Oral Histories

Interview of Joan Ling

Executive director of the Community Corporation of Santa Monica and treasurer of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles. UCLA lecturer in the Department of Urban Planning.
Mitigating Poverty in the City of Angels: Interviews with Affordable Housing and Social Welfare Activists
Social Movements
Community Activism
Biographical Note:
Executive director of the Community Corporation of Santa Monica and treasurer of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles. UCLA lecturer in the Department of Urban Planning.
Collings, Jane
Ling, Joan
Persons Present:
Ling and Collings.
Place Conducted:
Ling’s office at UCLA.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Jane Collings, interviewer and senior editor, Center for Oral History Research; B.A., Communications, Antioch College; M.A., Communications, University of Iowa; Ph.D., Critical Studies, UCLA..
Processing of Interview:
The interviewer prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. Ling was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content but made no changes.
2 hrs. 45 min.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
The series documents affordable housing activism in the Los Angeles area with particular attention to the work of community development corporations. Additional interviews document the work of social justice activists whose work concerns both the low income housing crisis in the city as well as the ways that income inequality impacts the daily life of the most vulnerable among us.
Early life and upbringing in Hong Kong;Circumstances of extended family in mainland China;Attends a Maryknoll Sisters school in Hong Kong; Attends Chatham College in Pittsburgh; Ling's focus on athletics and organizing;Uncertain political situation in Hong Kong during Cultural Revolution in China; Grows up speaking Cantonese at home; Public transportation in Hong Kong; Becomes acculturated to American culture while at college; Progressivism and self-empowerment of American nuns at Ling's Catholic high school; Majors in sociology and anthropology; Attends urban planning program at UCLA; Moves from a transportation focus to a real estate focus;Social justice values from Maryknoll sisters at school ; High standards of building at Community Corp during Ling's tenure; Community Corporation of Santa Monica history; Transition of city council in Santa Monica from a business-dominated one to a renters rights dominated one;Small grant from city council to start a community controlled housing corporation;Allen Heskin becomes first founding director; Community Scholars Program at UCLA; Concentrations in the UCLA urban planning program; Ingredients of a successful community corporation; Ling faces a large backlog of uncompleted development projects upon arrival at Community Corp; A lack of an accounting system at Community Corp for a period of years; Circumstances of Ling being hired as executive director at Community Corp;Community outreach initiatives; Struggles over design of buildings.
The formation of the Pico Neighborhood Association; Policy work in the Community Corporation of Santa Monica; The Playa Vista project; Fundraising; Hotel and restaurant workers unions in Santa Monica;Reflection on past 20 years of work;Community corporation linkage between the Community Corporation and the UCLA Urban Planning department; Tension and opposition during project development meetings; Projects taken off the docket because of community group opposition;Fostering community life within developments; Sustainable building;The future of the Community Corporation;Historical moments for affordable housing;Thoughts on the Community Development Corporation model.