The Living Streets Initiative is Green LA’s effort to apply the principle of “streets safe for all users” to the unparalleled vastness and complexity of Los Angeles. In this ethnically diverse, economically disparate metropolis ruled by the automobile, Green LA takes the concept of complete streets several steps further.
A steady, dramatic shift is occurring in the way Americans think about urban life—and the streets and highways that dominate it. We are moving toward cities that are more “livable” and streets that are more human-centered—and “complete.” Complete Streets are designed and engineered to be safe and convenient for everyone—not just drivers, but bicyclists, transit riders, wheelchair users and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
In just a decade, the idea of complete streets has evolved from a trendy buzzphrase among bicycle activists and progressive planners to an increasingly visible and broad social movement. Transportation planners, street engineers, public health officers and elected officials—with a wide range of activist citizen groups in the vanguard—are talking about how to repurpose our city streets to allow everyone to get around safely and well, even if they’re not traveling by car.
We are concerned not just with creating roadways that fairly and inclusively balance the needs of walkers, bicyclists, transit riders and drivers. Because environmental restoration and economic equity are core values for Green LA, we also are dedicated to revitalizing neglected neighborhoods. Working to transform streets in the City’s urban core into vibrant, inviting and green community spaces is a great place to begin.
As conceived by Green LA, Living Streets are designed to:
- Involve local residents in the street design and planning process, using their priorities and needs to bring improvements to specific streets;
- Enhance a neighborhood’s social and economic vitality without inviting “gentrification” and displacement of longtime residents and businesses;
- Improve residents’ health and quality of life: transform their key streets into enjoyable public spaces that are conducive to walking, biking, and social interaction;
- Be inviting: pleasing places, with appealing street furniture, landscaping and public art that reflect the neighborhood’s cultural uniqueness and diversity;
- Help restore our urban ecosystems by adding trees and green space, and incorporating features that capture rainwater and clean urban runoff.
Who We Are
- Holly Harper is an architect and coordinator for Green LA’s ¡Calles para la Gente! Boyle Heights;
- Ryan Lehman is an urban planner who is passionate about placemaking and the opportunity to transform Los Angeles’s streets into great places for people. He worked on the pilot parklets on York Boulevard and Huntington Drive as a consultant and developed this living streets website;
- Steve Rasmussen Cancian is a community-based landscape designer with Shared Spaces and led the participatory design process for ¡Calles para la Gente! Boyle Heights and the York/Huntington Living Streets projects;
- Stephanie Taylor is Green LA’s Executive Director and oversaw the Living Streets Boyle Heights RENEW initiative (¡Calles para la Gente! Boyle Heights).
About Green LA Coalition
Founded in 2005 by local environmental leaders, Green LA embarked on a singular mission to transform Los Angeles into a national leader in environmental health and equity. Green LA grew into a vibrant network that is building a movement to win campaigns that can transform Los Angeles into a just and sustainable city. Combining grassroots activism with insider knowledge of City Hall, Green LA plays an essential role in greening the city.
Green LA is a project of Community Partners.