History has shown that urban renewal projects have had mixed effects on low-income communities. At times, they have provided much needed investment to marginalized areas, and at others, they have leveled the homes of families and destroyed important physical and cultural infrastructures.
LURN is redefining “urban renewal.” LURN believes that the renewal, revitalization, and revival of low-income communities must be done responsibly, must be led by the community, and must leverage existing resources. By activating our multi-disciplinary coalition to bring in new ideas and innovative solutions to revitalize communities, LURN intends to do just that.
LURN IS A 501(C)(3), NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION COMMITTED TO REVITALIZING LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES.
OUR MISSION IS TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER TO DESIGN, BUILD, AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES THAT ALLOW PEOPLE TO LIVE THEIR GREATEST POTENTIAL.
WE CATALYZE MULTI-DISCIPLINARY NETWORKS, FORGE TRANSFORMATIVE PARTNERSHIPS, & DEVELOP INNOVATIONS THAT DESIGN, BUILD & PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES.
Sign up for our newsletter, the IDEAdistrict, to stay up to date on the latest trends, happenings, and innovations in Los Angeles and the world.
You won’t regret it!
Believe in the power of community.
LURN is composed of a group of passionate professionals dedicated to supporting sustainable communities by developing solutions to fight poverty, build sustainable economies and resilient communities. We promote and build places that meet the diverse needs of residents, are sensitive to the environment, and contribute to healthy living and opportunity.
LURN believes that urban planning and community economic development strategies need to be re-mixed with fresh thinking and a little fearlessness. The fact is that the gap between the rich and the poor is only growing, low-income communities in urban areas are severely lacking investments and resources, and the systems in which we operate are often part of the problem. LURN strives to think freely, act with purpose, and seek results that improve the quality of life of people.
LURN distinguishes itself through its ability to convene innovative people from different fields to solve the issues affecting people in urban areas. The results of these dialogues, collaborations and connections is the heart of LURNlabs, a purpose-driven innovation lab that focuses on developing solutions for real issues that affect people in urban areas.
LURNLabs is currently developing:
And to continue to cultivate ideas, LURN convenes social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, private sector executives and policymakers in a variety of signature events:
LURN understands that improving the quality of life of people in urban areas cannot be done alone. Collaboration is necessary, and sharing innovation is paramount. LURNAdvisors is LURN’s in-house consulting team that is dedicated to helping other organizations of all types develop and implement strategies to help fight poverty, build sustainable economies, and house low-income families.
True to LURN’s spirit, its team is made of up urban planners, attorneys, developers, designers, and management consultants that inject innovation and fresh thinking into the following work:
Our current client portfolio includes: The LA Food Policy Council, Self Help Graphics & Art, AARP, Salt Lake City, and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.
LURNCapital leverages the multi-disciplinary perspective of LURN to address one of the roots causes of poverty in urban areas — access to capital. For the team at LURN, capital in the form of financing, physical infrastructure and education are important resources to build wealth, invest in low-income communities, and build sustainable community-based economies.
LURN also believes that one of the most important building blocks of prosperous, sustainable economies already exists in many communities — workers, innovative entrepreneurs and commitment. LURN works to supplement these assets with innovative, market-oriented solutions to empower communities and build wealth.
Via LURNcapital, the organization is currently focused on:
Progressive professionals committed to revitalizing Southern California’s most under-represented communities.
Rudy Espinoza is the Executive Director of LURN and an urban planner with a passion for neighborhoods, entrepreneurism, and financial empowerment. He specializes in designing and managing place-based initiatives, identifying profitable investment opportunities in low-income communities, building private/nonprofit partnerships, and training the working poor to participate in the socio-economic revitalization of their neighborhoods. Rudy holds a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA and a B.S. in Business Administration.
Luis is a Senior Associate at LURN, passionate about connecting underrepresented communities with valuable resources and opportunities. Luis specializes in policy analysis, citizen engagement, collaborative capacities and public health issues that affect low-income communities. Luis holds Masters degree in Public Administration and a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish Literature.
Marlene Salazar is an Associate at LURN, where she manages outreach and operations for LURN's economic development programs. Her career thus far includes working on land-use and environmental justice initiatives in South Los Angeles. Marlene is passionate about making sure investment and development in low-income communities is driven by the residents that live in them. She has a degree in History and Environmental Analysis from Pitzer College.
Natalie Kamajian is the Operations Associate of LURN. Natalie has extensive experience in both the Nonprofit and Philanthropy sectors. She is passionate about community well-being and in strengthening sustainable local economies. Natalie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies, from the University of San Francisco, emphasizing in both Middle Eastern and African Studies.
Alfred Fraijo, Jr.
Alfred Fraijo Jr. is a Partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP in the firm’s Real Estate, Land Use and Natural Resources practice group and has significant experience in obtaining and negotiating land use entitlements for complex housing and mixed use development projects throughout California. He specializes in advising clients on innovative, urban renewal projects in the inner-city and other sectors with emerging markets. Mr. Fraijo received his J.D. from Loyola Law School, and a B.A. in Government from Harvard University.
Ginger Hitzke is the President of Hitzke Development Corporation and has over 15 years of experience in the field of affordable housing development. Ms. Hitzke has participated in the development of over 1,400 apartments and affordable homes totaling more than $300,000,000 in real estate activity throughout California. Ms. Hitzke serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the San Diego Housing Federation and is also a member of the Housing Advisory Group, a Washington D.C. based affordable housing advocacy organization.
Vikram Jadhav is the Principal of CRUXobjectives|LemonFresh Studios– a full-service business strategy and design firm serving the public and private sectors and is also the Creative Director for Tap.in2, a Los Angeles based sports marketing company. He consults to international & domestic non-profits, affordable housing developers & agencies, local & regional governments, and health foundations. He holds a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA and a B.S. in Community and Economic Development.
Ricardo Mireles is the Founder and Executive Director of Academia Avance, a charter public school in Highland Park. Prior to founding Avance, Mr. Mireles was part of a team that launched the planning and construction of 160 new schools within the LAUSD. Mr. Mireles is a Coro Fellow and has taught at the UCLA School of Public Policy, and at the Don Bosco Technical Institute. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from Columbia University, and has completed graduate work in urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Edgar Aguirre is the Community Outreach Director for KPCC: Southern California Public Radio. His primary focus is creating, implementing, managing, and supporting outreach and content projects aimed at connecting SCPR with the culturally and ethnically diverse populations in the region. Before joining SCPR, Aguirre worked briefly as Executive VP & GM for LA Public Media. He is a Jesse M. Unruh California State Assembly Fellow, and completed his Master of Public Administration degree as a Dean’s Merit Scholar from the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at the University of Southern California in 2005.
Monique Chavoya is a Project Manager for McCormack Baron Salazar where she secures project financing and manages the entitlement and community relations processes. Prior to joining McCormack Baron Salazar, Ms. Chavoya was a Project Manager for East LA Community Corporation and a Sustainable Development Fellow for the Greenlining Institute. Ms. Chavoya holds a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Literature from Smith College and a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA.
Reagan Maechling is an underwriter with Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. Specifically, Reagan drives the underwriting and closing processes for LIHTC deals to see transactions through successfully. She manages all aspects of the review process including sponsor analysis, sources and uses and capital structure analysis, income and expense underwriting, market analysis and tax credit documentation analysis. She holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning and bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and International Development Studies from UCLA.
Jeanmarie Hance is the President of Urban Collaborations Group, Inc., a community outreach and land use consulting firm guiding clients with economic-development priorities that result in parallel community benefits. She was formerly vice-president of Planning Company Associates, Inc., former president of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI), and a former advisor to the Los Angeles City Council on development related policy, legislation and constituent services.
Ami Pascual Spear
Ami Pascual Spear sources and helps underwrite loans for a community fund and New Markets Tax Credit program as Program Director at Genesis LA, a CDFI. She was also a consultant and raised over $4.7 million in funding for nonprofits. Ami was the founder and executive director of the SoMa Foundation where she delivered technical assistance to small businesses and operated SoMa Steam Clean, a social enterprise that employed homeless youth and adults. She has an M.C.P. in City Planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in English Literature from UCLA. She is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship on Democracy.
Bill Roschen is a principal at Roschen Van Cleve Architects and a past president of of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission. Bill’s career manifests the new paradigm of “citizen architect” as civic leader who can engage communities in thoughtful conversations required to advance infill and redevelopment projects that make neighborhoods sustainable, affordable, livable and healthy. Bill received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Arizona State University with emphasis on sustainable design and holds a Masters degree in Architecture from Columbia University, with an emphasis on city planning and urban architecture, historic preservation and philosophy aesthetics. He and his partner, Christi Van Cleve, conceived and currently teach a four-part series of graduate seminars and a certificate and Master’s Degree program at Woodbury University School of Architecture, and have initiated the UP (Urban Policy) program and Policy Tanks within the School of Architecture.
Christopher Goett is a Senior Program Officer for Housing & Economic Opportunity at the California Community Foundation. Throughout his career, Christopher has been actively involved with community and civic engagement in moderate- and low-income neighborhoods across North America. Prior to joining the California Community Foundation, Christopher served as Managing Director of Community Foundations at the Council of Foundations, a membership association of more than 1,8000 grantmaking foundations and corporations. Before returning to philanthropy, he was the Director of Membership and Organizing at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), where he built its first community organizing department. He holds degrees from Villanova University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Jorge Garrido is Vice President of Mercury in Los Angeles. He has a nearly a decade of experience in government relations and public affairs. At Mercury, Jorge develops and implements full-scale public affairs campaigns for major national and international companies, ranging from blue chip corporations, established technology and financial institutions to hedge funds and private investments firms. Prior to joining Mercury, Jorge provided government affairs and strategic counsel to various public agencies throughout Southern California. He earned a degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Your support of LURN is deeply appreciated. We rely on your contribution to further our activities in the community, so please click the button – and if you’re the type that likes to do a good deed per day, consider this one yours! (You can also contribute a little bit every month)
That felt good, didn't it?
Be a part of our community!
© 2012 All Rights Reserved, designed by