USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development
About the School

Institute for Civic Enterprise


Civic Infrastructure Systems


In the U.S. and abroad, societies struggle to provide costly civil infrastructure in a resource-constrained environment to enhance the quality of life of a population that is mobile and dispersing geographically.  Development of civil infrastructure systems such as transportation, telecommunications and utilities will increasingly require a broad interdisciplinary perspective that integrates understanding of planning, design, engineering, and social science disciplines.  ICE has a strong research team in transportation planning.  ICE researchers are also exploring how to use private resources to finance public infrastructure projects and how to involve public stakeholders in infrastructure decisions.


Building Communities

In the US and abroad, the pendulum is swinging away from national models to community based approaches that recognize community assets and respond to local needs and concerns. Studies of community based organizations and decision making processes require an interdisciplinary approach that involves economics, finance, sociology, political science and others.  ICE researchers are currently studying various innovations in community based organization and decision making, including the implications of the recent Los Angeles city charter reform.


Managing Risks in the Urban Environment

The urban areas of both developed and developing countries face many risks and environmental impacts.  Examples are risks from natural disasters and pollution.  In the past these risks have been managed through zoning, codes, and regulations.  In recent years, new approaches, often lumped under the tern "deregulation" have been suggested, including financial incentives for risk mitigation, privatization of risk management activities, and creating pollution markets.  Several ICE researchers have explored earthquake risks in Southern California and elsewhere in the world.  Other ICE researchers are studying the uses and limits to implementing innovative approaches to risk management.

Understanding Global Change

Many problems that once could be solved within the boundaries of the nation-state must now be seen from the perspective of an increasing global interdependency.  Examples are population growth and migration problems, worldwide economic crises, global pollution, poverty and hunger.  At the same time, increased international contact through intergovernmental cooperation, multinational corporations, international trade and investment, and telecommunications have created new challenges and opportunities for addressing these global problems.  ICE researchers have begun to study problems of global change especially on topics related to immigration into Southern California and on the economic crisis in South-East Asia.



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School of Policy, Planning, and Development
University of Southern California
Lewis Hall 312
Los Angeles, California 90089-0626
(213) 740-6842
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