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THE FUTURES OF DEATH ALLEY is a day-long innovation workshop that focuses on making an impact in an economically, environmentally, and socially depressed area of South Central Los Angeles that sits adjacent to what has infamously been dubbed “Death Alley.” THE FUTURES OF DEATH ALLEY aims for social impact through entrepreneurial activity in association with the Architecture Program of LA Trade Tech College’s “Living Alleys” initiative. (Produced in collaboration with LATTC/Architecture and the LA design strategy firm, verynice. July 15, 2017.)
We focus on 1820 Florence Avenue, a street address that houses a small business center and a garden area in the back that had at one time been thriving. An alleyway spans the rear of the property. Next door is an empty lot that, until recently, had nothing on it but dilapidated cars, a rusted ice cream trailer, and an old boat.
The location is the legal street address for Five Points Youth Foundation, a non-profit launched in 1984 by Congresswoman Diane Watson that has been reduced to a shell of its former self. It is still being kept alive through the generous entrepreneurial work of the business center landlord and the networking of the Foundation’s temporary head. They are hoping that the location can once again serve holistic needs of area youth and residents, become a hub of initiative, and serve as a place for healthy food, recycling, sustainability, and community resiliency.
Now, new energy from two sources is giving reason for optimism. The Architecture Program of LA Trade Tech College has taken the location on as a place of fieldwork for its “Living Alley” revitalization initiative, and longtime LA architect Wayne Fishback has recently remade the formerly abandoned lot that sits adjacent to 1820 into a large, open-air meeting and festival space. Both efforts are working together with the Foundation.
A street address for change has now been created. What’s needed are ideas for the site and entrepreneurial know-how and energy to make them happen.
So this is where we step in, with a day-long innovation workshop that brings the existing team together with the most entrepreneurial and creative minds we can identify from local stakeholder communities. Together, they will brainstorm next steps for making the most of the assets in-hand combined with the networks and energy needed to make hyper-local change happen.
The day will be facilitated by verynice, a design strategy firm based in downtown LA that helps works with communities across the globe to build capacity for innovation so that they may direct their energies into small-bet, achievable initiatives that can meet target goals.