All posts filed under: Career

New Beginnings – Columbia

The past month has been a whirlwind, from my departure from the City of Los Angeles, my cross-country roadtrip, to my first week at Columbia University. A lot has changed. I am no longer engaged in building public policy or writing feasibility studies. Everything has become a blessing after the hardships I endured the last eight months. There is much truth in the idea that new beginnings allow you to do something new and be someone new or even to feel something new. I have never worked so hard or felt as assured in my life, from handling grad school coursework to really trying to organize and bond our cohort together. This change really came from the lesson during my time at DCP, especially the last months. The importance of knowing the people you see and work with everyday cannot be understated. Babak, Cally, Nina, Jason, Iris, and Angela you taught me so much during the last few months we spent together. I cannot thank you enough. Though everyday has been pretty much a 9 …

Transit Oriented Communities Affordable Housing Incentive Program

On Friday, September 22, the Transit Oriented Communities Affordable Housing Incentive Program (TOC) – implemented by Measure JJJ last November – became effective. This has been a project I have worked on for most of this year and it has been very exciting to see it become a reality. With the rising housing costs in Los Angeles, it has been crucial to develop initiatives that spur more residential housing development. This program can be viewed as a super Density Bonus, which is an ordinance that allows for increased density in exchange for the provision of affordable housing. Affordability is defined as 30% (very low), 50% (low), and 80% (moderate) of the area median income. Though the program is limited to a half-mile radius around Major Transit Stops, as defined by the California State Public Resources Code Section 21064.3, many developers are excited because this new program allows for the possibility of a density increase up to 80% off the base zoning, along with a variety of incentives such as reduction in parking and increase in …

Analyzing Density Bonus Developments in the City of Los Angeles

On February 22, 2016, I started the GIS Specialization Course with UC Davis through Coursera. For those of you who have paid attention, I have started the final course of the specialization: Geospatial Analysis Project. As with other Coursera specializations, this is a Capstone project that is the culmination of the previous courses. For this project, I have to propose, design, analyze, and present a geospatial analysis project from start to finish. This week requires the creation of my project proposal, which is as follows (if any of you have suggestions on data sources and/or analysis, please feel free to comment): What is Density Bonus? Density Bonus is a program through which a developer can apply for a project with a unit density greater than that allowed by the current land use zoning, as calculated from unit floor area and floor area ratio (FAR). In exchange for the higher density, the developer must set aside a certain number of units to be affordable: this is by restricting the rent levels or sale prices to targeted income levels …

Half-Year Review – All that Work 就說到做到

About four months ago, I wrote about goals to achieve by the time my birthday rolled around. Well, my birthday came and went on the 8th of June and here I am today, looking back and looking forward. Before we start, big shout out to my friends with their surprise cakes. First, let’s review my goals and how much I completed: Learn Spanish – I am at 50% fluency on Duolingo! Learn to write Chinese – I am halfway there. Still in progress Complete Data Science Specialization with Coursera – Completed! Complete Half of the GIS Specialization – Yup, got them certificates! Complete a site suitability study – Done, I actually completed two but only one is public on LoopNet! Check under attachments. Write and submit poetry to Poetry Foundation – Done, but haven’t heard back yet. Work-out regularly – Almost everyday and I run on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Also started bouldering and biking from Venice Beach to Santa Monica. Practice violin everyday – Doing that as well, though been on a break the last couple …

Capstone: Variables Associated With Environmental Sustainability – A United Nations Millennium Development Goal

For those following my blog since the start of my Data Analysis and Interpretation Specialization by Wesleyan University through Coursera, this is the final course and the Capstone project. Unlike previous courses, I will move away from urbanization data and try to tackle one of the problems provided by the course’s industry partner. Below is our first assignment – the introduction to my final report. Variables Associated with Environmental Sustainability Using data provided by the World Bank, through DrivenData, this study looks to identify factors associated with the Environmental Sustainability Indicator defined as an United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG). Preliminary explanatory variables are Gross National Income, Forest Area, CO2 Emissions, Employment, Foreign Direct Investments, Household Final Consumption Expenditure, Adult Literacy Rate, Urban Population, Investments in Energy, and Energy Use. This mix of both economic and social factors will be examined for associations with the UN-MDG indicator of environmental sustainability. After the associated variables are identified, they will be used to create a model to predict data for the years 2008 and 2012. As a social/urban scientist interested …

GIS Specialization – Fundamentals of GIS

On February 22, 2016, I started the GIS Specialization Course with UC Davis through Coursera. Today, I completed the first course in the series. As I already have a couple years of GIS experience, the first course Fundamentals of GIS was more like a review of the basics. At the same time, I definitely learned new skills such as map package sharing and creating bookmarks. To complete the first course, I needed to create a map for the final assignment. The original data is at the precinct level. I had to aggregate the voting data for Proposition 37 and total votes to the county level. This is the map I created: I must say, this process took longer than I expected. I am definitely a bit rusty with the map-making. My spatial analysis skills are also rusty. At first, I used a different geoprocessing tool. Instead of directly using a spatial join with the intersect method, I took the long way around using Intersect, Merge, and then Dissolve. However, this presented issues because the data became more …

Short Post: Biology and Life

I have been looking for a steady job now for almost a year now and one of the questions I get asked the most is why? Why am I pursuing or want to pursue a career in such and such? People really want to know where you are coming from and what your vision of the future is. Honestly, even though I know my answers, sometimes I have to look back to the beginning and ask myself why? Why am I now fascinated by the use of space in cities and urban environments? Why am I pursuing a career in understanding the urban? Like most stories, there is a beginning. As a young child, I was always chasing after butterflies, digging up earthworms, and collecting fish. Their movements and their features fascinated me. Metamorphosis, the transformation from an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, captivated my imagination and in many ways it is a metaphor for life. I never though much of it until high school, where I met a wonderful biology teacher by the …

Courtyard by Marriott – Arc Atlantic Regional Center

As Arc Atlantic Regional Center’s Project Coordinator, I work on various aspects of their Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Monterey Park development. My responsibilities are split between project coordination, marketing data analysis, and marketing. I took initiative to create the company’s online presence. In collaboration with Suen Labs, I re-developed Arc Atlantic Regional Center’s website which launched on Feb 26. I created both the Chinese and English content for the website and provided design directions for the appearance of the website. My other work in marketing includes creating various media items such as monthly newsletters and press releases and I coordinate with local media such as TV Stations and newspapers in creating advertisements. I also provide Chinese-English translations for our marketing materials as needed, such as adding Chinese subtitles in the introduction video for investors. In terms of project coordination, I help the Project Manager in contacting various utilities and contractors relevant to the construction and development of the project. For example, I reached out to Southern California Edison and AT&T for their underground cables and pipeline …

WLM Financial Marketing and Branding

During September 2015 to January 2016, I worked as a Marketing Coordinator/Analyst for the real-estate broker WLM Financial. Based in Inglewood, CA, the company focused on providing first-time home buyers with financial advice and loans needed to purchase their home. Using my knowledge of GIS and demographics, I identified the locations of their target markets. I proposed ten cities in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area that they can look to expand marketing operations into. On the broker side of business operations, I looked at home sales data, mortgage data, and property prices to locate other states that WLM Financial can look to apply for broker licenses. After getting to know their operations, targets and goals better, I created a marketing and a branding plan for the company. In terms of brand building, I used their current website and Facebook page as points of interest and set goals to be reached by July 2016 and July 2017. I created a social media schedule for them to post select content and to generate more reach and views to …