Yearlong “Future L.A.” series on sustainability in Los Angeles comes to a close with final panel conversation examining the effects of hotter temperatures

November 14, 2018

On November 14, 2018, the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge (SLA GC) and the Hammer Museum co-hosted the final conversation in the yearlong Future L.A: Engineering a Sustainable Supercityseries. The ninth and final conversation, titled Hot! Hot! Hot!, explored climate mitigation and adaptation in a hotter, drier Los Angeles – a reality Angelenos are already experiencing as temperatures this summer reached a record-breaking 111 degrees at UCLA on July 7, 2018. Mark Gold, associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability and leader of the SLA GC, moderated the conversation.

Panelists included:

Lauren Faber O’Connor (Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles and L.A. Sustainability Council Member)
Jisung Park (Assistant Professor of Public Policy at UCLA)
George Ban-Weiss (Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at USC)

Professor George Ban-Weiss started the discussion and shared details about the “heat island effect” – the phenomenon where urban centers tend to be hotter than their surrounding rural areas. Cities absorb and retain more heat than vegetation because they are made of up of materials like pavement and concrete. According to Professor Ban-Weiss, “incorporating technologies like cool roofs and cool pavement can significantly lower temperatures in urban centers.”

Professor Jisung Park followed Professor Ban-Weiss’ presentation outlining a few of the adverse impacts rising temperatures have on human productivity and economic growth. Research suggests heat can lower students’ ability to learn, reduce human productivity, and even stunt economic growth.

Lauren Faber O’Connor rounded out the individual presentations. She discussed the steps that the city of Los Angeles is taking to reduce its carbon footprint, and highlighted Los Angeles’ Sustainable City pLAn – a step by step outline of the city’s efforts to transition to environmentally conscious practices while strengthening the economy and improving environmental equity.

The panel closed with a group discussion moderated by AVC Gold. Panelists then fielded questions from the audience, collaborated on solutions to questions and concerns that arose, and shared their expertise.

The SLA GC thanks the Hammer Museum for their collaboration on the yearlong series, and for providing a platform to engage the public on sustainability in Los Angeles. The SLA GC also thanks all who attended the series, as well as the participating panelists for making this series possible.

Video of the discussions are archived and available for viewing on the Future L.A.: Engineering a Sustainable Supercity webpage.