live / 2016

Open House LA: making los angeles more open to more housing

Open House LA: making los angeles more open to more housing

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Evolve LA (project of LA-Más)

Open House LA encourages residents and policy makers in LA County to be more open to adding more housing of all types, so that there are enough homes for all types of people to live in LA


Please describe your project proposal.

Open House LA encourages residents and policy makers to be more open to adding more housing of all types in Los Angeles County. it is urgent – and possible– to build more housing in LA county more rapidly. Our project will produce engaging and easy to understand visuals and a report explaining how the housing we live in today was built, why housing production slowed in recent decades, and how we can accelerate adding housing of all types so that LA can have homes for all types of people.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Housing affordability
  • Resilient communities
  • Homelessness

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

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Gateway Cities
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

We cannot live better in LA unless there are enough homes so people can afford to stay in and move to Los Angeles.

One of the main obstacles to adding more housing in LA County is that too few decision makers, advocates and voters are willing to support more housing.

Our proposal will explain why we need more housing of all types and how changing rules & spurring innovation can accelerate the production of more housing.

We call the project ‘Open House LA’ because the goals are to make LA more open to housing and to ‘invite people in’ to learn more about the causes of and solutions to our housing crisis.

We will raise awareness among decision makers and organizations through engagement and policy recommendations. We will reach a wider set of residents and stakeholders through engaging and plain-language infographics, brief stories and factoids on the need to expand housing.

The report and materials will focus on 4 key themes:

  • we have a housing crisis in LA county because we don’t have enough housing
  • Almost all existing homes in LA County were built as luxury or mass housing, to make a profit, back when it used to be easier to construct housing
  • in recent decades we changed rules to make it harder to build enough new homes, and we reaping the results today with rising costs and homelessness
  • by adopting better rules, we can allow more housing of all types to be built, helping people of all backgrounds

To produce the report, we will convene a technical advisory council of experts,builders and innovators; and we will interview diverse stakeholders active in housing. Project staff will research housing trends and best practices locally and profile four large metropolitan regions that have done better at producing housing and maintaining housing choice and keeping costs lower. (Tokyo, Houston, Toronto and Berlin). From these varied sources we will explain the origins and impacts of LA’s housing crisis and recommend policy changes that local governments in LA county should adopt.

As we create the report, we will draw out key facts and arguments to share as blog posts, factoids, stories, maps and infographics. Examples might include:

  • what types of homes exist in LA county?
  • how were lower cost homes built?
  • what changed to slow housing production?
  • do places that add more new housing have more or less displacement?
  • which cities in LA county do a good/bad job adding homes?
  • what are policies to add housing in LA County?

Because many people are visual thinkers, we will also illustrate good strategies & policies for adding more more housing using images and diagrams. To reach LA’s diverse population, we will translate all materials into Spanish and info graphics into Chinese.

We will distribute them via social media and other channels. Once the report is complete, we will share it online and via a panel discussion / launch event and social media event.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

We define success as expanding awareness of the need for more housing of all types in LA County and for policy change and innovation to allow more housing to be built.

We will measure awareness of the need for more housing by

  • distribution, hits and engagement of project posts, visuals, memes and report

We will measure awareness of the need for housing policy changes by

  • mentions of need for more housing by decision makers and influencers
  • upzones in any new general plans, community plans or specific plans in jurisdictions in LA county

We will measure awareness of the need for innovation in housing production by

  • formation and activities of housing innovation start up companies in LA
  • lower cost housing prototypes and projects proposed, tested or permitted in LA

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

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support