connect / 2015

LA Riverworks: A Vision to Engage LA Communities in River Revitalization

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA) and Public Counsel

Plans to revitalize the LA River promise to deliver over 18,000 jobs, billions in private development, and tremendous environmental benefits. But a fundamental question remains: who will access these benefits? LA Riverworks wants to engage local residents to help existing neighborhoods thrive alongside a revitalized LA River.

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

  • Northeast LA

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

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement and track policy

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

  • Median travel time to work
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs (Dream Metric)
  • Transit-accessible housing and employment (the share of housing units and percentage of jobs that are located near transit)
  • Attendance at public/open streets gatherings (Dream Metric)

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

In 2050, a revitalized LA River will serve as a main artery through the city, connecting many diverse and dynamic neighborhoods across the region. A greener and cleaner LA River will also strengthen a collective connection to our environment, providing all Angelenos with access to a precious source of recreation. To achieve this vision, jobs will be created and River-adjacent communities will see new investment. Our project is focused on helping existing residents connect with this process so they too can access the health and economic opportunities that the River promises.

By engaging low-income residents, families, and entrepreneurs in existing River-adjacent communities to voice their concerns and advocate for policies that support local needs as well as regional goals, SEACA and Public Counsel will ensure that the communities that live along the River today can continue to thrive alongside a revitalized River in 2050.

Specifically, our project will help make LA the best place to connect by:

• Engaging a broad range of stakeholders—such as local residents, youth, seniors, and small business owners in multiple languages—around LA River revitalization proposals; • Connecting local government policies to the needs and priorities of River-adjacent communities; • Promoting transparency and meaningful community engagement in public planning and investment decisions; • Linking local residents and other stakeholders to the political process; • Connecting with a network of housing and economic development experts to evaluate and cultivate strategies to address the needs of local neighborhoods; • Leveraging the River restoration and related developments to expand access to opportunity for local residents and other stakeholders; • Promoting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the median travel time to work through local employment opportunities and increasing the amount of affordable housing in this transit-rich area; and • Addressing concerns about gentrification and displacement of residents and small businesses.

A barricaded concrete River bisecting underserved neighborhoods has been an unfortunate image of disconnect and spatial inequity in the geography of our city. With this unprecedented investment, all that can change. But connection is key. Connecting local residents to opportunities starts with a connection to each other and to the investment process.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Outreach logs and sign-in sheets will track attendance and outreach to community members. We will also engage in an evaluation process with community members utilizing self-reported data collected at key intervals. This process will include individual surveys, group evaluations, and tracking progress towards meeting campaign goals.

Outcomes will include: • 150-300 residents, small business owners, and other stakeholders engaged • 20-30 youth trained in advocacy and civic engagement • Development of education and social media tools highlighting various issues related to the LA River restoration • Development of a community-informed policy platform • Community members will report greater knowledge of LA River investment strategies and impacts • Community members will report greater knowledge of tools to advocate for policies that support accountable River investment • Residents will report greater connection to others across various River-adjacent communities

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

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