WHO WE ARE

South Central LA Project to Understand the Sources and Health Impacts of Local Air Pollution (SCLA-PUSH), is a collaborative initiative led by Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA aimed to mobilize stakeholders to assess the scale and gravity of local air pollution in the South and Southeast Los Angeles community plan areas in order to identify viable community-driven solutions.

Our prescription for change is grounded in three main goals:

BUILD OUR
CAPACITY

Build our capacity to understand the character of air pollution, its health impacts and the regulatory process.

MOBILIZE OUR
COLLECTIVE POWER

Mobilize our collective power to conduct community-driven science to address systemic failures in air pollution data collection

ENSURE SOUTH CENTRAL
LA COMMUNITIES

Ensure South Central LA communities receive a fair share of resources available to improve air quality and community health.

ADVANCE A JUST
TRANSITION

To advance a community-centered Just Transition toward cleaner air and healthier communities

Launched in January 2019, our innovative project brought together residents of South Central LA, community advocates, and academics to shape a community air training and monitoring program rooted in a local understanding of the multi-faceted dimensions of air pollution burden. Our project is grounded in the experiences and expertise of South Central LA residents, and our collective capacity to assess local environmental conditions.

Since our inception, we have trained over 70 residents as air quality experts and community scientists, ground-truthed 6 census tracts in the South and Southeast community plan areas, and installed 5 new monitors to increase data availability around air pollution. Moving forward, our goals are to engage more residents to become air quality experts, increase monitoring in pollution-burdened areas identified by the community, and identify transformative and community-driven solutions.

The SCLA-PUSH project was implemented through the Community Air Protection Program – a state program under the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that was created as a result of Assembly Bill 617 in 2017. You can find out more about this program by visiting CARB’s program page. Link to ww2.arb.ca.gov/about

Our successes are built on the strength of our partnerships with residents, community-based organizations and academics. To find out more about our partners, click on the icons below.

*GROUND-TRUTHING WALKS

Air Quality Ambassador-led community walks were designed to collect qualitative and quantitative data. At the heart of this process was the recognition that community residents are experts in their neighborhoods which allows them to gather data on neighborhood-level assets and burdens that regulatory agencies miss due to lack of capacity or oversight.

Project Lead

Project Partners

Omar Ureta
Dr Peter Sinsheimer

OUR COMMUNITY: SOUTH CENTRAL LA

Our South-Central Los Angeles community is located on Tongva land and is a historic Black community with a rich history shaped by immigration, shifts in labor markets, and housing policy that has led to displacement and gentrification. Social forces, discriminatory practices such as redlining and environmental racism, immigration, changing heritage, and community efforts have shaped the broader narrative of South Central LA. Our community is now predominantly Black and Brown and low-income communities with a variety of backgrounds and stories. Decades of sophisticated and progressive political organizing and successful mobilizations against oppressive structures speak to a rich history of activism that undoubtedly shape the identity of South Central LA today.


It is important to acknowledge that South Central LA community boundaries have historically been established arbitrarily by city jurisdictions, and do not reflect the residents’ own conception of their community. By community standards, South Central LA also includes the communities of Leimert Park, Crenshaw, Jefferson Park, West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Hyde Park. However, our SCLA-PUSH project collected data from the boundaries defined by the South and Southeast LA community plans in order to match the city and regulatory agencies boundaries.


But alongside this history of diversity, culture and activism lies one of environmental injustice and burden. The neighborhoods located in the South and Southeast Community Plan areas (our project’s catchment area) encompass numerous communities that are overexposed to a variety of air pollution sources.

South Central LA became the home of multiple sources of air pollution including oil drilling, auto body shops, metal manufacturing facilities, dry cleaners, that are clustered among communities residential homes and sensitive areas, There is a total of 280 industries-of-concern in addition to numerous high vehicle capacity thoroughfares and freeways crisscrossing the neighborhoods.

The residents who live, work, study and worship in these communities face disproportionate health impacts resulting from exposure to multiple pollution sources, as well as the compounding effect of social and economic stressors that increase a community’s risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality as shown by the map below.

The residents who live, work, study and worship in these communities face disproportionate health impacts resulting from exposure to multiple pollution sources, as well as the compounding effect of social and economic stressors that increase a community’s risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality as shown by the map below.

Vulnerabilities are reflected in our community’s health profile.

Despite these challenges, the South Central LA community has demonstrated its power and resilience through impactful activism and community wide mobilizations. Residents and advocates have pushed forward numerous successes and achievements, including advancing oil and gas regulation (insert https://www.stand.la/), securing public sector careers for residents (https://scopela.org/our-work/developing-job-pathways-that-work/) and envisioning a just and equity-focused blueprint for South LA (https://southlaisthefuture.org/).