Professor Ong has done research on the labor market status of minorities and immigrants, displaced high-tech workers, work and spatial/transportation mismatch, and environmental justice. He is currently engaged in several projects, including an analysis of the relationship between sustainability and equity, the racial wealth gap, and the role of urban structures on the reproduction of inequality.

Previous research projects have included studies of the impact of defense cuts on California’s once-dominant aerospace industry, the impact of immigration on the employment status of young African Americans, and the influence of car ownership and subsidized housing on welfare usage.

Dr. Ong is the Director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge and editor of AAPI Nexus, and has served as an advisor to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and to the California Department of Social Services and the state Department of Employment Development, as well as the Wellness Foundation and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

He received a master’s in urban planning from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Economics, University of California, Berkeley. Along with his quantitative research, his professional practice includes teaching and applying visual forms of communication.


Chhandara Pech is the Assistant Director at the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. His expertise is in spatial and statistical analysis. He has conducted extensive research on neighborhood change, gentrification, residential segregation, wealth/income inequality, and the foreclosure crisis. He was the lead data analyst for the Los Angeles component of the gentrification and displacement project. Chhandara earned his Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, BA in Political Science, and has a certification in Geographic Information Systems from UCLA.


Silvia Gonzalez (Jimenez) is a senior researcher at the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She has worked extensively, as a researcher and consultant with nonprofit, community based, and government organizations on projects related to neighborhood change and gentrification, anti-displacement policies, environmental equity, and climate planning. Previously, Silvia worked as the founding assistant director at both the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge and the Center for the Study of Inequality at UCLA. Her research focuses on implications of place and the urban spatial structure on socioeconomic inequality and environmental health. She holds a BA in Geography/Environmental Studies and  Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on Economic Development from UCLA, and a PhD in Urban Planning also from UCLA.


C. Aujean Lee is an assistant professor in Regional and City Planning at the University of Oklahoma. She received her PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA. Her work examines residential segregation and racial disparities in homeownership, community institutions, and wealth, with a focus on immigrant, Latino, and Asian communities. She also examines nonprofits in providing social protections to vulnerable communities in transitional or uncertain policy circumstances. Her work has been published in Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.


Andre Comandon is a PhD student in the Department of Urban Planning at the Luskin School of Public Affair. His research focuses on issues of segregation and housing in international comparative perspective. He recently worked with the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development and has written on Europe, China, Mexico, and South Africa. His most recent research focuses on segregation in the context of Los Angeles and the implications of  housing stress for segregation. Andre earned a M.A. in Political Science, a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA, and a B.S. in Economics and International Studies from the University of Oregon.


Daniel is a UCLA undergraduate majoring in Geography and double-minoring in Urban Planning and Asian American Studies. He is a research assistant at Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. He has worked closely with the Southeast Asian community regarding social issues in education, gentrification, and immigration. Moreover, his main research interests revolves around gentrification and urban displacement because he have experienced these social inequities. He is currently researching the gentrification effects on Southeast Asians in Long Beach as well as assisting with video production for a gentrification documentary.

Justine is a concurrent master’s candidate in Public Health in Community Health Sciences at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Urban and Regional Planning at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.  She has worked in numerous advocacy spaces for communities of color and conducted policy research and data analysis on transportation and health equity issues. Her main research interests look at the intersection of regional and international development and its health implications on communities of color, specifically Filipinos.

Patrick (he/him/his) is a student assistant at the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge and a rising third year undergraduate with a double major in Asian American Studies and International Development Studies, and a minor in Education Studies. Patrick previously conducted educational research on the impact of involvement on Filipino American students at UCLA who are affiliated with on-campus student organizations, and how these cultural spaces foster retention through community building. His main research interests include the educational experiences of marginalized groups and environmental justice for impacted communities of color.

Manon is a critical urbanist, an organizer, and an interdisciplinary designer based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work centers on developing research and multimedia tools that demystify complex urban processes and put power into the hands of communities most impacted by urban injustice. She co-founded Landlord Watch, an organization that builds digital tools with homeless New Yorkers to combat housing discrimination, and has been an active member of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project since 2014.  Moving forward, she hopes to continue working with communities, organizers, and activists, to build people power for just cities. You can see some of her past work here.

Victor Tran is a research assistant at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. He received a BA in Sociology and Geography with a minor in Urban and Regional Studies. From his education and research, he is interested in examining how inequality and differences are constructed and perpetuated in spatial forms that can determine how different bodies and communities experience urban environments and processes. At UCLA, Victor was involved in organizations and social justice programs such as Alternative Breaks, the Vietnamese Student Union, and Southeast Asian spaces that centered around community service and engagement, education and advocacy, and intergroup dialogue and relations. Victor is from Santa Ana, California.
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