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EnvironmentParks and Housing Together: A Win for Communities and the Environment

Parks and Housing Together: A Win for Communities and the Environment

Parks and Housing Together: A Win for Communities and the Environment

A latest Pritzker Environmental Policy Transient discusses the advantages of parks and reasonably priced housing joint development

Los Angeles needs more parks and more cost-effective housing. Compared to other major cities across the country, the City of L.A. ranks 78th out of 100 when it comes to park access, acreage, amenities, investments, and equitable distribution. Greater than 1.4 million people within the City of L.A. and nearly five million people in Los Angeles County experience park poverty. The City and County are also struggling to offer stable reasonably priced housing for people and families who’ve lost, or are getting ready to losing, housing and to serve the almost 70,000 people who’re experiencing homelessness. These are complex and systemic problems, and there isn’t any one-size matches all solution or a cure-all. But, making a more livable Los Angeles—one where all Angelenos have access to a healthy environment, high-quality green spaces, and reasonably priced housing—is needed to realize equity and to assist communities adapt to the impacts of climate change and extreme heat.

Joint development of parks and reasonably priced housing is a promising technique to increase each green space and reasonably priced housing in Los Angeles and beyond. This manner of joint development combines public green space and low-income or public housing on a single site, or on different sites in the identical area, to concurrently address park poverty, housing insecurity, and climate change-related urban heat impacts. Project sizes can range from small (e.g., a single parcel of land with a reasonable apartment constructing and a small parklet/pocket park) to very large (e.g., a multi-acre development with a big regional park and a multi-building reasonably priced housing development). While these projects can take many forms, the central components include constructing latest (or preserving existing) reasonably priced housing and creating latest (or rehabilitating existing) open spaces in low-income communities of color without displacing residents.

Japanese Garden in Little Tokyo. Photo by Daniel Melling.

Examples of ongoing and potential joint development projects include:

Wilmington Townhomes development with tot lot. Photo by Abode Communities.

Since 2016, the Los Angeles Regional Open Space and Reasonably priced Housing Collaborative (LA ROSAH) has been working to advance parks and reasonably priced housing projects and educate stakeholders and decision makers concerning the advantages of joint development. LA ROSAH coined the phrase “joint development of parks and reasonably priced housing,” and its members include park, housing, environmental, and social justice nonprofit organizations.

Inspired by LA ROSAH’s work and informed by interviews with greater than a dozen stakeholders representing non-profit, private, and government parks and reasonably priced housing entities, the Emmett Institute’s most up-to-date Pritzker Transient, “Increasing Access to Green Space and Reasonably priced Housing in Los Angeles through Joint Development Projects” provides an summary of the joint development landscape in Los Angeles, specializing in find out how to create efficient and successful partnerships among the many entities that construct and maintain parks and reasonably priced housing developments. The temporary identifies barriers to constructing parks and reasonably priced housing, describes the important thing entities involved in some of these projects, and summarizes each entity’s funding sources, major programs, strengths, and constraints.

The Emmett Institute temporary’s recommendations include:

  • Updating government approval processes and increasing funding for joint development projects by 1) making a long-term source of State funding for programs that support joint development, 2) streamlining and updating funding application processes to prioritize joint development projects, and three) awarding additional points for extra advantages;
  • Creating and acquiring latest sites for joint development projects by 1) developing a “Parks at Reasonably priced Housing” pilot program, 2) strengthening the Surplus Land Act and maximizing using surplus land, 3) making a green space overlay zone, and 4) constructing joint development projects on public school campuses;
  • Improving stakeholder coordination and community engagement by 1) hiring consultants with practical experience and interdepartmental liaisons and a couple of) establishing city and county commissions/task forces on joint development; and
  • Creating sustainable, long-term sources of funding for operations and maintenance by 1) making a latest California Special Interest License Plate for parks and an “Adopt-A-Park” program and a couple of) amending California bond law to permit a small percentage of bond funding for use to operate and maintain capital projects which can be funded by bonds.

Meaningfully increasing access to high-quality green spaces and reasonably priced housing in Los Angeles is a heavy lift. However the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act create latest potential funding sources for joint development. Hopefully, these dollars will help fund community-driven parks and reasonably priced housing projects in L.A. that serve low-income and unhoused Angelenos.




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