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USC’s Lusk Center Launches Keston California Infrastructure Institute

by Francie Murphy

For the first time in California, a university research institute has been formed to actively address the infrastructure challenges faced by the state.

Funded with a lead gift from Michael and Linda Keston, the Keston California Infrastructure Institute will be housed at the University of Southern California’s Lusk Center (

“Initially, the Keston Institute will focus on issues of transportation, open space, water, power, and other utility and sewer systems, helping decision-makers and the general public find solutions for the development and financing of public infrastructure that could cost the state more than $175 billion over the next 10 years,” said Stuart Gabriel, director of the Lusk Center.

California’s population is projected to increase by 5 million people per decade to reach 45 million people by 2020. Recent studies have concluded that California’s enormous infrastructure is inadequate to support its growth.

“We’ll compile and evaluate data on infrastructure investment, assessing how it is linked to the state’s economic growth, which continues to outpace the demand for development,” Gabriel said.

The new institute will evaluate the economic and demographic implications of government policy initiatives designed to enhance the state’s infrastructure and will convene key public- and private-sector leaders to address infrastructure concerns.

“The creation of the Keston California Infrastructure Institute is exciting for the Lusk Center, the university and the entire state of California,” said Stan Ross, chairman of the board of the Lusk Center. Findings of the Institute will be disseminated widely though special reports, public policy forums, targeted workshops and large-scale conferences, said Ross.

Michael Keston is an adjunct professor in the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development and chairman and CEO of the real estate investment firm Larwin Company in Encino, Calif.

The institute will be advised by a nine-member board, representing leaders from the corporate, academic and public sectors. Keston has been named chairman and will also serve as a senior fellow.

“It’s a privilege to partner with the distinguished economists and planners from the Lusk Center to help solve some of the most pressing growth issues this state has ever seen,” said Keston, former chairman of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board who also served on the Los Angeles City Board of Water and Power Commissioners.

Edward Hamilton, chairman of Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler Inc., will conduct the search for the institute’s executive director.

USC’s Lusk Center Launches Keston California Infrastructure Institute

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