Matt Gainer_The Heights_Orange & 52nd

“The Heights” Photo Exhibit by Matt Gainer

School-based health clinics

City Heights park on a bridge

Solving critical challenges


The Sol Price Center for Social Innovation develops ideas and social entrepreneurs who will improve the quality of life for people in low-income, urban communities across the globe.

April 3, 2014

The Heights Photo Exhibit Unveiled at Innovating to End Urban Poverty Conference

The Heights photo exhibit depicts the rich diversity of City Heights San Diego residents; the community they nurture and the humanity shared by all. The Price Center commissioned Matt Gainer, USC Digital Library Director and USC Price School adjunct professor, to make the photographs for the USC Innovating to End Urban Poverty Conference on March 27 and 28.

Along with using a large format wooden field camera, Gainer’s process for making portraits often involves interviews. This enables him to have a deeper understanding of the people he photographs, and for them to play a role in how they are ultimately rendered. The process is laborious, but leads to photographs that are visually powerful, nuanced renditions of the people they represent.

Excerpt from Matt Gainer’s introduction:

“It’s a brisk January morning in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego, and I’ve just finished walking several miles of side-streets, alleys, and thoroughfares, hoping to get to know the community, and to find inspiration for photographs. The buildings here have the same weathered stucco façades that pepper much of Southern California, and the people on the street are incredibly diverse for such a small geographic space. Everyday I’ve worked here I’ve encountered beautiful, simple exchanges.

My experience with this project has been one of constant discovery, and of immense generosity from the strangers who took time to tell me their stories, share their lives, and allow me to photograph them. My hope is that having these photos here at the conference will help put a face to the important research, ideas, and decisions that emerge from the Innovating to End Urban Poverty conference. I also hope they remind us that as we go about the business of shaping policy, planning, and development, there are lots of folks already working on the same questions, issues, and places, whose local perspective and experience might be of value to our efforts.”

The Heights Exhibit Introduction

April 2, 2014

Price Center Awards Two More Faculty Grants for Research in City Heights San Diego

The Sol Price Center for Social Innovation is pleased to announce the 2014-2015 faculty grant recipients. Price School Professor and James Irvine Chair in Urban and Regional Planning Dr. Tridib Banerjee, along with USC Center for Economic Development Program Director, Deepak Bahl, will lead the “Walking to School in Inner City Neighborhoods and the Safety of School Children: The City Heights Experience” research project. Banerjee and Bahl’s study will identify and examine the major factors affecting the safety of children, especially on their journey from home to school.

School of Social Work Professors Michael S. Hurlburt and Emily Putnam-Hornstein have received funding for “Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Collaborative: Understanding and Preventing Family Violence and Child Maltreatment.” Their study will utilize geographic information systems (GIS) analyses to understand the spatial distribution of family violence and child maltreatment in San Diego, with a focus on the City Heights Planning Area. They will use the findings to design family violence prevention strategies applicable and efficient in small, high-risk geographic areas.

Visit our “Research Projects” page for additional information about current and past faculty grant recipients and research projects.

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