UC Riverside

Center for Sustainable Suburban Development

Blakely Center Main

Helping the Growing Inland Area Around UCR Understand Challenges Faced by the Region

The face of residential development across the United States since World War II has been the suburb: the collection of homes, schools and businesses residing on the outskirts of a major city.

The Center for Sustainable Suburban Development provides research and analysis of issues facing the suburbs as they mature as a staple of American life.

The center’s work is especially relevant given the extensive suburban development that has occurred and is expected to continue for the next two decades in the region surrounding the UCR campus.

No Coincidence that CSSD is Studying the Suburbs

In the late 1990s, the university set-out to chart its future through Vision 2010, a plan for improving the university while effectively managing the huge amounts of expected campus growth. Key to that effort was a commitment to tie the university more closely to the surrounding communities.

Refinery Blowing Smoke One of the first steps in this process was the development of the Center for Environmental Research and Technology, or CE-CERT. CE-CERT has become a world leader in the study of air pollution, which has plagued the Inland area and Southern California for decades.

Another step in the process was the establishment of the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development. The center’s work is well-suited at UCR, which is located in one of the fastest growing suburban areas in the nation — the Inland Empire of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The area is a built-in laboratory for the center, which can in-turn provide scholarships for research that will benefit the region as it grows.

The center owes its existence to Ali Sahabi, chairman of SE Corporation and developer of Dos Lagos: A development that blends housing, shopping, industrial space, a hotel and a golf course on the site of an old mining area south of Corona, about 15 miles west of the UCR campus.

Sahabi became convinced during the approval process for Dos Lagos that sensible planning involving all potentially affected parties is the best recipe for smart growth. The center was founded through his generous donation of $2 million.

The center is named after Sahabi’s mentor, Edward J. Blakely, whom Sahabi first met when Blakely was Dean and Lusk Professor of Planning and Development at the University of Southern California’s School of Urban Planning and Development, where Sahabi earned his Master’s degree in real estate development.

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