Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Los Angeles

What a Difference a Bench Makes

5th_St._Before.jpgGood magazine reports on how, with remarkable simplicity, this menacing, marginal streetscape in downtown LA was turned into a welcoming public space (click here for the after photo):

Rather than fence off the trash-strewn lot beside its building -- a stomping ground for drug-users and prostitutes -- one downtown Los Angeles community center added, instead, a few benches and flowers. Soon, neighbors began to hang out there, and the less desirable denizens vanished.

By beautifying the lot, the center transformed its use, and herein lies the vision of the Community Living Room project, run by the Los Angeles-based nonprofit group Verde Coalition: turn grim scraps of public land -- like bus stops, traffic medians, or dangerous street corners -- into welcoming public spaces.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Take Me to the River

Politico reports that the Biden administration is investing $2.5 billion in updating aging Mississippi River locks and dams like this one in Iowa. Transporting freight by barge produces less emissions than trucks or even rail.

July 12, 2024

Friday Video: Take a Spin on Boston’s Electric Cargo Bike Share

Can't afford a $7,000 Urban Arrow cargo e-bike ? In Boston, you can now rent one for just a few bucks.

July 12, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Electrify the Rails

Adrianna Rizzo of Californians for Electric Rail on California's looming lobbyist-fueled hydrogen train mistake: "We’re locking in low service for potentially decades."

July 11, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines Drive Less

Seems obvious that the more people drive, the more likely they are to die in a crash or kill someone else, but traditional thinking on traffic safety doesn't always follow that logic, according to Planetizen.

July 11, 2024
See all posts