More than 400 students, faculty, environmental professionals and community members gathered at DeNeve Auditorium on May 19 for UCLA’s Smart and Sustainable Cities Conference. The event brought together experts from UCLA and colleagues from across the United States and Israel to present the latest developments and best practices in urban sustainability.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered the conference’s keynote address, speaking about his vision for L.A.

“It’s cities where the sustainability action is,” Garcetti said.

Israel has been a leader in sustainability innovation for decades, especially in the area of water management.

“There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in Israel with sustainable practices,” said Yoram Cohen, director of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies and primary organizer of the conference. “And because California and Israel have a similar climate and share many of the same environmental challenges, it made great sense to exchange information on ‘what works’ in both locations.”

Cohen, a professor at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, joined the conference panel discussion on water. Other panels covered transportation, energy, the built environment, as well as the digital city and the sharing economy.

Six other UCLA faculty members also participated in the panel discussions, including Stephanie Pincetl of the California Center for Sustainable Communities; J.R. DeShazo and Martin Wachs of the Luskin School of Public Affairs; Rajit Gadh from Engineering;  Kevin Daly from Architecture and Urban Design; and Mark Gold, Associate Vice Chancellor of Environment and Sustainability and head of UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.

The Smart and Sustainable Cities Conference was a collaborative effort among a number of UCLA schools and departments and the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, an independent, non-profit think tank in Israel.

Read the complete story at the UCLA International Institute website.