Photo from Union de Vecinos
Photo from Union de Vecinos

A version of this story was originally published in LA Streetsblog

The streets of Boyle Heights were recently adorned with new public furniture for community residents to enjoy as part of a campaign that promotes safety and green space in urban areas.

As part of the Green L.A. Coalition’s Living Streets Initiative, city and neighborhood groups gathered earlier this month to inaugurate public living rooms, which are pieces of furniture installed in streets for public use, on the corner of Fickett and Boulder Streets.

For the past two years, Green L.A. partnered with Boyle Heights community groups East Los Angeles Community Corporation and Union de Vecinos to develop case studies that included designs to accommodate walking, bicycling and community events, said Stephanie Taylor, Green LA executive director. The initiative was funded by a $240,000 grant from the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department’s RENEW Program.

Where many planning processes involve limited community involvement, the living streets initiative was controlled and developed by Boyle Heights residents, said Union de Vecinos co-director Elizabeth Blaney. As community members decided where to plant trees on the street, and where to best install murals and signs, architect Holly Harper would take residents ideas, conceptualize them, and more than eight times brought back the designs for community feedback.

Residents identified Wabash Avenue, Whittier Boulevard, and Fickett and St. Louis Streets (St. Louis not included in report) as the streets that needed improvement ”“ and improvement that is still needed- because of safety concerns.

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