IMPORTANT UPDATE:To ensure the health and safety of our onsite participants and guest speakers, we have made the carefully considered decision to shift the summit format to a virtual only format due to recent and anticipated COVID Omicron developments. Session dates and times are also being reconsidered to allow for optimal virtual participation. Details coming soon!

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About the Summit
California and the Los Angeles region offer a unique opportunity to explore extraordinary intersections of built and natural systems—as well as the human motives and priorities these conditions represent.

This Ten Across summit will explore key factors that continue to shape the second largest metropolis in the nation, its juxtaposition to other cities’ approaches, and what our country’s present trajectory can tell us about the path to a more equitable and resilient future for the country at large.

Panel discussions to include:

American Democracy in Question: A Unique Moment of Doubt or a Continuous Project?

We find ourselves in a time when relationships between layers of government—federal, state, and municipal—seem to be uniquely fraught, particularly in areas of the country that are growing most rapidly and with greater diversity. Areas that are most prevalent within the Ten Across U.S. I-10 region which represents three of the largest states, several state capitals, and shared challenges around water, energy, supply chain, and immigration.

In this kick-off session, esteemed journalist, author, and keen observer of national and international context, James Fallows and George Sanchez, professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and History at the University of Southern California and award winning author of Boyle Heights: How a Los Angeles Neighborhood Became the Future of American Democracy, will discuss the current state of America’s democracy, both from a national and local perspective. Discussion will include an examination of our republic’s current challenges and future opportunities for realizing a more perfect and equitable union. Q&A to follow the discussion.


Los Angeles as an Invention: Infrastructure and the Shaping of the Modern Metropolis

Since the late 20th century, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California have been driven by the value of growth prompting extraordinary investments in hard infrastructure—to hold back or move water, generate power, and support the transportation of people and goods. But to what end? The Federal Highways Act of 1956, which accelerated population distribution and automobile-focused development, as demonstrated in the urban fabric of Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, and Jacksonville, among others, also destabilized minority communities over generations, separating them from equitable urban services and advantages. So how do we learn from the past to “build back better?”

In this session, a panel of distinguished experts will examine this question through the lens of Los Angeles as an invented city driven in large part by the infrastructural “muscle” of the past. What new opportunities does the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) present, how should infrastructure be defined, and how can take what we’ve learned to address the social and environmental challenges of the future?


Looking Beneath the Surface: Water as a Shared Resource

Water, one of our most vital natural resources, doesn’t define its reservoirs by state lines, but the policies that govern it often do. While surface water conditions may be easily observed in dry riverbeds and dwindling reservoirs, groundwater is a resource more easily overlooked—making it often more endangered and overtaxed. In the Southwest, aquifers that have developed naturally over millions of years have been heavily tapped to supply agriculture and real estate development on arid land. In the Southeast, freshwater aquifers and springs are threatened by seawater intrusion driven by human behavior. Does this mean water will ultimately be the limiting factor for growth and sustainability in cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans? Can we find a way to work across borders for mutual benefit? Or, are advanced water treatment solutions the way of the future?

In this session we will discuss the highly disputed management of our nation’s groundwater, it’s use, ownership, and management. Using the recent and unprecedented water use agreement assembled between California, Arizona, and Nevada as a talking point, we will explore opportunities and challenges that could be realized through cross-boundary collaboration.


Is Los Angeles a Model for the Nation? Examining the LA100 Renewable Energy Plan

COP26 sent several key signals:

1) temperature rise will be THE measure of our capacity to regulate climate change,
2) the burning of fossil fuels and the resultant release of CO2 into the atmosphere is the primary factor, and
3) the necessary adoption of renewable energy sources is likely to be led by cities.  

California, often been seen as a national leader in climate change legislation, presents a contrasting approach to other leading states which often tend to be more market driven, committed to private sector energy interests, and in some instances lacking in alternatives. For example, Los Angeles’s recently commitment to an ambitious energy strategy, the LA100 plan, to transition Los Angeles to 100% renewable energy by 2045.

In this session, a panel of experts will address the specifics of the plan, what it will take to achieve it, and how it is (and/or isn’t) translatable to other cities an regions.  They will also discuss the relationship and challenges between providers, regulators, grid operators, innovators, markets, and consumers and how/if a national energy policy should be considered.

More details and registration information coming soon!