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.

Mia Lewis is a graduate student researcher at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She holds a BS in Geography from Florida State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Urban Planning at UCLA. She is most interested in studying the intersections of technology, equity, and transportation planning in the hope of finding ways to create more accessible and sustainable transportation systems.

Briana Soriano is a GIS Analyst. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Geography/Environmental Studies and minor in Geospatial Information Systems & Technologies from UCLA. Throughout her time here, she has continued to help under-resourced communities across Los Angeles. She currently employs her technical skills in local government for planning, engineering, and administrative functions. She aims to meaningfully expand her contributions using location intelligence for racial equity and social justice at CNK.

Bryzen Enzo Morales is a Public Affairs and Economics undergraduate student at UCLA. His academic and research interests lies at the intersection of urban planning, policy, and social welfare. Generally, he wants to explore different urban spatial structures, policies, and phenomenon and how it crafts uneven and unequal distribution of resources, opportunities, and outcomes for many different disadvantaged communities. He is also working as a research assistant for the Digital Equity Anti-Oppression Lab (DEAO), contributing to literature reviews about the buffering role of social support, and its effect on the community mental health of Asian Americans and Black Americans.

McKenna Giannos is a third year Environmental Science Major from Leesburg, Virginia pursuing minors in Geography/Environmental Studies and GIS & Technology at UCLA. She has an interest in pursuing spatial data research and using GIS to address complex social and environmental injustices. McKenna has participated in independent research studying the sustainability of native plant species on UCLA’s campus and hopes to continue working on environmental research and GIS in her future.

Naya Lee is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Political Science. She holds an interest in the subject of law and hopes to pursue a career in the legal field. She has a background in journalism, participating in the LA Vanguard publishing articles regarding social justice. She’s also interested in pursuing further research in topics surrounding politics including injustices in the American political system and environmental policy.


Silvia Gonzalez (Jimenez) is a project director for community-based and environmental equity at the Luskin Center for Innovation. Previously, Silvia worked as the founding assistant director at the CNK. She continues to conduct research with CNK as the project manager for and serves as an expert with the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative. 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. Her research focuses on the implications of place and the urban spatial structure on socioeconomic inequality and environmental health.  She holds a BA in Geography/Environmental Studies and a 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 post-doctoral scholar at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. 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, and a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA, and a B.S. in Economics and International Studies from the University of Oregon.
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