The Futures of Death Alley

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THE FUTURES OF DEATH ALLEY.  Poster art and design by Michael Braley.

More than forty academic, community, business, and faith-based groups are coming together this Saturday, July 15, to pando an area of South Central Los Angeles in an ecologically balanced and vibrant direction.  The following press release will bring you up to speed.  Watch our Facebook page for postings from the day. 

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LA’s entrepreneurial and creative A-Team is coming together to take on one of the city’s most wicked challenges and change the game for a stretch of South Central that sits adjacent to infamous “Death Alley.”

Former gang members will be teaming up with community farmers, local stakeholders with designers, and seasoned entrepreneurs with those who have big dreams to take concrete steps for turning a single street address on Florence Avenue into a hub of entrepreneurial initiative, ecological sustainability, and community resiliency.

THE FUTURES OF DEATH ALLEY began as an ambitious fieldwork initiative of Los Angeles Trade Tech College pioneering architecture professor Marcela Oliva and has grown to involve specialists countywide (LATTC hopes to be able to replicate and scale the model once it proves successful). It is facilitated by Matthew Manos, founder of the global design strategy firm verynice based in the LA Arts District. The day brings innovation black belts together with people who are putting it all on the line to make change happen.

THE FUTURES OF DEATH ALLEY is no ordinary innovation workshop. We’re getting people out of their comfort zones and doing whatever’s necessary to shake up the status quo. The day will be centered around imagining this location 5 years into the future – and then prototyping on-the-spot what it takes to get there. Don’t be surprised to see spoken word and hip-hop artists sitting around a picnic table with a philosophy professor prototyping something out of Legos, or teams rolling dice to determine what new project they have to jump-start within a few minutes’ time.

The day is fast-paced, unconventional, hands-on. It takes place on the site of a formerly abandoned lot that, until recently, had nothing on it but dilapidated cars, a rusted ice cream trailer, and an old boat – but is now an open-air meeting and festival space designed for revitalizing the area.

Key participants include one of the southland’s leading architectural firms, SOM (Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill); social impact and business entrepreneurs; hip-hop and spoken word artists; graphic designers and mural and graffiti artists; LA’s pioneering environmental philosopher, and key community organizers. We expect some fifty workshop participants from more than forty key organizations countywide.

THE FUTURES OF DEATH ALLEY is a Pando Populus and verynice collaboration for the Los Angeles Trade Tech College, Architecture and Environmental Design Program and its Living Alleys initiative at Five Points Youth Foundation, in association with ENCOUNTER LA, Wayne Fishback, Jobs Create Peace, Global Business Incubation and AMER-I CAN. Mervis Reissig, producer. Amy Goldberg, publicity.