity determination will remain in effect for four years and will replace the previous determination made on June 4, 2012.

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