play / 2015

Intersection Repair - Using art to create safer streets and stronger communities

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Compiler LA, Utopiad.org

We want to create safer neighborhoods and stronger communities by giving locals the opportunity to use art to “repair” public intersections in their neighborhoods. A technique pioneered by the City Repair Project in Portland, intersection repair is a tested, cost-effective way to turn regular streets into places for people, making them safer and uniting neighbors through a common sense of ownership of and pride in their neighborhood.


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

  • Central LA
  • City of Los Angeles
  • The Hub, Utopiad office in Solano Canyon

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

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Advocate with policymakers and leaders
  • Implement and track policy
  • Provide open data

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

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Per capita crime rates
  • Percentage of residents that feel safe in their neighborhoods
  • Attendance at major league sporting events
  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play (Dream Metric)

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

Streets in Los Angeles were designed with cars in mind, and because of that, they’re not a welcoming place for people to linger and play. We don’t have the same opportunity here to gather and play in the streets that other cities have, and because of that, we face significant barriers to important social functions like meeting new friends, hosting group activities, and forming close bonds with neighbors. This project will foster safer, stronger communities by encouraging neighborhood residents to work together to design and implement “intersection repair.”

Intersection repair is a simple and fun technique that consists of collectively painting graphics, murals, and other public art in residential intersections. It’s relatively inexpensive, and has been shown to reduce crime, improve traffic safety, and strengthen the sense of community and communication amongst neighbors.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Since the goal of this project is to strengthen community by encouraging residents to enjoy public streets in their neighborhoods, one of the best success metrics is simply the number of people active on a street throughout the day. Conveniently, New York company Placemeter recently released a technology that makes it easy to use streaming video to count pedestrian activity with 95% accuracy (manual pedestrian counts are usually only 75% accurate!). We’ve spoken with Placemeter about using their technology to gauge our success, and they agreed to work with us on an initial implementation.

Throughout the life of the project, we will take measures to ensure that this type of data collection is a top priority. All data collected will be made available publicly, and we will use it ourselves to ensure that each implementation is as effective and successful as possible.

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

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research