Client Corner with Mark Asturias




1. Please share with us your personal interests, hobbies and/or activities outside of work which serve to enrich your life.

I like to travel outside the United States to places like China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Europe, Canada and South America. My son lives and works in Shanghai, so I get to visit him in my travels. I enjoy reading fiction and personally maintaining my cars.

2. In what ways, if any, do your personal interests contribute to or enhance your professional work?

Traveling has allowed me to see how other cities function and what is best when developing housing for different populations. It has given me a perspective that many designs and configurations can work to serve a variety of people. I can visualize how someone else’s architectural and landscape design might fit into our own community.

3. How did you get started in your current field?

I studied urban planning at Cal Poly Pomona. After graduating, I applied for an internship in the City of Glendale’s planning department. I did not get that position, but heard back soon after that the Glendale Redevelopment Agency was also looking for an intern. After a second interview, I got my start in planning, redevelopment, and housing.

4. What would you identify as a highlight of your professional accomplishments and in what way did it serve to improve your community?

My professional accomplishment that I’m most proud of is the creation of the Irvine Community Land Trust. It is a nonprofit established by the City of Irvine that will be, and is, the City’s agent, which holds land in perpetuity for affordable housing. I feel good about getting it off the ground, keeping it going and maintaining the flexibility to keep up with the times.

5. If you had the opportunity, who (living or dead) would you most like to spend a two to three-hour dinner with discussing current or historical events; what questions would you ask him or her?

I would have dinner with my son. My son is a history professor and teacher, so he has an interesting perspective on the world and changes in it. I would ask him if current events reflect any improvement in the human condition as compared to the past decade. In his view, has the ability to use the Internet changed the way people interact to resolve conflicts?

6. What is your favorite quotation or lyric that you believe would best reflect who you are or what you aspire to be?

I have a song lyric written by Richard Marx that reflects what I aspire to be remembered for:

“I want for you a better time

To know the beauty of our mother earth

Cherish her forever

Never felt in such a hurry

So little time, so much to do 

I lie awake and dream the dreams I’ll share with you”

7. What would be the top three things on your bucket list?

To travel to New York and see the site of the 9/11 Memorial.To learn how to play the piano.To go to the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. Tennis Open Tournaments and see every finals match in a single year.

8. As a long-term client, how has your relationship with RSG contributed to your professional achievement(s)?

RSG has given me fundamental advice on analyzing the economics for housing developments, both affordable and market rate, and shown me how to develop options that achieve housing goals for my community. With RSG I’m able to develop creative solutions for affordable housing development, explain those solutions to decision makers in an understandable format and ultimately implement real development. 

Interview conducted by former RSG Associate-Jim Draughon and current RSG Senior Analyst-Dima Galkin