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Alumna Angela Johnson Meszaros works in environmental justice, focusing on air quality, as general counsel for the organization Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles. Photo by Ana Mascarena.

Helping Us Breathe Easier

July 14, 2014

In Los Angeles and Orange counties in the past year, the oil industry has used more than 45 million pounds — 22,500 tons — of toxic air pollutants as part of its 477 hydraulic fracturing (fracking), acidizing and…

USC Dornsife professor Manuel Pastor (from left), talk show host Tavis Smiley; Maria Brenes, executive director of Inner City Struggle; and Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, participated in Smiley's kickoff for a four-year initiative to address poverty in America. Photograph by Zon D'Amour.

Pastor Speaks on Poverty

July 3, 2014

Sharing bleak statistics during a recent kickoff for Tavis Smiley Foundation’s Ending Poverty initiative, professor Manuel Pastor pointed to the need to raise the public’s awareness about the high poverty levels in…

USC Dornsife's David Ulin of the Master of Professional Writing program (far right) moderates a discussion about how the literary perception of Los Angeles architecture helped shape the city's identity. Ulin is book editor of the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>. From left: Jon Christensen, Alice Kimm and Christopher Hawthorne. Photo by  Gary Leonard.

Tales from Two Cities

March 6, 2014

For nearly 90 years, Los Angeles’ architecture has been seized upon by the city’s critics as an easy target, a way to reinforce its reputation as a shallow place without roots. Unjustly so, argued USC…

Joseph Hawkins is a professor of anthropology at USC Dornsife and director of ONE Archives at USC Libraries. But in a former life, he was at the epicenter of fine dining in Los Angeles. Photo by Dietmar Quistorf.

The Corner Booth

January 24, 2014

For students of USC Dornsife anthropologist Joseph Hawkins, fieldwork could require a reservation at Spago. Fortunately, Hawkins has the connections to make those kinds of arrangements. Wolfgang Puck’s legendary…

Residents of low-lying Southern California communities, such as San Pedro, would be most affected by flooding, according to a USC Dornsife study. Photo by Philip Belfer.

High Tide Predicted

January 9, 2014

Los Angeles, a metropolis perched on the edge of a coast, can expect to experience a sea level rise of as much as two feet by 2050 due to climate change, according to current projections. In anticipation, a team from USC…

The USC Korean Studies Institute

Explaining Korea to the World

November 27, 2013

USC Dornsife's Korean Studies Institute nurtures future generations of scholars through classes, programs and activities designed to increase interest in the East Asian territory and encourage a wider public discussion about…

Maria Guzman helped PERE and other organizations collect air-quality data in the Pacoima, Calif., neighborhood, which is surrounded by freeways. Studies show that those living near air pollution sources have a higher risk of asthma, as her children experienced. They also risk cancer and respiratory illnesses. Photos by Damon Casarez.

‘Our Voices Have Been Heard’

November 13, 2013

The early morning hour was taking its toll on Maria Guzman as she stood near a freeway underpass in Pacoima, Calif. As the sun rose and traffic chugged by, she diligently recorded her coordinates with a Global Positioning…

Dana Johnson, Judith Freeman and Richard Rayner, all USC Dornsife writers and faculty members, share the same muse: the city of Los Angeles. Photos by Cody Pickens.

Los Angeles by the Book

October 22, 2013

It was the 1970s and Judith Freeman was living in Sun Valley, Idaho, a ski instructor and horse wrangler by day, an aspiring writer by night. She’d never set foot in Los Angeles, yet she knew instinctively she needed to…

As part of the the Garden Gateway Nutrition Program (GGNP), residents of South Los Angeles prepare edible gardens at a local community garden. GGNP is one of many programs supported in part by the USC Good Neighbors Campaign. Photo by Zhiyi Feng.

Be a Good Neighbor

October 15, 2013

Strides have been made to remove the moniker “food desert” from South Los Angeles. Farmers markets have sprouted. Bans against more fast-food restaurants have been implemented. But Garden Gateway Nutrition Project…

A modern, electric city is born: a 1958 image of Los Angeles at night. Photo by Joseph Fadler, courtesy Huntington Library, San Marino.

Electric City

May 23, 2013

A towering electricity pylon dominates a moody black-and-white nightscape of 1950s Los Angeles. Silhouetted center stage, it straddles the landscape, its looping power cables carving up the artificially illuminated sky. At…