connect / 2019

Sense LA

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Sense LA

Sense LA is a work of Socially Engaged Art and Systems Thinking which uses deep thinking, design management and manufacturing, art, and technology to help people from all backgrounds and abilities, have a voice in their community, understand their city and their place within it, and create fresh perspectives, together. During the next year, we will be working with organizations across the City to maximize our creative potential, and ultimately help visualize and guide our communal decisions.


What does your organization do?

An LA-wide set of workshops designed to harness the power of art + collective intelligence so we can better connect our communities and our city.

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

The methodology helps reveal people’s daily issues through discussion, mapping, drawing, designing and manufacturing. We are working with government agencies who are responsive to the issues that show up through the work.

As an example of impact that the project is already having. The City of Watts will be using the method to bring together hispanics and african-americans to build a new, united City. This is the first time these two populations come together in this manner.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Voting rates

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

  • County of Los Angeles

How will your project make LA the best place to connect?

The program is being executed leveraging the network of Neighborhood Councils throughout Los Angeles and in partnership with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the Berggruen Institute. Meetings are organized directly with each Neighborhood Council and the project is put to a vote. Dates and times are then arranged with the appropriate representatives.

The work is citywide and aims to have participation by as many voices as possible regardless of age, gender, occupation, race or religion. The participants to date have included recently released inmates, university professors, community organizers, Neighborhood Council Board Members, children, homeless people, religious leaders, government agency representatives, homemakers, etc.

Workshops are in various stages of execution, planning and scheduling through mid 2020. We are simultaneously working on the digitization and creation of open source portal.

The project aims to connect all 99 neighborhood councils, including other organizations through a series of visualization tools that are co-created using the methodology. We aim to have a deep view of the city’s interconnected problems and situations, creating a common language and new unexpected connections throughout the city’s inhabitants.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Post-pilot (testing an expansion of concept after initially successful pilot)

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

Creation of a platform that houses all workshop visualization tools

Amount of workshops given and organizations participating

Quality and quantity of direct impact in communities through partnerships with local government agencies