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Video: UCLA Smart and Sustainable Cities Conference

Photo for Video: UCLA Smart and Sustainable

Video and slides from UCLA's first Smart and Sustainable Cities Conference that brought together experts from Israel and across the United States.

On May 19th, UCLA hosted its first Smart and Sustainable Cities Conference. The event brought together experts from Israel and across the United States to discuss cutting-edge policies, designs and technologies that are helping urban centers use their limited resources as efficiently as possible. UCLA faculty members were joined by academic colleagues and other experts in the fields of transportation, energy, water, the built environment and the digital city and sharing economy.

The event was organized by the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies in cooperation with the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, the California Center for Sustainable Communities, Luskin School of Public Affairs, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Grand Challenges, Water Technology Research Center and the Ziman Center for Real Estate joined as conference partners and presenters.

Please find the video from the Conference panels below. You can also click on the names of the panelists to locate a copy of the slides they used in their presentations. For audio, click here and you will be taken to the podcast section of our website.


Travel in cities is both an enabler of increased sustainability and a source of greenhouse gases. This session examined the complex interactions between urban form, travel, and environmental sustainability: the complementarities among transportation, land use, and information technology that enable progress, and the social and economic contradictions that complicate it. What is happening today, what can we expect in the coming few decades, and how should we change planning and policy to achieve smarter and sustainable cities?

Transportation Panel:


Energy generation and consumption in cities is being transformed through policy, technology, and design innovations. The panel explored the innovative policies and governance structures being developed to incentivize local generation of renewable energy and deployment of energy storage, and the innovative technologies that can optimize the energy flows over vehicles, buildings, storage and generation resources. The panel also considered new design strategies for buildings and neighborhoods that render these urban spaces both more energy efficient and energy productive.

Energy Panel:

  • Mary Leslie, Los Angeles Business Council
  • Evyatar Erell, Ben Gurion University
  • Rajit Gadh, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Panel Chair: JR DeShazo, University of California, Los Angeles


With increasing climate change, urbanization and population growth, providing adequate, affordable, and safe water to the public is a major challenge. Cities in Israel, California and around the world are meeting these challenges through greater water conservation, recycling, stormwater capture and infiltration, and groundwater and ocean desalination. The panel discussed how these efforts are leading to more secure supplies, and the technological and data management trends that are making both surface and ground water management sustainable.

Water Panel:

  • Uri Shamir, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
  • Nancy Sutley, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
  • Yoram Cohen, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Panel Chair: Mark Gold, University of California, Los Angeles

Built Environment:

This session addressed multiple ways to modify and adapt buildings, neighborhoods, and infrastructure to meets the evolving needs of urban communities. The built environment provides the framework for human society and it is imperative that it is designed in a resource-efficient fashion that both recognizes ecological boundaries and meets people’s social, cultural, and economic necessities. This can be accomplished by combining smart design with authentic community engagement and a respect for the unique qualities of place.

Built Environment Panel:

The Digital City & Sharing Economy:

Sustainable living requires a behavioral shift by society to change consumption patterns. The “sharing economy” — a shift from ownership to sharing of goods, space, skills and services — is one promising avenue, made possible by the connectivity of a digital society. The panel discussed the implications of the digital society for consumption behavior, with particular attention to the innovative role of the rapidly expanding sharing economy to enabling more sustainable city lifestyles.

The Digital City & Sharing Economy Panel:

Creating the "Sustainable City": Innovation, Politics & Social Change

Technological approaches exist to improving city sustainability — sensors transmitting data about resource use, driverless cars, smart meters for energy and water, and countless other new technologies. But are those sufficient to make a sustainable city? This panel examined the relationships between technology, society and the goal of sustainability, including the ideas of “just sustainability” and “sufficiency” in contrast to efficiency. It also explored the difference between smart cities and intelligent cities, and what is enough to make transformative change.

Creating the "Sustainable City": Innovation, Politics & Social Change Panel:

  • Valerie Brachya, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies
  • Thomas Princen, University of Michigan
  • Robert Krueger, Worchester Polytechnic Institute
  • Panel Chair: Stephanie Pincetl, University of California, Los Angeles