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Teaming Up to Transform L.A.

Two people examine a unique house constructed of pipes, plastic, and cardboard.
The UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge is seeking cross-disciplinary solutions for environmental progress with the help of generous partners.

UCLA crosses divides, connects disciplines, and comes together to promote progress. And thanks to a new round of research grants from the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, experts and entities on campus are doing just that.

An Abundance of Approaches

Teams are converging to transition Los Angeles to 100 percent renewable energy, 100 percent local water, and enhanced ecosystem health by 2050. From the hard sciences to the humanities, researchers have come together to find new ways to reduce greenhouse gases, optimize water use, and maintain Southern California’s biodiversity.

United in purpose, UCLA projects are as varied as the teams. Engineers are working with a public policy professor to integrate solar and thermal energy systems while biologists and faculty from UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics study local wildlife through the lens of public health. An urban planner and electrical engineer are piloting an automated car to test emissions, and law and management experts will explore policies to speed the transition to renewable energy.

Sustaining Support

The Sustainable LA Grand Challenge funding model also demonstrates the power of partnerships and diversity. Government grants have provided significant resources to fight climate change. But funding from foundations and private philanthropy are critical to rounding out those resources. Case in point: The Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation gave $5 million in 2015 for the research grants, which are now funding the interdisciplinary pursuit of promising solutions.

As more philanthropists step up to sustain the Grand Challenge, UCLA will gain momentum toward a sustainable Los Angeles, a model for cities everywhere.

Published March 2017

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