Vermont and Manchester

KDI is working with project partners Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, and LURN to engage nearby residents about future development on vacant lot in South LA which has been empty for more than 25 years. Based on resident feedback, KDI and its partners are creating four activations that transform the lot into an inviting public space that addresses local priorities.


Existing site
In 2017, LA County seized a 2-block parcel at the corner of Vermont and Manchester in South LA that had been vacant for more than 25 years. Recently, the County selected a development team that will build affordable housing, shops, and a school on the parcel. KDI is working with the County and development team to engage local stakeholders on the future development, and temporarily activate the site to demonstrate its potential as a community resource and open space


The County Supervisor’s Office brought on KDI to develop community engagement strategies that departed from the County’s traditional Town Hall formats. KDI and its partners have talked to local residents and other stakeholders over five months through surveys, stakeholder interviews, games, and other participatory activities. Many residents said they wanted to see more opportunities in the area for active recreation, healthy food, and entreprenurship.


Our fabrication designers and design build interns temporarily transformed the vacant lot into a public space with modular site furnishings, shade sails, and climbing trees that will be reused for three future lot activations. The team’s design helped define outdoor rooms for gathering, active play, and conversations with the development team. Partnering with the American Health Association, Girls Club of LA, and Community Services Unlimited, KDI organized a healthy food demonstration, a temporary cafe, and arts activities for kids.