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Faculty Profile
Jean Yang

Assistant Professor

Orange horizontal rule

212 Marshall Hall

Research Focus

I am fascinated by how public space created through community-enriched development process can shift dynamics between marginalized social groups, and those who typically exercise control over urban spaces, memories, and character. It is through involvement in the creation and management of their city that citizens are most likely to identify with it and, conversely, to enhance their own sense of identity and control (Jacobs and Appleyard 1987: 120).

Parks are linked to beauty, nature, personal wellbeing, AND gentrification. Park-starved communities are thus forced into a complicated political position: at once desiring park improvements while resisting their own displacement. My work (practice and research) focuses on bridge-building. To change our physical environment, I bring together stakeholders across sectors to design, advocate for, and build open space.  A community-led process doesn’t just create a new park. It invariably leads to other projects and a deeper community discourse. A group that coalesced with a park I helped design in 2016 is still together and working to fight gentrification.

Select Awards

2021 APA Sustainable Communities Division Awards for Excellence in Sustainability
Our County

2021 AZ Awards – Urban Design Visions
Upper LA Rivers and Tributaries Plan

2021 Cityscapes AIA Los Angeles 
Destination Crenshaw

2020 ASLA Southern California Honor Award 
Upper LA Rivers and Tributaries Plan

2019 ASLA Communications, Honor Awards 

2018 Comprehensive Planning Award of Merit: California Chapter APA 
Temple City Zoning Code Update

2015 UD4U’s Urban Design Honorable Mention
“Patchwork Agriculture”

2015 Enterprise Rose Architecture Fellowship Finalist
A Better City

2014 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Honor Award 
USC School of Architecture

2014 Ashoka Changemaker’s Sustainable Housing Competition First Place
Kibera Public Space Project 01

2014 Urban Inform Architecture of Social Investment First Place
Kibera Public Space Project 01

Select Projects

  • LA County Department of Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan Project Lead, Studio-MLA
  • Studio-MLA Homeless Initiative, Project Manager, Studio-MLA
  • Taylor Yards Conceptual Design, Associate Designer, Studio-MLA
  • Upper LA River and Tributaries Plan,  Project Manager, Studio-MLA
  • San Gabriel Rivers and Tributaries Plan,  Design Lead, Studio-MLA
  • Hollywood Forever Cultural Landscape Report,  Project Manager, Studio-MLA
  • Destination Crenshaw,  Lead Designer, Studio-MLA
  • Our County – The Los Angeles Countywide Sustainability Plan Project Manager / Public Space Lead, Studio-MLA
  • University of Californian Irvine Naturescapes Vision Plan Associate Designer, Studio-MLA
  • Hunters Point, Lead Planner, Studio-MLA
  • 88th and Vermont Transitional Housing, Lead Designer, Studio-MLA
  • SOFI Stadium. Project Designer, Studio-MLA
  • Temple City Zoning Code Update. Project Manager, JKA
  • Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Plan. Lead Urban Designer, JKA
  • Malibu Civic Center Plan. Project Manager, JKA
  • Santa Monica Memorial Park Plan. Lead Planner, JKA