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Symposium brings community together to develop goals for LA

USAC President John Joanino speaks to attendees during the #UCLA2050 Symposium at the Fowler Museum on Friday. (Tamaryn Kong/Daily Bruin)

By So Jung Ki

April 28, 2014 1:57 a.m.

Members of the L.A. community gathered at Fowler Museum Friday to brainstorm ways to improve the future of the city.

About 150 people attended the #UCLA2050 Symposium, which aimed to engage students, faculty and community leaders in sharing their visions for Los Angeles in the year 2050.

LA2050 is an initiative launched by the Goldhirsh Foundation to plan and innovate for the city’s future based on the visions set forth by community members.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council Office of the President is one of 20 groups that received a $5,000 grant from LA2050 to organize an event where members of the community can develop the goals they have for the future of Los Angeles.

The USAC president’s office spent about $4,400 for the symposium and plans to return the remaining funds to the Goldhirsh Foundation, said John Joanino, USAC president.

The grantees host events based on the framework of communicating the five goals of LA2050 – to make Los Angeles the best place to learn, create, play and connect and the healthiest place to live, said Shauna Nep, the social innovation manager at the Goldhirsh Foundation.

Joanino said the symposium aimed to draw in influential community members who can contribute to the broad LA2050 plan, which tries to tackle issues such as education, environment and social connectivity, among others. LA2050 tries to promote its message through social media and other avenues.

Nep said her team liked that the USAC president’s office tried to engage individuals from diverse backgrounds – from high school students to non-L.A. residents – in discussing the future of Los Angeles.

Angela Hong, a UCLA alumna; D’Artagnan Scorza, a former UC student regent and UCLA alumnus; and Miguel Sangalang, the director of innovation and performance management at Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, said at the event that they were excited about the positive changes they foresee in Los Angeles as a result of this project.

Logan Linnane, a third-year environmental studies and political science student who attended the event, said he is particularly attentive to the goal of making Los Angeles the best place to live.

As an appointee of the UCLA Sustainability Committee, he said he envisions the campus emitting less carbon from its facilities and utilizing eco-friendly energy in the future.

Several participants discussed the goals of LA2050 through comparisons between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Nep said she talked to a student who perceived Southern California as less attractive for businesses compared to the clusters of financial industries and information technology companies in Northern California. Nep said she thinks the goal “L.A. is the best place to create” should address misconceptions some people have about the differences between Northern and Southern California and promote Los Angeles as a global business hub.

Hong said she thinks the public transportation in Los Angeles needs to be improved.

“I would love to see public transportation get a lot better because it is applicable to everyone,” she said.

Living in the city as a non-resident, Hong said the goal of having Los Angeles be the best place to connect should include reducing L.A. traffic and rescheduling public transportation to run more frequently.

LA2050 also plans to open up applications for more grants this summer.

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