Meet housing policy analyst Brandon Yung
Urban Studies 2022
Housing Policy Analyst, California Department of Housing and Community Development
What was your favorite CED course?
I’ll never forget the incredible lectures from former architecture professor Nicholas de Monchaux during my first-semester Environmental Design 1 course, which is the first class many CED students take. It's one of the only classes that all CED undergraduates share, and it covers theories of creativity and design. Lessons around communication in design and design processes have proven to be some of the most enduring and relevant to my career in public policy.
The second class that comes to mind is a landscape studio course I took that focused on public monuments in New Orleans. The class took a trip to New Orleans the summer after the studio. It was an eye-opening, hands-on experience.
What was your favorite part of your experience as a student in Bauer Wurster Hall?
I think it was the spectrum of course offerings — from theoretical to practical, from global to local — particularly in the Department of City & Regional Planning. I took classes from faculty who served as planning commissioners for the city of Berkeley and from those who are pushing the field of geography to better understand global inequality. That incredibly wide range begins to make sense when you spend time in CED and come to understand the symbiotic relationship between the college and city that surrounds it.
How did CED prepare you for your next steps?
CED prepared me for work in housing policy because the college creates so much knowledge and social capital in so many disciplines, all of which overlap. CED exposes you to a lot of different ideas and ways of thinking. It was through opportunities afforded by professors that study housing policy that I was able to gain a foothold in the field. I now work for the Department of Housing and Community Development, an agency tasked with enforcing state housing laws.
What have you been working on lately? What drew you to it?
One project I’ve been working on lately with some friends is exploring a potential voter initiative in Berkeley to fund street maintenance and repair, following the failure of 2022's Measure L to garner two-thirds approval and win. Looking at a couple of recent California Supreme Court precedents, I had an idea to propose a bond that would only need a simple majority to pass. That idea was fleshed out by my friend Grayson Peters at Berkeley Law. Berkeley voters: look out for something exciting in 2024.
What Instagram account have you been obsessed with recently?
The account @segregation_by_design has some really impressive data visualization and cartography that illustrates how historic land use policies have created a lot of the inequalities in the United States. For most Americans alive, it's hard to imagine the sheer extent of the destruction caused by urban renewal and freeway construction. The account posts before-and-after aerial photographs that show how entire neighborhoods have been wiped out for the sake of a transportation system that has been a failure both for our climate and racial equality.