KDI is a member of Watts Re:Imagined, a community-based initiative led by Grant Housing & Economic Development Corp (Grant EDC) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Urban Solutions program. The project focuses on sustainable development principles to promote economic opportunity, social equity, public health, environmental stewardship, and quality of life in Watts.
Residents of Watts are feeling the effects of a century of unrest and disenfranchisement, with a median income of only $25,000.
Watts Re:Imagined was created to build on existing activism and promote prosperity, equity and wellbeing through sustainable developments with the support of local government and the community.
Since 2015 KDI has worked alongside community members to build momentum for sustainable, equitable development through activations and events.
These include a vacant lot activation at 103rd and Central Ave, a block party to commemorate the 1965 Watts Riots, and a play activation outside the Watts Library under Grant EDC’s Kaboom Let’s Play Everywhere Grant.
The activations have ranged in nature, size, and temporality, but often include built elements and engaging activities to immediately provide amenities - such as outdoor space - that residents may have difficulty accessing.
The Watts Library activation, for example, included mobile street furnishings, umbrellas, and games to encourage residents of all ages to play outside.
The Watts Re:Imagined project has stimulated cultural exchange and community activism, enabled residents to reimagine their neighborhood, and built support for sustainable, equitable developments.
This helped attract the $35 million state grant that was awarded in January 2018 for affordable housing and environmental initiatives in Watts.