Spotlight: Pacific Urbanism

It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. Here at Abundant Housing LA, we believe that it takes a whole city to change a city.

Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to partner with a wide range of people and organizations in support of solving Los Angeles’ housing crisis. We’ve teamed up with California YIMBY, SPUR, and the Council of Infill Builders to co-sponsor statewide parking reform. As a member of the Our Future LA coalition that is developing long-term solutions to affordable housing growth, we serve with housing justice advocates like Inner City Law Center, Public Counsel, ACCE, and SAJE. And thanks to our partnership with YIMBY Law and experts like Chris Elmendorf and Paavo Monkkonen, we’re leading the fight for high-quality housing elements across L.A. County.

Today, we’re spotlighting Pacific Urbanism, a Los Angeles-based research and design firm that specializes in policy evaluation, data modeling, and community building. Pacific Urbanism is one of our most critical partners in the fight for abundant housing. Pacific Urbanism’s president, Dario Rodman-Alvarez, has been a longtime housing advocate. His deep knowledge of housing policy, talent for quantitative research, and commitment to housing justice is unparalleled. 

Among Pacific Urbanism’s data-driven policy projects are an assessment of suitable sites for off-street homeless shelters throughout the City of Los Angeles, an analysis of the countywide stock of affordable housing, and an assessment of downzoning trends in Venice during the 1970s and 1980s. Their high-quality analysis bolsters the case for fundamental housing policy reform, and illustrates the types of policy solutions that will make housing affordable and abundant in our city.

Last year, we were fortunate to borrow Pacific Urbanism’s expertise in data driven policy to jointly develop the FAIR LA Plan, a proposal for housing growth in the City of Los Angeles. The FAIR Plan uses neighborhood-level quantitative factors, like access to transit, median housing costs, and environmental quality, to assess each neighborhood’s need for housing growth and apportion the citywide RHNA target accordingly. Dario and team brought together multiple data sources and calculated key variables at the neighborhood level, aggregated them into a scoring system, and turned these scores into housing growth targets for each neighborhood. Abundant Housing LA built on this by refining the scoring methodology, adding income-level housing growth targets, and creating a data visualization and map dashboard.

Our efforts led to a detailed, data-driven strategy for equitable citywide housing growth. It has guided our housing element advocacy, and helped us to build a diverse coalition of 20 organizations jointly calling for a FAIR Plan-like approach to updating Los Angeles’ housing element. We’re very proud of what we accomplished together – and this effort wouldn’t have been a success without Pacific Urbanism.

Recently, our former organizing director, Roderick Hall, joined the Pacific Urbanism team as a project manager. We’re delighted that Rod has pursued this opportunity, and look forward to continuing to work with both Rod and Dario through the Our Future LA coalition, of which Pacific Urbanism is a member.