Creating a City for All
Three years ago, the Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA) embarked on a seemingly impossible campaign to preserve affordable housing and open space in Los Angeles' Chinatown and Lincoln Heights neighborhoods. These areas are ripe for gentrification - with proximity to downtown's Union Station and 3 Goldline Stations - where the area median household income is less than $25,000 per year, and 40% of residents are transit-reliant. An unlikely team of teenage students, community organizers, and Public Counsel attorneys successfully advocated to include language in the Cornfields Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (CASP) that would incentivize affordable housing and open space in order to create a cleaner and greener neighborhood, with housing opportunities for everyone. CASP, the first LEED-certified neighborhood plan in the country, is not only a blueprint for the City of Los Angeles, but serves as a nationwide model for sustainable, equitable, transit-oriented planning incorporating community voices and planning for the needs of all economic segments of a community. On June 28, 2013, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to pass CASP.