Free Lots Angeles
There are more than 22,000 vacant lots in Los Angeles, the size of three downtowns. About 10% of them are owned by the City. Unfortunately vacant lots are accessible targets for illegal dumping, crime, and nuisance. They are a drain on neighborhood pride, quality of life, and are bad for business. In the context of Los Angeles, multiple City Departments own vacant land and each have a unique process for marketing, lease and sale. There is no policy or program to promote the disposition of remnant or unmarketable properties, nor is there a standard lease or sale agreement for properties, nor a strategic plan for the use of land. Los Angeles falls behind many other cities in the nation such as Philadelphia, Seattle and Baltimore that have implemented successful programs that prioritize the development of City-owned vacant land for community benefit.
Free Lots Angeles is a coalition of six Los-Angeles-based organizations, with expertise in policy, planning, design, community outreach, arts and cultural production, and education. We are working together to help communities better utilize vacant lots in low-income neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. The purpose of the coalition is to promote policy and system changes that improve the process by which communities are able to access and transform vacant lots into productive spaces. Members include KDI, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, T.R.U.S.T. South LA, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) and Community Health Councils.
Free Lots Angeles has three key roles: 1. To serve as a connector between residents and decision-makers regarding the utilization of vacant lots in a community. 2 Lead a community-driven planning process and act as a production team for one-day demonstration projects of vacant lot transformations that reflect the vision of the local community. 3. Enable long-term transformation of vacant lots for community benefit via policy change, guidance to implementers, and support to FLA members’ permanent projects.
Through a community driven planning process, the FLA collaborative organizes pop-up events to demonstrate a community led vision for how vacant and underutilized spaces can be transformed to meet the need for parks and other community spaces in impacted communities. Collaborative partners identify vacant and underutilized lots through meetings with local residents, community organizations, and public officials, and guide a participatory planning process to learn what resources residents want to bring to their community. Since 2014, FLA has successful completed pop-ups in vacant lots across South LA including 41st Place and Central Ave, 86th and Broadway, Augustus Hawkins High School, MLK and Avalon, and Monitor and 114th.