Pumpkin decorating at an activation

Vermont + Manchester

Egg hunt at a lot activation

Installing site furnishings for an activation

The site activations are an opportunity to share information and gather input from the community on the upcoming redevelopment of the lot

Pumpkin decorating at an activation

Vermont + Manchester

Vermont and Manchester

Over the course of a year, KDI worked with Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, and Inclusive Action for the City to engage local residents about the future development of South LA lot that had been vacant for over 25 years. Based on resident feedback, we created five activations that transformed the lot into an inviting public space that addressed local priorities.

Context

Existing site conditions

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.

In 2018 the County selected a development team that will build affordable housing, shops, and a school on the parcel. KDI was engaged to help the County and development team gather input from local stakeholders on the future development, and demonstrate the lot's potential as a community resource.

Process

Stakeholder workshop

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 engaged local residents and other stakeholders 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 entrepreneurship.

Solution

The site is activated with playful furnishings to show what it could look like as a stimulating, productive public space

Our fabrication designers built and installed a set of 20 curving benches and six “climbing trees” to encourage people to gather, play, and meet members of 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. We then donated all built objects to the County Supervisor’s Office and local organizations for future community uses.

Impact

Community members enjoying a site activation

Through activations and street engagements, more than 300 people have participated in reclaiming and reimagining the Vermont Manchester lot as a world-class civic facility and point of pride for the surrounding community.

In the summer of 2019, KDI turned over the activations to the County and development team. The community’s stories and vision form the foundation of the coming development, as the Supervisor’s office, in coordination with the developers, continues its substantive public engagement efforts.

For more information, read about the engagement process in our Community Engagement Handbook, which chronicles the entire process KDI crafted at Vermont Manchester.