Moffa on winning team for building resilient communities in the Los Angeles Gateway Cities
Fellow Matt Moffa was part of the winning team for the 2019 ASLA Student Award of Excellence project "Constructed Efforts - Building Resilient Communities in the Los Angeles Gateway Cities".
Design is a political act and "no true transformative design occurs without confronting the status quo" (Hester, 2006). Through a democratic and accountable process, Constructed Efforts presents an alternative approach to design that directly engages disadvantaged communities in constructing small-scale projects to build long-term community capacity and resiliency.
This project focuses on neighborhoods in the Gateway Cities along the Lower Los Angeles River Corridor having denser industrial land-uses, lower median incomes, lower educational attainment, higher population density, more minority residents, and limited access to quality open spaces. The project engaged five different communities over a period of two years. Residents were leaders in all stages of the design-build process from site selection to construction. Project successes include five built projects, a neighborhood advocacy group, and a long-term plan under final design by a local landscape architecture firm. The process demonstrates that simple short-term low-budget projects are effective at engaging communities, empowering residents, and improving neighborhood quality of life. The methods are now being explored by local governmental committees for adoption in State planning processes.