Thanks to all who donated through the My LA2050 Ideas Archive match! We've reached our $10,000 limit. Any additional donations will not be doubled but will still support the incredible nonprofits, so keep spreading the love.

create / 2016

Preserving LA's Cultural Diversity

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Los Angeles LISC

Preserving LA’s diverse commercial hubs will support cultural entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs to ensure a sustainable future for LA's creative communities.

Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Coalition for Responsible Community Development; Little Tokyo Service Center; East Los Angeles Community Corporation; LP Village 2020 Vision Initiative, LA Commons

Please describe your project proposal.

Over the last 10 years, LA neighborhoods have undergone unprecedented change. Expanding public transit options and the blossoming of dynamic art centers, have transformed neighborhoods that once had limited desirability into attractive places to live and work. LA LISC seeks to empower four culturally diverse neighborhoods to negotiate the change process and develop a robust approach for leveraging culture as a tool for promoting sustainable neighborhood identities and economic development.

Which of the create metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Arts establishments
  • Employment in the creative industries
  • Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”)
  • Minority- and women-owned firms

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

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA

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

Preserving LA’s diverse commercial hubs will support cultural entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs to ensure a sustainable future for LA’s creative communities.

Over the last 10 years, Los Angeles neighborhoods have undergone unprecedented change. Expanding public transit options, the blossoming of artistic cultural centers, as well as the increased interest in urban life, have transformed neighborhoods that once had limited desirability, into attractive places to live and work. This has often meant an escalation of rents resulting in the displacement of many residents in communities across the Los Angeles landscape. Ultimately, this phenomena has the potential to transition the urban core of the city from a collection of culturally dynamic neighborhoods, to a relatively homogeneous area populated based on one’s ability to afford the rents. However, as noted in a recent paper by UCLA researchers, there is the opportunity to occupy the space “in between” the neighborhoods of the recent past and the potentially gentrified future to negotiate the ultimate destiny of the neighborhood. In particular, cultural economic development provides a solid platform through which to level the playing field in the tug of war that determines a neighborhood’s future.

LA LISC, in collaboration with LA Commons, are poised to take on the challenge of supporting local stakeholders in 4 distinct neighborhoods by engaging businesses, residents, merchant associations, arts-related entities and community based organizations to maximize collaboration and harness the creative cultural potential to achieve a sustainable future that allocates the benefits more equitably. Through this work, we will further the development of more culturally-based businesses and solidify neighborhood identities and the ability of residents to live and work locally.

As part of the project, LA LISC will:

(1) Convene a cultural economic development summit to address the many facets of cultural economic development and connect participants to creative strategies that have been used both locally and nationally. Attendees will be exposed to many ideas to pilot in their neighborhoods.

(2) Activate 4 cultural magnets with a pilot or iconic activity that will spur the creation of culturally-based businesses. The cultural magnets include: Central Avenue Historic District (local partner: 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).

(3) Support and grow entrepreneurial enterprises contributing to neighborhood cultural vibrancy. The goal will be to assist these businesses with access to capital, information, larger markets and technical assistance.

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

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
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support