Latino Urbanism and Street Vending in LA: Potential Impacts for Health

Our ENV HLT 208 Built Environment and Health course students final projects have ranged from developing recommendations for the LA River, unincorporated LA County communities, Food Gardens, Street Vending and more. Below is one of the memos that took the built environment and health into consideration when recommending the legalization of street vending.

Latino Urbanism and Street Vending in LA: Potential Impacts for Health: Diana Benitez, Ana Bonilla, and Rodolfo Avila-Rodriguez


“So what would you like to do for this patient?”

Radio Perspective – “So what would you like to do for this patient?”

The patient was a quiet, but friendly woman in her 50’s. She was an overweight diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. She was also divorced, unemployed, and had a high school education. This was the summer before my second year of medical school, and I was shadowing a family physician in his clinic in rural Oregon. The answer that he was looking for was to find out why the patient was not taking her medications, and to encourage her to do take her med’s. The answer that I instinctively wanted to give was to encourage to get more exercise, and eat a healthier diet. It would address help with all of her medical conditions simultaneously, and avoid the cost and side effects of the medications.

I would drop out of medical school at the end of that year, for a host of reason. But since then, I learned that there’s a growing awareness within the public health and urban planning communities that we can design cities for people’s health. There’s an element of personal responsibility for lifestyle choices, but we can also make the healthy choice the easy choice, or even better, the default choice.

Wouldn’t you be more likely to walk or bike for short trips if the route were safe and convenient? What if it were a beautiful tree lined path along the river and away from cars? Wouldn’t you be more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if there were fresh, affordable, and available at your local grocery store or farmer’s market? I hope that you have these options in the community where you live, or at least there are people working to make these choices available.

With a perspective, this is Jeff Loi. Hope to see you on the bike path or farmer’s market.

Insomnia in the City

Radio perspective – Insomnia in the City





Oh this is not working! Whoever said that counting sheep would help you go to sleep was probably out there herding cattle and literally counted so many sheep that they would fall dead asleep soon after getting home for the day. I bet that they didn’t have homework to work on or worry about having enough time to get a work out in because the food they ate was fresh and healthier than the food we eat today. It is now 3:22 and I need to be up by 7:00 if I want to have enough time to go for a job before my meeting at 10. If I fall asleep right now, 3:23, I will get 3 hours and 37 minutes of sleep. What good is a run if I can’t even get my full 8 hours? If I take a 15-minute shower, and the bus gets there on time, maybe I can get up at 7:30, to get a full four hours. Four hours doesn’t sound so bad, But if I skip the run I can get an extra hour. Maybe I can run tomorrow evening instead. If I can rush home after class and leave my clothes ready, I can be on my way before it gets dark! That sounds like a plan. Okay, I need to fall asleep it is 3:29 now…

This is a perspective from Ana Tapia

Jurassic Park(let)

Our UP279 Public Space course students designed parklets for the Pasadena Playhouse District this quarter. Below is one of the designs that took the built environment and health into consideration via a children’s parklet.

UP279 Jurassic Park(let): Jewel DeGuzman, Carmen Chen, and Andrew Matsas

Pasadena ‘Foodlet’

Our UP279 Public Space course students designed parklets for the Pasadena Playhouse District this quarter. Below is one of the designs that took the built environment and health into consideration via a food parklet.

UP279 Pasadena ‘Foodlet’: Duncan Smith, Naria Kiani, and Zachary Andrews


Radio Perspective – Are you Ready to take Action?

Radio Perspective – Are you Ready to take Action?

As a kid I sometimes found myself jealous of my classmates that had an inhaler. Why didn’t I have one? I quickly learned it was because I was one of the lucky ones that didn’t have asthma. While I was not envious of my classmates, growing up in Long Beach, it almost seemed like these things were a rite of passage. But little did I know, I was taking part in it every day.

I was not immune to the effects of poor air quality. My exposure just manifested in different ways. Over time I started to become very sensitive to tobacco smoke, strong scented perfumes and chemicals gave me headaches, and when my parents finally bought a home that just so happened to be five blocks away from the 91 freeway, I developed allergies. It wasn’t until I started experiencing my own set of symptoms that I truly asked, “Why is this happening?” I was no longer one of the lucky ones.

The City of Long Beach has long had a complex relationship managing air quality while being home to one of the nations largest economic drivers: the port; and balancing policies that benefit the city financially but also don’t do so at the risk of the health of the residents? That’s what community members and organizers have been working towards: policies that would protect families from further harmful exposure to particulate matter. Particulate matter has even been linked to lung and heart disease, but their voices get drowned out in the tangled bureaucracy of local, county and state politics.

There is no shortage of pollution sources; it affects everybody. Poor air quality doesn’t adhere to city or even county or state boundaries. And the fact that asthma rates in California are higher than the national rates is a major public health crisis.

I can call myself ignorant no more and am ready to do something about it. So my question is, “Are you ready to take action?”

With a perspective, I’m Ana Bonilla.