Two technical assistance panels (TAPs) conducted by district councils in fiscal year 2019 offer a snapshot of members willingly giving back to their own communities by offering solutions to local urban development issues that could be adapted for use in other markets.
In November 2018, the Los Angeles Local Development Corporation and the Lincoln Heights Leadership Group sought advice from ULI Los Angeles on how to revitalize the North Broadway corridor in the city’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood without compromising the corridor’s small town “feel”—a unique characteristic it has maintained despite its proximity to downtown Los Angeles and other rapidly evolving areas. The corridor is a cherished part of the multigenerational, close-knit Lincoln Heights community.
The TAP convened by ULI Los Angeles was tasked with proposing redevelopment solutions focused on improving health and wellness as well as economic opportunities along the corridor that would benefit existing residents and businesses. The TAP was asked to consider a variety of factors, including future retail possibilities; ways to engage the community in plans for future opportunities; reuse of some parking facilities; improvements to walkability; connections to nearby park space; available funding sources for branding and public realm improvements; and leveraging the corridor’s proximity to anchor institutions.
Following an evaluation of the area and meetings with community stakeholders, business leaders and public officials, the TAP developed recommendations designed to shape the future of Lincoln Heights on terms defined by the community. The recommendations included the following:
– Land use and zoning changes to incentivize the production of workforce and middle-income housing to keep the neighborhood affordable for future generations;
– Urban design improvements to enhance North Broadway’s existing strengths as a thriving pedestrian and commercial corridor;
– Improvements to first- and last-mile connections to employment centers and the nearby light-rail station;
– An approach to branding and community engagement campaigns that will attract and retain local investors and earn the buy-in of residents and business owners; and
– A strategic and incremental approach to achieving the desired vision for the community.
“In this corridor, the planning that took place decades ago locked in a specific approach based on zoning and other factors. ULI brought the credibility to say, ‘That was a great planning effort for its time, but now, that should be revisited,’” said ULI Los Angeles leader and panelist Andrew Fogg, partner at Cox, Castle, and Nicholson LLP in Los Angeles. “Given ULI’s status as an honest broker, we were able to come in with no agenda other than to help the community realize its potential in a responsible, ethical, and thoughtful manner.”
The TAP was sponsored by Los Angeles LDC, Inc., led by ULI Trustee Michael Banner. Subsequent to the TAP, ULI Los Angeles became the first district council to leverage a TAP as the basis for a unique iteration of the UrbanPlan, ULI’s urban development curriculum for students and public officials. During the summer of 2019, ULI Los Angeles brought the program to a high school in the TAP assignment area, giving students an opportunity to apply the TAP market analysis to their own redevelopment plan, with TAP participants serving as respondents.