University of Southern California Specific Plan

Published By
Health Impact Project

Human Impact Partners, in collaboration with Strategic Actions for a Just Economy and Esperanza Community Housing Corp., conducted a rapid HIA of a proposed 5.2-million-square-foot build-out on the University Park campus of the University of Southern California. The proposal included retail space, restaurants, a hotel, and student housing. The HIA emphasized community involvement and focused on the potential impact to the health of nearby residents through gentrification, displacement, and housing.

The HIA found that although the proposal would probably bring jobs and other neighborhood improvements, it did not provide wage minimums for jobs or include protections for existing affordable housing, or plans to build additional units. The plan could affect health through a deterioration of mental health and decreased social cohesion and access to medical care, as well as increased incidence of chronic disease.

The HIA made 12 recommendations to address identified effects, including paying 5 percent of the specific plan budget into an affordable housing trust fund, administered with community oversight; financing preservation of the 1,300 existing affordable housing units with covenants to expire in the next five to 20 years; improving local hiring policies in the plan to target at least 10 percent of jobs for nearby residents and at least 50 percent for residents of Los Angeles; and, for new jobs on campus or on university-owned properties, instituting a living wage and hiring 50 percent local, non-student residents.


USC agreed to invest $20 million in affordable housing as part of the plan expansion.


This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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