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A vision plan for the LA River and Northeast Los Angeles: Engaging local communities and place-based planning



By George Villanueva
In the past two decades, the Los Angeles River has become a hot spot for ecological restoration and urban revitalization. One question that has arisen is how local communities that live around prime riverfront real estate can be engaged in revitalization efforts, that envision a more equitable development that brings to the forefront issues of community improvement priorities, neighborhood identity, and gentrification concerns.
As part of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative (NELA RC)*--a project that brought together city, non-profit, private, university, and public media partners to develop a collective vision for the Northeast L.A. River and its adjacent neighborhoods--the USC Metamorphosis project worked with other partners to develop engagement strategies that involved the local communities in the planning process. The data gathered through the engagement strategies were used by the collaborative partners to inform the planning and economic development recommendations of the final NELA Riverfront District Vision Plan
For a more detailed account of the engagement strategies, top methodological considerations for replication, and lessons learned, please go to the NELA RC Lessons Learned and Community Engagement Toolkit.  

Here is a list of the community engagement strategies we deployed. When a post on one of these strategies is put up on the website, we will provide a link on this page. 
Resident and Small Business Surveys
Resident and Small Business Focus Groups
Media Monitoring and Local Media Production Focus Group
Asset Mapping
Policy Popular Education Workshops
Placemaking and Urban Design Activities
Youth Media Literacy Project
Online and Offline Communication Strategies

Have you used any of these stregies in your work? What was it for? Is there a particular strategy you would like to learn more about?

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*Note: The NELA RC is a project of the L.A. City Economic and Workforce Development Department. The work was funded by a HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities ‘Community Challenge Planning Grant’.  
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