Artists, Policy, and Affordable Housing: How to house 7,000 people and how to fund it
Theater artists & activists John Malpede and Henriëtte Brouwers and designer Rosten Woo are creating a project that aims to achieve “Skid Row Now & 2040,” a community-generated alternative development plan designed for and by the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The project seeks to challenge a "proposed upscale development and resist displacement by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning (DCP)’s DTLA 2040 community plan," explains an article in A Blade of Grass Magazine.
“Skid Row Now & 2040 wants generations of families and Skid Row residents to lead full, vibrant lives in Downtown LA. [ . . . ] No displacements of extremely-low-income residents should occur; policies that promote the Human Right to Housing should be enacted. The DTLA 2040 update shouldn’t include any policies or zoning changes that harm low-income communities of color. This includes policies that lead to criminalization,” reads Skid Row Now & 2040's guiding principles of their proposal.
The article explains that,
A Blade of Grass fellows Malpede, Brouwers, and Woo will integrate an exhibition, public conversation, and research into financing mechanisms with the support of researcher Anna Kobara from the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. They will engage the DCP and neighborhood residents about “Skid Row Now & 2040” to collectively enact a city plan that houses and protects all of Skid Row’s low-income and homeless residents.
In a conversation between Jeremy Liu of Policy Link, Malpede, Brouwers, and Woo address "how their project challenges assumptions and ways of working within the community planning and affordable housing sectors."
Jeremy Liu: One of the [findings] from working with seven organizations over the last couple years was that we really need to equip arts and culture organizations with a policy strategy person in residence. And you all figured out this prototype for what that could look like in this collaboration! That’s definitely something I plan to lift up in my sector. How has Anna being part of your work changed the way you all think and do your own work?
Rosten Woo: I usually spend a huge chunk of the project just trying to get my head around the policy, so it feels like we have a great head start! And I don’t feel burdened with always knowing everything about this stuff. Just having someone with real expertise to bounce things off of is super great.
Image: Via A Blade of Grass Magazine / Map of Downtown Los Angeles depicting the fifty square blocks that make up Skid Row.