In July of 2020, the University of California (UC) Riverside‘s Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology, or CE-CERT, received $1.1 million to help revitalize the Eastside neighborhood, one of Riverside’s oldest and largest residential neighborhoods.
The funding is part of a $31.2 million Transformative Climate Communities and Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities grant package to the City of Riverside by the State of California’s Strategic Growth Council.
The grants are the result of a broad community-based effort to empower the Eastside area, create new economic opportunities, and improve the health and well-being of neighborhood residents.The project area will center around the city’s 7th and Chicago housing project, known as Entrada, and will contain most of the Eastside from the downtown Metrolink station to UCR. The grants will fund high-quality multimodal transportation, affordable housing, urban greening, solar energy, and workforce development training. Some projects will break ground next year, with others being implemented in phases over the next five years.
CE-CERT will serve as the data partner to the City, and lead the effort to measure, track, model, and assess the progress in greenhouse gas reductions and other indicators on the diverse project elements.
A team led by Arun Raju, an assistant research engineer, will keep track of all data required for the project, work closely with the city, project leaders, and community stakeholders to identify and track specific indicators of project quality and assess public health, economic development, greenhouse gas reductions, and other outcomes.
The UC Riverside team will also decide how to collect the data and create a website that provides regular updates on the project’s progress, and train all project partners on data collection procedures and state reporting requirements.
“This project will have a significant positive impact on quality of life in the Eastside neighborhood in multiple ways, and we are excited to be part of the effort,” Raju said. “The project will also monitor and assess key metrics that we hope will help improve the effectiveness of future efforts.”
“As Peter Drucker once said, ‘What gets measured, gets managed,’” said Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. “I am encouraged that a valued partner like CE-CERT is part of the effort to improve air quality and help our community get healthier.”
The new project capitalizes on CE-CERT’s ongoing work to improve economic opportunities and health in the Eastside community, which borders the university. For the past two years, CE-CERT has been examining the environmental, mobility, and community impacts of Riverside’s developing Innovation District, part of which falls within the project area. This work includes a strong Eastside community outreach component.
CE-CERT has also looked for ways to reduce the impacts of goods movement, warehousing, and supply chain logistics in the Inland Empire. The group is developing and assessing new technology and techniques to reduce the impacts of heavy trucks on local neighborhoods, and working closely with the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice on community outreach.
Photos courtesy of UC Riverside.