LA2050

Happenings

A glimpse into LA’s future: How can driverless vehicles & new tech revolutionize a car city?

Posted November 16, 2016 by Erica Liepmann

LA might be known to some as a congested, car-centric city, but Angelenos know these stereotypes are old news. LA's got rapid changes underway that are making our beloved city more people-friendly every single day.

We're investing in public transportation with new rail and bus projects, like the Expo line connecting downtown to Santa Monica, the final phase of which opened this summer and has seen dramatic spikes in popularity. We're adding bike-share programs and bike lanes, and making communities more walkable. And we're big adopters of ride-sharing apps and other new technology.

LA is the ultimate testing ground for innovative ideas in mobility -- and proud of it!

These efforts got a huge boost recently thanks to the leadership of Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), which released a report examining how the future of LA's transportation could look and how we should start preparing!

Supported by the Goldhirsh Foundation in partnership with the Mayor's Fund of Los Angeles, the comprehensive strategy, “Urban Mobility in a Digital Age: A Transportation Technology Strategy for Los Angeles," is the first strategy document of its kind from a major U.S. city to focus prominently on how autonomous vehicles could improve mobility in LA.

The pages of the document are bursting with exciting ideas. Here are a few of our faves:

  • Test mobility feedback tools: We love the idea of giving Angelenos the opportunity to provide feedback on their walking, biking and public transportation experiences quickly and easily via technology -- just like you'd rate an Uber or Lyft ride. The report recommends LADOT set metrics to help define and evaluate “transportation happiness."
  • Use smart parking tech: Google maps (or your map app of choice) will let you know how long it takes to drive from place to place -- and even consider the traffic -- but what about how long it will take you to park? Every single Angeleno who drives knows what it's like to arrive on time, but then to wind up late because of driving around looking for parking.
    Furthermore, studies have found that 30 percent of traffic is caused by drivers looking for curb parking, and a UCLA study estimated this generates an extra 730 tons of CO2 emissions annually in just one small business district alone. According to the EPA's greenhouse gas calculator, 730 tons of CO2 is equal to the amount of CO2 that would be sequestered by 18,919 tree seedlings grown for 10 years. Making greater use of parking inventory technology will help drivers find a space more quickly thereby reducing excess CO2 emissions. But equally important, including these time estimates provides a more realistic picture for drivers and may encourage walking, using public transportation or a ridesharing service instead.
  • Test autonomous public transit vehicles: It's not just ride-sharing companies and car manufacturers that should be testing autonomous vehicles (AV). It's time for LA's transit agencies to get the ball rolling too. Can you imagine hopping on a self-driving bus?
  • Test on-demand shuttles: In LA, first mile/last mile is often our biggest stumbling block to public transportation adoption, i.e. how Angelenos get from their nearest bus or rail stop to their door. One amazing idea is piloting on-demand public transportation options, like micro-buses or shuttles, in lieu of fixed-route buses, to help riders make their first mile/last mile connections.
  • Expand car-free zones: Of course we adore the idea of increasing the frequency of temporary car-free zones, like CicLAvia, which encourage Angelenos to explore their communities on bikes and on foot. It's currently held three times a year. How would LA's streets change if this was a more regular option?
  • Crowdsource transit improvements: We sure love crowdsourcing! The report suggests LADOT partner with the community to crowdsource ideas and even funding to make bus stops more comfortable and informative for riders (think more shade, most seating and info on arrival times).
  • Launch a mobility lab: LADOT should foster innovation by hosting a “living lab" for their teams to share data/research and collaborate on new ideas with private sector transpo tech companies, as well as academic and philanthropic partners. We couldn't agree more!


These changes would have big implications for Los Angeles and could spur new uses for tons of space across the region. A 2015 report found parking took up an estimated 14 percent of land across the county in 2010 and the number may be even higher today.

Think of what opportunities and options could be unlocked if we move away from individual car ownership and reclaim urban spaces taken up by parking. We could convert parking spaces into new parks across LA, build much-needed new housing and explore creative land uses we haven't yet imagined.

That's just one of the many ways the lived experience of Angelenos could be improved by this new model, which would also reduce traffic and transit times, improve walkability and bikeability of neighborhoods, make residents more active, increase community connectivity and dramatically reduce carbon emissions. We love these positive impacts and the steps LADOT is exploring to bring them to fruition.

For more on the future of mobility in LA, check out Alissa Walker's excellent piece on the report in Curbed LA. Then, grab a nice glass of your favorite beverage, get cozy and enjoy the full report.

Thank you for joining us to #CelebrateLA

Posted October 26, 2016 by Erica Liepmann

Thank you, Los Angeles, for a night to remember!

We were honored to host hundreds of amazing change-making, innovating and creative Angelenos in DTLA's beautiful Grand Park to #CelebrateLA.

With delicious tacos and cocktails in hand, Angelenos were mingling and discussing the bright future of LA as we kicked off voting on the 2016 Grants Challenge. Our Challenge applicants were in attendance to share their exciting, fresh ideas to improve communities all across the county.

We never doubted that LA sure knows how to party! We loved seeing you all enjoy every aspect -- from some of the city's finest food trucks to DJ Mamabear's sweet beats to our photo booth.

Major shoutout to all our friends and partners for helping us make #CelebrateLA so special: Do LA, Angel City Brewery and all the yummiest eats and treats from Kogi, Poke2Go, Farmer's Belly, El Jefe Catering, Bread & Wine Catering and B Sweet. And thanks to you for being there to toast to LA's future and for all you do every day to make this city sparkle!

Check out our favorite moments from the night on Storify and the full photobooth album too!

And of course, don't forget to vote for your favorite ideas to to make LA the best place to learn, create, play, connect and live. We're thrilled to be giving away $1 million to the ideas Angelenos love most! Voting ends October 28, so don't forget to lend your voice today: https://challenge.la2050.org.

Our favorite moments from #SXSL!

Posted October 13, 2016 by Erica Liepmann

Like many Angelenos, we couldn't be happier that a conversation about Los Angeles (and all the exciting change going on here!) was given a national spotlight at the first-ever South by South Lawn (SXSL) festival, hosted at the White House on Monday, October 3.

Inspired by the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival, the White House's version brought together leaders, artists, activists and innovators to celebrate people making positive change. SXSL was also a call to action, an opportunity for changemakers to share best practices and inspire even more engagement around issues ranging from sustainable food to social entrepreneurship to climate change (and more!).

And guess which city was spotlighted as an exciting place for innovation? Of course, LA!

The panel discussion, entitled “ LA: A Case Study in Innovation," was moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food critic, Jonathan Gold. He led a conversation about how LA is changing (for the better!), what this looks like across sectors, technology's role and the lessons to be learned from it all. Panelists included:

  • Yael Aflalo, Founder and CEO of sustainable LA fashion label, Reformation;
  • Krisztina 'Z' Holly, host of The Art of Manufacturing podcast and Chief Instigator of Mayor Garcetti's MAKE IT IN LA initiative;
  • Oscar Menjivar, Founder and CEO of URBAN Teens Exploring Technology; and
  • Brian Mullins, a pioneer in Augmented Reality, Human Machine Interface and Computer Vision.


Here are our favorite moments from the conversation:

  • “Businesses can make a difference in communities; they can make a difference with food deserts." - Jonathan Gold [on Locol].
  • “When we surveyed businesses in LA about creating and making, we found that nearly half of businesses were minority and women-owned. So it shows a very different face of entrepreneurship than what we see in the media." - Krisztina 'Z' Holly
  • “LA is a microcosm of the world. So it pulls together all these different cultures. I think there's something like 40 different nationalities where the second largest population in the world is in LA. So it causes new creativity to come out of that and then it also means that LA is a huge market that enables us to reach and test and iterate on our innovations." - Krisztina 'Z' Holly
  • “The beauty of LA that we're starting to find is that more and more teens from the inner city, more and more teens from poor and working class communities are starting to innovate, and the more resources we're starting to provide to them, the more they're starting to come up with their own solutions for their own community." - Oscar Menjivar
  • “The LA River, for people who don't know about it or just think of it as a joke on late night TV, is being redeveloped in sort of an astonishing way, as an open space, as a recreational space, as a new center of Los Angeles. It goes on for 40 miles. … It's something I think we're all looking forward to experiencing for the next 40 years." - Jonathan Gold
  • “I think Los Angeles is going through a renaissance right now, so I think people from across the country are moving to LA. I think it really is a hub for creativity right now." - Yael Aflalo
  • “It's an amazing place to devote yourself to something. There's so many resources; there's such a diverse workforce — amazing people coming from entertainment, from technology. And it really is…the intersection of all those things." - Yael Aflalo
  • “What you're talking about is how corporations and government have to think about the best interest of people in general and solve these problems in a bigger way. I think there is often a temptation for people to look and see the strengths and weaknesses of government and the strengths and weaknesses of corporations, and especially sometimes they try to route around each other. Neither gets better when that happens. I think if you focus at how you can collaborate and make legislation that's going to help both, that's really the only way to do that in the long-term." - Brian Mullins
  • And OF COURSE, we loved the LA2050 shoutout from our friend, Oscar Menjivar, talking about cross-sector partnerships to expand economic opportunities for underserved communities:

“When we were first starting [URBAN Teens Exploring Technology] and told people 'we're ending the school to prison pipeline,' not only did corporations, but foundations, like the Riordan Foundation, jump on board, or the Durfee Foundation, or LA2050 jumped on board and said 'let's help this cause. It's important that LA has a good workforce in the future.' So I think that collaboration — again — that is coming from all sectors and is helping understand that there's talent in South LA, there's talent all over Los Angeles whether it's in the valley or downtown, we're willing to nurture that talent, we're willing to bring up and foster that talent as a community in LA."

You can watch the full video of the panel below. Enjoy!

With Angeleno input, Grand Park's 'Paper Airplane' now soaring high!

Posted October 3, 2016 by

As winner of the My LA2050 Grants Challenge to make Los Angeles the Best Place to Play, Grand Park - the Park for Everyone in Downtown Los Angeles - was thrilled to recently unveil Paper Airplanes, a remarkable installation that is both public art and practical infrastructure, providing whimsy and excitement as well as some very necessary shade to park visitors young and old.

This spectacular new shade structure was designed by local artists Elenita Torres and Dean Sherriff, and engineered and manufactured by Canvas Specialty in East Los Angeles. The eleven planes were constructed of translucent, heat-resistant fabric in a building process that took six months from concept to installation.

Each plane represents one incorporated city in LA County and together the planes represent all 88 incorporated cities.

After successfully marshalling Angelenos to support the shade project by voting for Grand Park in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge, Grand Park continued its public-spiritedness by holding a design contest for the shade structure itself. Local artists submitted more than 50 design concepts suited to the space and reflective of the spirit of Grand Park and the diverse communities that frequent it.

There were so many amazing submissions that appealed to the Grand Park executive committee – but once again public input was prioritized to determine the winning design. An online campaign was launched to encourage the public to vote for one of three top designs selected by the committee after in-depth personal interviews with the artists. Grand Park staff even canvassed the park during lunchtime to engage the public in conversations about the final design options. Public participation soared with nearly 4,000 responses in less than two weeks to the big question: L.A., which do you LOVE?

The three final designs each reflected a unique characteristic of Grand Park but in the end, the online public voting campaign crowned Paper Airplanes the undisputed winner. Paper Airplanes captures the free spirit and playfulness of Grand Park, soaring over Olive Court and bringing much needed shade and delight to everyone who visits to play, enjoy quiet green spaces, and attend free events in DTLA.

One of the major goals at Grand Park is to create a sense of community by truly engaging the public. By sparking the public's participation in helping Grand Park win the My LA2050 grant and then again in the final design selection, the park met an important milestone in the continuing mission to make Grand Park the Park for Everyone. And with the comforting shade the planes provide, visitors agree that Grand Park is cooler than ever!

IAVA creating a new standard for high-tech, high-touch support to veterans

Posted October 1, 2016 by

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is utilizing the My LA2050 grant to expand the groundbreaking Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP), the premier veterans-support program in America, to Los Angeles.

As the first and largest veterans empowerment organization with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership, IAVA has redefined case management and created a new standard for high-tech, high-touch support that is serving thousands of veterans and their families while showing countless community-support organizations a new way to serve their clients with life-saving programs at scale.

IAVA's unique support model has veterans working with social workers online or via phone to address a wide variety of transition related needs, from housing, to financial, legal, health and everything in between. By simply calling the RRRP toll free number or reaching out online, a veteran is connected with a Veteran Transition Manager (VTM), who does a complete and thorough assessment of all of the veteran's needs and makes personalized referrals to local and national service providers. No appointment is necessary and there are no awkward waiting rooms, and a case isn't closed until the veteran decides that the needed resources have been obtained or that assistance is no longer needed.

With the RRRP team focusing on the critical work of connecting veterans with needed services, IAVA also pursues a broader, more comprehensive strategy for veteran support that includes prevention and early intervention. Veterans who take advantage of IAVA's support are invited to continue their involvement as Member Ambassadors to help promote the program to other veterans. With the support of the Field Team as well as these Ambassadors, IAVA is able to reach veterans where they live and work. Through regular community social events and outreach (called VetTogethers), veterans are connected with each other to help build a sense of community and camaraderie and share resources. Often, it is fellow veterans who provide the push needed, removing the stigma many veterans feel about seeking help.

Through these efforts, hundreds of veterans and supporters received information about RRRP and, thus far, 45 have been taken on as clients with 24 referrals made to support programs. Currently, five veterans are in the process of being trained to serve as local Ambassadors. Additionally, IAVA has developed key partnerships with five local service providers – nearly to the goal of six - and has held four Ambassador outreach events.

Moving forward RRRP now has a California-based VTM who, in addition to serving California RRRP clients, will be developing and strengthening partnerships in the California veterans' community and conducting regular outreach events to inform veterans and supporters about IAVA and RRRP. Additionally, an LA-wide member survey is under development to help identify new potential Ambassadors who can be trained online with the support of other peer mentors.

To learn more about the RRRP program and see IAVA's work in action check out this incredible piece from Yahoo News.

With My LA2050 grant, CASA continues work helping LA's most vulnerable foster youth

Posted September 24, 2016 by

For more than thirty years, CASA of Los Angeles has been providing highly trained volunteer court-appointed special advocates (CASAs) to aid abused and neglected foster youth, forever transforming their lives for the better.

What exactly does a CASA do? A CASA is assigned by a Dependency Court judge to an at-risk child and investigates the child's home life, identifying educational, physical and mental health challenges, and meeting with all the adults in the child's life, including parents, teachers, lawyers and social workers. The CASA then makes recommendations to the judge – offering suggestions for ensuring the child's safety, achieving permanency and promoting the child's well-being. The CASA also supports the child over the long-term on a personal basis, as a stable adult who cares about the child without being paid to do so.

It takes a special person to be a CASA. Because it requires such a significant commitment of time, experience, resources, and energy, recruitment efforts require strong marketing to further brand and advertise CASA/LA as an important volunteer experience for community members. Through the My LA2050 grant, CASA was able to:

  • Add four full-time staff members focused on recruitment and outreach to communities throughout Los Angeles County.
  • Increase training staff to include three full time trainers, broadening training opportunities and allowing CASA/LA to more quickly process volunteer applications, conduct prospect interviews, and provide pre-service training.
  • Advertise on local NPR stations, promoting CASA of Los Angeles as an opportunity to prospective volunteer candidates interested in community affairs.

The My LA2050 grant also provided CASA/LA a new level of exposure that greatly aided in recruiting more volunteers. Since the beginning of the grant, CASA has significantly increased the number of volunteer inquiries received, the number of people attending information sessions each month, and the number of viable applicants. The organization is currently on track to recruit and train 250 new CASAs by the end of 2016! In addition, CASA has been able to increasingly recruit from populations which best reflect the children served, including the Spanish-speaking, Latino, and African-American communities, as well as engaging more men and volunteers from a wider array of professions and age groups.

Through the My LA2050 grant, CASA of Los Angeles is building its capacity and working to transform the lives of our community's most vulnerable citizens: abused and neglected children in the foster care system.

To volunteer or learn more about CASA of Los Angeles' work, visit casala.org

Songs of an LA Summer

Posted June 22, 2016 by Angie Jean-Marie

We're celebrating the start of summer in LA with a new series of playlists featuring Los Angeles as our muse. These songs are from LA-based artists, feature LA as a character, or inspire West Coast feels.

Check out the full playlist here and see the track listing below. Follow us on Spotify to keep up-to-date on these summer jams!

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" El Lay" - Snoop Dogg feat. Marty James

" California Dreamin'" - The Mamas & The Papas

" Compton" - Kendrick Lamar feat. Dr. Dre

" It Was a Good Day" - Ice Cube

" City of Angels" - Ozomatli

" A Los Cuatro Vientos - to the Four Winds" - Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano

" We Belong Together" - Los Lobos

" Shangri-La" - YACHT

" Falling" - HAIM

" California Girls" - The Beach Boys

" West Coast" - Lana Del Rey

" Sunset People" - Donna Summers

" Nissim" - The Gaslamp Killer

" Free Fallin'" - Tom Petty

My LA2050 is back... with some exciting changes!

Posted June 7, 2016 by

The My LA2050 Grants Challenge has exceeded our greatest expectations. Angelenos have helped surface hundreds of creative and innovative ideas to make Los Angeles a thriving metropolis.

Feedback is important to us at LA2050. And we're making some improvements to the grants challenge, thanks to suggestions from Angelenos like you!

So, what's changing?

1. Applicants can submit proposals for three different grant amounts. You can submit an application for a grant of $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000.

We're still giving out $1 million. This change just means that we can level the playing field and potentially support more ideas. Applying for one amount or another doesn't necessarily improve your chances. This change is aimed at giving smaller pilot projects a chance to compete for a grant

2. We're switching platforms. After a few great years working with GOOD Maker, we're switching to a new platform powered by Skild. We're in build out phase now but there are exciting improvements to the application and voting processes to come.

3. You'll be able to leverage your application by providing an opportunity for the public to donate to your idea or volunteer for your organization.

We're adding easy activation buttons to the publicly viewable submissions to help you engage Angelenos interested in your idea.

4. Voting will last one week and will begin on October 18th.

5. We're getting ready to celebrate your great ideas even sooner. Save the date for #CelebrateLA. This year's public celebration of LA changemakers will take place on October 18th, aligned with the opening of the public voting period.

We're looking forward to your great ideas! Don't forget to attend #LA2050Collaborates to workshop your ideas with other LA social innovators.

- Team LA2050

We're days away from the election!

Posted June 3, 2016 by

June 7th is just around the corner and we have the deets on four ways you can #PartyatthePolls

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RENT Poet & Melrose Poetry Bureau are bringing poets to your local polling station to write personalized poetry on typewriters in English and Spanish for voters waiting in line. Their goal is to engage the public in the generative, creative process we all know politics can be! Check out #PoetsatthePolls and their #WritetoVote social media campaign.

Venice Arts will serve not only as a polling place for the California Primary Elections on June 7th, they will also be hosting a professionally run photo booth to capture the many different reasons people vote. #VeniceVotes will not only be Venice Arts' first interactive photo booth project, but will become a living album of portraits that speaks to the uniqueness of Venice and the vital importance of civic engagement. Show Venice Arts why #VeniceVotes.

The Unique Space wants you to participate in local elections and is throwing a giant block party on election night to celebrate. After hitting the polls, head over to their space where they'll transform their 5,000 square foot parking lot into an outdoor block party with FREE food, drinks, a DJ, photo booth, games and interactive art installations. Don't forget to wear your “I Voted" sticker to be entered into really great contests, and the first 200 people through the doors get a bag full of swag! RSVP here.

Celebrate Election Day with KPCC's #WhyIVoted party. Bring your "I voted" sticker and join the KPCC In Person team at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate your decision to vote in the election and, we hope, encouraging others to do the same. RSVPs not required but let KPCC know if you can make it here.


Eight winning ideas to #PartyatthePolls!

Posted May 18, 2016 by

Three weeks ago, we asked Angelenos for event ideas to improve voter engagement and turnout in the upcoming primary election. Today, we are excited to announce that eight proposals will receive $3,500 apiece to pilot events between May 17th and June 7th.

These proposals represent a sample of the truly creative voter engagement ideas we received, ranging from using comedy to communicate about elections to conducting direct outreach to first-time voters and immigrants to encourage them to head to their polling locations. In all, these #PartyatthePolls events will spark conversation about civic engagement among thousands of members of our Los Angeles community.

We can't wait to report back on these events, so please stay tuned. You are also welcome to join the events where noted. Be sure to follow these and other great voter engagement activities all across Los Angeles using #PartyatthePolls. And, don't forget to vote! For information about voting in LA County, visit www.lavote.net.

  • Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles will recruit 100 volunteers to participate in a day-long canvassing party on June 7th to educate the immigrant community in Pico-Union about the importance of their vote and to provide information about participating in the elections.
  • Green Dot Public Schools will build excitement around the major milestone of voting for the first time for students at five of their 11 high schools. The GOTV effort, “Get on the Bus!" will build on the charter school network's registration of more than 1,000 students and will provide transportation and celebrations for 250 graduating students who will take their first act as adults by voting in a national election.
  • Melrose Poetry Bureau (MPB) will take over the steps of the LA Central Library for a type-in where they will collaboratively write poems with Angelenos and interpret their feelings about voting, the elections, and civic pride into creative literary pieces. MPB will repeat these interactive events on the primary election day with typewriter poets on-hand to write and perform for voters waiting in line at four polling places throughout Los Angeles County. *
  • As part of its election coverage and California Counts series about civic engagement in the state, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC 89.3) will host a #WhyIVoted primary party from 7am-8pm in communities traditionally underserved by public media and where voter turnout is low. The party will celebrate the decision of residents to participate in the election and encourage local residents to do the same. *
  • Thank You For Coming, Frau Fiber, the Faux Fraus, and Cal State University Fashion students will help novice and experienced participants alike create their own handmade vote banners that will displayed at their homes and in their communities. Through monthly workshops of The Sewing Rebellion on May 28th and 31st, participants will receive training and materials to handcraft reusable, unique banners to help inspire continuous civic participation in their neighborhoods. *
  • The Unique Space will host a block party on Election Night at their pop-up marketplace in the Arts District celebrating those who voted. Admission to the party will be your “I Voted" sticker. *
  • The United Way of Greater Los Angeles will organize a “March to the Polls" for LAUSD students participating in their L.A. Youth Vote campaign, a yearlong effort to position local high schools as centers of youth engagement and advocacy. The march will culminate in an event that celebrates students for engaging in the democratic process.
  • Venice Arts will serve as a polling place for the primary election and set up a photobooth at their gallery to engage voters in the VeniceVotes Photo Project. Voters will help create a gallery and visual story about why voicing their opinion and participating in the election is important. Follow #VeniceVotes to check out the photos. *


* indicates a public event. Feel free to join!

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