Michael Woo, currently a member of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California's School of Policy, Planning and Development, has accepted an offer to lead Cal Poly Pomona's College of Environmental Design. His appointment begins July 30.
Since joining the planning commission in 2005, Woo has been a leader on land use and transportation issues, initiated a moratorium on new billboards and opened a review of health effects of breathing polluted air in residential developments near freeways. He also helped draft the city's “Do Real Planning” principles adopted in 2006, which advocate more affordable housing and jobs near mass transit, improving the city's aesthetics, reducing “visual blight” and improving walkability.
“It is an honor to join this elite academic program at Cal Poly Pomona,” Woo says. “The College of Environmental Design has long enjoyed an exceptional reputation in the design community, and I look forward to building on that legacy.”
The College of Environmental Design is one of only three design schools in California that combine departments of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and regional planning. The college also includes the Department of Art and the Center for Regenerative Studies.
Woo works with several for-profit and nonprofit organizations on planning, climate change and development. As a consultant to ClimatePlan, a coalition of non-profit advocacy groups, he advises on land use changes in California to fight climate change. As chairman of Smart Growth America, a national coalition that supports historic preservation, the environment, open space preservation and neighborhood revitalization, Woo guided the board in selecting a new President and CEO. In addition, he is a co-managing member of a committee in Summit Western Corporation that represents investors of the Mandarin Plaza shopping center in L.A. Chinatown.
“Our university prides itself on producing graduates who make an immediate impact in the community,” says Provost Marten denBoer. “Michael Woo's wealth of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, combined with his academic credentials, will certainly complement an exceptional team of faculty, staff and students in the college.”
For nearly a decade, Woo served on the Los Angeles City Council representing Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Sherman Oaks and Studio City. From 1985 to 1993, he helped guide major planning, redevelopment and transportation decisions, including the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan, Metro Red Line subway route and station locations, as well as major residential and commercial development projects.
In 1993, Woo gave up his council seat to run for mayor of Los Angeles, ultimately receiving 46 percent of the citywide vote as the runner-up in the final election.
Woo received his master's degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his undergraduate studies in politics and urban studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Woo serves on the board of directors for several organizations in Southern California, including Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (chairman), KCRW Foundation, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (chairman), California Food Policy Advocates, Mural Conservancy, and the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter.