Urban design theory class partners with LA Metro for demography research on new Gold Line Extension communities

Professor Brian Garcia's URP 2010L (Urban Design Theory for Planning Lab) partnered with LA Metro and the Foothill Extension Construction Authority for a demography study of the communities that the new planned Foothill Gold Line Extension will reach along six new stations that will be constructed between Glendora and Montclair. The $2.1 billion project is slated for completion in 2025-26.

Six student teams each provided insights on demographic issues specific to the communities around each of the new planned stations. Their final projects were presented on December 2 to LA Metro officials and alumni Edwar Sissi (Assistant Planner, City of Pasadena, Design and Historic Preservation), Jane Roberts (LA Metro Planning Department) and Jenny Wong (LA Metro Senior Transportation Planner).

Students' final projects built on their demographic research midterm projects. Their proposed design interventions were based on their sites' strengths and weaknesses, including connections such as bridges, pedestrianization improvements, bicycle routes to better connect people to rail or they recommended affordable housing to place people next to rail and other strategies to enliven the station area.

Garcia said students collected their information using online data from sources such as the U.S. Census, online pollution maps, satellite imagery and other land-use mapping tools. COVID-19 restrictions limited first-person data collection, though students already familiar with the neighborhoods around the planned stations used a combination of telephone interviews and online survey interviews for direct observation and site site analyses.

"It has worked out nicely because the students have a connection to these areas and know the areas well," Garcia said. "They’ll likely be working on similar contexts or conditions in their future careers."

LA Metro will use their data and research findings to determine how the new stations are connected to people likely to take passenger rail, if they were in close proximity to the station or needed to be connected to the station through a different strategy.