Pumpkin decorating at an activation

Vermont + Manchester

Diagram of the upcoming development

Installing site furnishings for an activation

The site activations are an opportunity to share information and gather input from the community

Pumpkin decorating at an activation

Vermont + Manchester

Vermont and Manchester

KDI is working with Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, and LURN to engage nearby residents about the future development of a 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 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.

Recently, the County selected a development team that will build affordable housing, shops, and a school on the parcel. KDI is now 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.


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 have 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.


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.


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.

Another three activations are planned for 2019, after which KDI will donate all built objects to the County Supervisor’s Office and local organizations for future community uses.