create / 2015

Creating culturally vibrant commercial corridors in LAs diverse neighborhoods

Creating culturally vibrant commercial corridors in LAs diverse neighborhoods

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Los Angeles

The cultural assets of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods represent an untapped economic development resource. LISC LA intends to (1) convene local arts, business and community economic development stakeholders to glean best-practice strategies for cultural economic development, (2) support the implementation of efforts to anchor 4 neighborhoods/commercial corridors as cultural magnets and (3) strengthen, while growing diverse businesses that are part of the local creative economy.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • Central LA: Little Tokyo, Central Avenue Historic District; East LA: Boyle Heights; South LA: Crenshaw/Leimert Park

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project

How will your proposal improve the following “Create” metrics?

  • Employment in the creative industries
  • Arts establishments per capita
  • Jobs per capita
  • Minority- and women-owned firms

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to create.

The cultural assets of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods represent an untapped economic development resource. Our goal is to have Los Angeles’ culturally-rich communities reach their economic potential. Many of these neighborhoods are being discovered due to the installation of new transit rail lines along with market pressures on households to identify affordable housing and commercial climates. This phenomena could very well threaten and in some cases wipe out the cultural viability and longevity of these areas. LA LISC is poised to take on the leadership challenge of working with local stakeholders in 4 distinct neighborhoods to engage businesses, residents, merchant associations, arts-related entities and community based organizations to maximize collaboration and to harness the creative cultural potential to achieve an economic development gain. LA LISC will: (1) Convene a cultural economic development summit – LA LISC will host a day-long summit to address the many facets of cultural economic development and connect participants to creative strategies that have been used in region and from across the country. LA LISC envisions an event that includes interactive panels, tours, skills-building and knowledge gaining sessions that highlight how local organizations can impact the ongoing viability of their cultural commercial districts. (2) Activate 4 cultural magnets with a pilot or iconic activity – LA LISC has identified 4 cultural magnets in which to implement a pilot or iconic activity. The four areas are Central Avenue Historic District (Coalition for Responsible Community Development), Little Tokyo (Little Tokyo Service Center), East Los Angeles/Boyle Heights (East Los Angeles Community Corporation and Leimert Park (LP Village 20|20 Vision Initiative). The identified cultural magnets will have an opportunity to explore and categorize their current approaches and determine how best to anchor those activities. (3) Support and grow entrepreneurial enterprises that are a part of creating neighborhood cultural vibrancy – Small businesses are often the heart and soul of what makes a place culturally great. LA LISC will work with the 4 cultural magnet communities to identify businesses and further define clusters that are essential to their creative economy. The goal will be to assist these businesses with access to capital, information, larger markets and technical assistance.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

LA LISC is seeking to engage stakeholders in a coordinated effort to develop cultural economic strategies. It is our hope to inspire the need for neighborhood and historic preservation of culture in demanding economic conditions. Success will be evaluated by the following metrics: • 10 participant communities/commercial districts and neighborhoods in the Cultural Economic Development Summit (40-50 participants); • Four project partners implement an iconic cultural economic development idea from among their strategy during the grant period; • Four project partners complete inventory of small businesses that contribute to the cultural economy; • At least 20 businesses receive technical assistance to nurture their growth and development; and • At least 4 businesses receive financial assistance.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Community outreach