Creating a City for All

Three years ago, SEACA embarked upon the impossible campaign. A campaign where we had no prior knowledge, relationships, or experience. But we did it because our group of teenagers insisted that we had to. And today we won! 

Today, the Los Angeles City Council voted to pass the Cornfields Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (CASP).CASP is a blueprint for what Chinatown and Lincoln Heights will look like in the next 25 years. It will set standards and determine the types of buildings and public spaces will be constructed, but more importantly it is now a blueprint for the what sort of community we want.The original vision of CASP was to serve as a model for moving LA away from 1950s style suburban sprawl to a City Planning model that is more sustainable, public transit focused, and with some of the strongest environmental protections in the City (it’s also the nation’s first LEED certified Neighborhood Plan).And thanks to the work of SEACA and our attorneys at Public Counsel, CASP is now ALSO:

  • The FIRST plan in the City that pro-actively deals with the issue of gentrification and the displacement of low-income communities by creating incentives for developers to provide affordable housing in market-rate developments;
  • The FIRST policy in the City that specifically addresses the needs of extremely low-income families;
  • Removes all parking minimums and maximums;
  • AND is a plan that has garnered the support of for-profit developers, affordable housing advocates, organized labor, environmentalists, and of course, our group of youth from Chinatown, Lincoln Heights, and Solano Canyon.
Today, the Los Angeles City Council voted to build a stronger, more equitable local community.And all of this happened because a group of high school students convinced me, in spite of my concerns about our lack of expertise in the issue, that their communities deserved better and then made a commitment to me and the community at large to learn about City planning and City politics in order to create a REAL vision for community change.
Special thanks to Councilmember Ed Reyes and his staff as well as Claire Bowin from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning for having the vision to create this plan and to Public Counsel for being our campaign partner.
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