On March 11, residents from Hollywood, Boyle Heights, South LA, and beyond gathered at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hollywood to attend ACT LA’s first Residents’ #ReimaginingLA Summit of 2015. The evening kicked off with a welcome and panel of residents from South LA, Hollywood, and Boyle Heights as well as staff from East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) in Boyle Heights, Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA) in Chinatown and T.R.U.S.T. South LA. The panelists presented on the current moment in Los Angeles: as the city faces an unprecedented $40 billion transit build out financed by the Measure R sales tax, residents from areas long neglected by public investment are faced with both the promise of investment in transit, walkable and bikeable streets and other improvements that will create healthier neighborhoods as well as the threat of the widespread displacement that will follow the expected rise in land values. They spoke about how ACT LA formed by uniting various struggles and strategies across the city so that communities could come up with a citywide response to this moment.
About 80 residents participated in a breakout activity focused on envisioning what some of the current city-owned empty lots near transit could become if the city invested in communities’ vision for their own neighborhoods. This activity built upon the work residents had done to visit empty lots in their neighborhoods and map assets in the area. At the summit, they began to plan out what they would want to see built on the lots. Affordable housing was at the top of many lists. Residents also wanted to see more green space, healthy food vendors and community centers built and many planned for bike lanes in surrounding streets. Follow up work on planning for the lots will be scheduled in the coming weeks; please follow ACT LA on Twitter and Facebook to learn about opportunities to get involved.
The visions for the lots clearly lined up with ACT LA’s call for citywide policies that ensure affordable housing is available near transit and that smart growth development in TOD areas serves existing communities instead of displacing them. Residents in every breakout group signed up for continued involvement in ACT LA. We are #ReimaginingLA and gearing up for more city-wide work. Please sign up, follow us, and get involved!