Urban Fold

Collaborative Planning Effort Seeks to Transform L.A.'s Riverfront

Efforts to transform L.A.'s maligned river into a public and economic asset got a boost last week with the establishment of a cross-disciplinary and cross-agency planning effort focused on an eight-mile stretch of the river.

Funded by a $2.25 million Community Challenge planning grant from the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative (NELA RC) was officially launched last week as, "a holistic, collaborative urban planning effort to take advantage of the River as an economic development asset," reports Carren Jao. "The collaborative takes up the mantle left behind when the state's Community Redevelopment Agencies were dissolved last year, but with added emphasis on inter-agency cooperation and community-based approaches."

"The idea here is to use the [Los Angeles] river -- which has historically been a flood control basin -- and envision it as an actual fully-functioning river and to use that to create a district where it'll be a unique feature," said Louis Morales of Tierra West, project manager of NELA RC.

"NELA RC is an ambitious effort that attempts to break down the barriers that often exist in agencies, said George Villanueva, researcher for the Metamorphosis Project at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.'It's not just government agencies, but non-profits, universities, commercial real estate people. It's really ambitious to get all of these people working together.'"

"Should it prove successful," adds Jao, "it could become a template for future urban planning and management."

Full Story: Northeast L.A. Communities to be Envisioned as a Riverfront District

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