Rob Baird

Land Use and Built Environment Specialist

Email: Rob_at_preventioninstitute_dot_org

Rob Baird co-leads built environment and land use equity projects at Prevention Institute, which involve the analysis of structural barriers to greenspace, active transportation, housing and other social determinants of health. In his current role, he manages research and content development work, supports the organization’s involvement in coalitions and other movement capacities, and helps disseminate analysis and strategies to external audiences. He also contributes to strategic assessments of policy and funding activity, and works to develop internal staff capacities.

Rob has been instrumental to advancing Prevention Institute’s voice for procedural and distributional equity in infrastructure investments, and the modeling of community power in land use planning. In 2023, he lead research into challenges and emerging practices for successfully implementing equity policies following their adoption, which examined multi-sector collaborative efforts in eight cities. He led an influential study of Washington’s recreation and conservation granting in 2022, which includes recommendations that are continuing to reshape the state’s greenspace goals and agency procedures. He co-wrote Prevention Institute’s Four Shifts brief for advancing health equity and racial justice in planning, and co-authored a retrospective analysis of policy outcomes and movement-building strategies across California during the Building Healthy Communities initiative. Rob also designed and led a 16-part capacity-building and youth education series related to the UPLAN process in North Long Beach, and managed engagement processes related to Measure W and the Bowtie Parcel in Los Angeles.

Rob’s career includes work in both the community-based organization (CBO) and government sectors, building through a series of initiatives that used urban planning as a vehicle to address public health challenges. Most recently (2016-17), he managed four pedestrian plan processes at the LA County PLACE Program, which were funded by state active transportation grants. He spent three years (2013-16) with Community Health Councils (now Rising Communities) supporting food access and equitable development efforts in South LA funded by federal REACH and CTG grants. He began his career with the Los Angeles City Planning department (2010-2012) working to improve pedestrian connectivity to transit in South LA, an effort funded by federal RENEW grants.

He has presented at conferences hosted by the American Planning Association, New Partners for Smart Growth, the CUD College of Architecture and Planning, the Sol Price School of Public Policy (USC), and the Christian Community Development Association. His written work has appeared in the Cityscape and Health Promotion Practice journals. He has a Planning (MPL) degree from the University of Southern California.

Rob lives in Los Angeles and enjoys hot pot, being a youth sports parent, attending his men’s group, and taking long drives on obscure roads.