create / 2014

Transforming Communities for Peace

Transforming Communities for Peace

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by World Peace One

Communities for peace allows every person the ability to design and build projects for safer, greener, and more beautiful communities


Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

Communities for peace allows every person the ability to design and build projects for safer, greener, and more beautiful communities

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South Bay
  • Westside

What is your idea/project in more detail?

Ideas for community Peace Projects come from residents through campaigns online and offline. These ideas can range from community gardens to street art murals to innovation hubs. The person with the idea becomes the project leader, partnered with mentors, teachers, students, and resources to empower them to make a physical change in the neighborhood. Project leaders are given training and supported by other students taking World Peace One classes (with UCLA Extension and LATTC) in contributing to projects all over the city. L.A. City 311 and other government services are key partners and classes are offered in WP1 Innovation Hubs and L.A. WorkSource Centers near residents. We partner with local businesses and community groups for outreach.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

The first step is empowering people through education. World Peace One helps to connect the as-built environment in our communities with education through community-based projects. Residents who want to transform their environment are supported through mentoring and resources. Students in the education program gain academic credit in a hybrid learning environment by learning as well as journaling, designing, building, sculpting, growing food, coding, creating art, and innovating ideas for these neighborhood projects. In the end, residents and students form the foundation of a larger community that creates these innovative spaces. World Peace One classes are taught through a partnership with UCLA Extension, the Los Angeles City Community District, and iTunes University and range from a Transforming Your Community weekend boot camp for residents with little education to Earth Ethics for Environmental Design for degree-oriented learners.

In addition to the Peace Projects above, Innovation hubs will be created in Los Angeles. These hubs will provide co-working space for Peace Project teams, and a nexus for classes and learning activities. Courses taught at the hub will initially focus on practical skills needed for community transformation (from the Peace Project boot camp to drafting to landscape architecture). Students and participants from the program will be encouraged to effect change in their community and provided space, mentoring, and access to potential investors to make their ideas into reality. These hubs are studios where solutions can be created, made, and innovated, including the use of new tools like 3D printing, visualization, and sustainable materials. The hubs will be operated in coordination with local government and universities. The first hub in Los Angeles is expected to be a joint venture amongst the City of Los Angeles, UCLA Extension, the Los Angeles Community College District, and World Peace One.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CREATE today? In 2050?

World Peace One is launching a global movement for peace, reaching billions of people through concerts, music, games, and social media. This movement will focus people on envisioning how to transform their communities, cities, and nations into safer spaces that will unleash human innovation—giving a voice and power to all citizens. World Peace One Education and Communities works with residents, businesses, educators, and governments to transform neighborhoods step-by-step to more beautiful, usable, safer, eco-friendly, and innovative spaces.

This movement is starting here, this year, in Los Angeles, with coordinated activities next year in cities around the world. Los Angeles will be the hub, the home, and the heart of this peace movement that starts with Angelenos helping create a new city around the needs of the residents in our neighborhoods.

Over the next years and decades, project by project, block by block, L.A. will transform into the city its citizens dream it can be. Through the power of music, global awareness, and planned future fund raising, these Peace Projects will create sustainable spaces in the built environment across the city. L.A. will be the global model and lead other cities in how to become both a beautiful, safer city and to empower its citizens to be engaged, transformative, educated, and active.

Transforming Communities for Peace will make L.A. the city we all dream it could be.

Whom will your project benefit?

The project benefits Angelenos who are interested in changing the environment and conditions in their neighborhoods in a way that will make their lives better. The benefactors will be those people, their families, and their neighbors.

These people are supported by students who benefit by receiving course credit and real experience in helping to design, build, and manage projects using skills from the classroom.

A greater good happens when projects happen near each other, share practices, and create a library of models and designs that help others in the future. As projects start to connect in a physical way in the city, block by block, areas will be creatively transformed by the residents themselves, supported by not driven by city planners, architects, and professional designers.

L.A.’s amazing strength is the diversity of its citizens and these projects allow them to express that diversity in visible ways and to be empowered to care for, create, and be involved in their city.

From that empowerment, caring citizens watch out for each other, turn out to vote, seek out education and employment, and help others to do so.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

To achieve these goals, there are a wide variety of partners ranging from the music production for future fund raising to implementation of Peace Projects and innovative hubs in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Confirmed partners include:

• World Peace One (global organization for awareness and sustaining project beyond initial funding) • United Earth (environmental organization that focuses on Earth ethics and holistic studies of environmental impact of changes) • UCLA Extension (education partner, managing registration, course certification, and curricula development) • LATTC Architecture Program (education partner for reach to new or potential students, connection to existing programs and training) • City of Los Angeles (permitting, oversight for city-related projects, partner for innovation hubs, and 311 integration pilot) • Los Angeles WorkSource Centers (locations for initial course offerings and innovation hubs) • iTunes University (education partner for online courses) • ReelFX (media company for production of online interactive materials) • Los Angeles World’s Fair 2020 (community partner for collaborating on Peace Projects and larger, transformative changes in the built environment) • World Music Group (music partner for writing, talent management, and song, concert, and video production) • Advance Group Tickets, Canada (music partner for ticket sales and event management) • Sunbox, Portugal (music partner for event and concert production) • 350.org, Portugal (environmental designs, models, and best practices for eco-friendly Peace Projects) • ENCOUNTER Think Tank (community engagement forum held monthly since 2013 to connect partners, community service groups, and collaborators working together to effect change in L.A.)

World Peace One staff have worked with all of these partners in the past, some for many years. In some cases, World Peace One staff lead these groups.

Three critical factors are:

  1. Continuous connection to the residents in the communities
  2. Effective and efficient execution of Peace Projects, led by residents, that reflect cultural and other needs of the community and are designed to be sustainable
  3. Designing for the future so that projects build on each other and create designs, models, and practices that will make each project part of a larger whole

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Create” metrics?

  • Number of high-growth startups
  • Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)
  • Recruiting and retention rates at local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)
  • Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

The project will create the ability for citizens in L.A. to see themselves as innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs and give them specific, tangible tools to do so. Through the combination of education and physical projects we will see the transformation occur throughout the city, and more importantly other residents will see that, too.

By bringing people into education without requiring prerequisite, credentialed education and by doing so down the block from their home, we recruit the very people who are likely to stay in L.A. We don’t need to import people to our universities and recruit them to stay, when we have an already committed pool of people who just need a hand in getting to education.

For those who do come to L.A., showing them the power they have to transform the space and to be invested in those projects as students is likely to keep them in the place they help to build.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

Evaluation comes in a variety of perspectives:

  1. Resident satisfaction of built projects (qualitative evaluation through a survey, forums, social media and voting, and community discussions)
  2. Participation in courses, innovation hubs, online, at a Peace Project (in or after build) (quantitative evaluation augmented by mobile phone check in app)
  3. L.A. City satisfaction of completed projects and solutions (discussion with city personnel, 311 metrics)
  4. Sustainability (percent of Peace Projects successful 6-12 months after build, number of people taking multiple classes, proliferation of innovation hubs, number of new partners, number of new projects proposed)

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

Current practices in peace and community support, while well meaning, often generate solutions first and then impose those solutions onto communities. Many times this process doesn’t close the loop. Our approach first engages the community directly to determine the most pressing needs and cultural context, and then follows with a tangible solution first illustrated via advanced virtualization tools. We link existing challenge solutions to local drivers, and utilize an expanding library of templates, models and solutions with design-build innovations developed at World Peace One Communities and Education Innovation Hubs.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

We have been managing the ENCOUNTER Think Tank group meeting monthly at LATTC, which has allowed us since 2013 to bring together the partners to the point of launch. The project for L.A. and the first Peace Projects here will be absolutely achievable in this time frame.

We will build from existing collaborative networks and design platforms. World Peace One Communities and Education use a platform from e7 Plus to virtualize and simulate the physical environment to discover local needs and then train and use local talent to design, build, and share ideas to innovate and transform communities that are in great disrepair.

This transformation can be achieved by three very simple strategies:

  1. Simulation and virtualization using geospatial tools and other platforms to help visualize the change
  2. Innovation hubs with Peace Projects that includes digital fabrication, community discussions and training, and understanding of entrepreneurship and funding
  3. Community-based education through new courses and modifying or offering existing courses for their residents

This is a new model to embrace the complexity that is an outgrowth of new urban dynamics. These dynamics

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

Two main challenges are:

  1. Engaging residents in a meaningful way (we are working through existing community service groups, online media, and awareness campaigns)
  2. Creating projects that can be sustained from year to year (we are including case studies and practices from organizations like Choice Humanitarian and Habitat for Humanity)

What resources does your project need?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach