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Logan Heights Neighborhood Builds a Neighborhood Park
"They were tired of waiting on the city.

Logan Heights residents decided there was an easier way to get what they wanted — a community park — than by working within established city process.

They’ve got money, land and plans for a park designed by kids in the neighborhood. It’s on Imperial Avenue, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, won’t cost much and is getting done quickly, all with minimal city help.

The Gilliam Family Community Garden & Park will have a playhouse, small amphitheater for movie nights and tables to eat pupusas and tacos from nearby restaurants.

Organizers are aiming to finish in September, after 500 volunteers pitch in for six building days. That would mean the whole thing — concept, fundraising, planning, permitting and construction — could be done in just over a year.

“This is about community members getting shit done,” said Monique Lopez, a volunteer and community activist."

"Last spring, BAME CDC, a community-focused nonprofit in Logan Heights, held a “take back the alley” event, part of a series the group does to help beautify the area.

This one was for the alley that separates homes on Imperial Avenue from a row of heavy-duty industrial businesses — things like auto-wrecking and metal-scrapping — on Commercial Avenue.

The group and a team of volunteers were clearing trash and abandoned large items, and painting murals down the length of the alley.

While putting it together, Avital Aboody, the group’s project coordinator, noticed a vacant lot on Imperial, and thought it’d be a useful staging and storage area. She reached out to the property owner, who said they could use it."

"Everything they’re building at the park is set to be temporary. That keeps down costs, requires less onerous city permitting and gives Gilliam flexibility to develop the property permanently, though Gilliam says he doesn’t have any plans."

"Aboody and her boss had initially been involved in the city’s attempts to rewrite development regulations in the neighborhood.

They found it frustrating and unproductive. The city sent out emails about meetings, but there wasn’t any visual sense in the community that things were happening.

“Even for me, it’s my job to do these things in the community, and I’d miss notifications,” she said. “It’s just not like any other community event, where I’d see flyers all over the place.”

Worse, the whole thing was dominated by a few property owners, she said. And the conversation required too much understanding of process and jargon to be meaningful to any newcomer. The city brought Spanish-English translators, but it didn’t help.

“The whole thing was planner speak,” Aboody said.

For the group and the residents they normally work with, there had to be a better way.

“My approach has been bottom-up, instead of top-down,” she said. “It takes too long, it’s too complicated and people want results now, so what we do is get together and actually do projects.”

“At the end of the day, that’s just a plan,” Lopez said. “People are constantly being asked to give their input about parks or not having sidewalks. They’re tired of talking about it. They want to see something.”

This is right out of the so-called “tactical urbanism” playbook, which calls for improving neighborhoods by finding ways to make immediate, incremental improvements."

"On the last Friday in March, families laid out blankets in the vacant lot, ate tacos and waited for the sun to set so they could watch “The Princess Bride” on a temporary projection screen. Other kids and neighbors happened by and stepped in to see what was going on.

BAME holds movie nights at the lot on the last Friday of every month, asking for $1 per person. It raises a little bit of money, but really it’s for two things: getting the neighborhood used to the space as theirs, and recruiting volunteers for the 500-strong army it’ll need to build the thing in a week come fall.

“Once momentum builds, and the neighborhood realizes what it has, the whole thing will take off and entire families will participate,” said Robert Leathers, the project’s professional architect, with Space 4 Art.

Leathers was brought in to turn ideas from neighborhood kids, gathered in a design workshop last month, into the real thing.

He’s done this hundreds of times in 10 countries and all 50 states, he said, most without any issues.

Underserved neighborhoods like Logan Heights have the greatest need for all-ages outdoor space.

“Let’s face it: One-third of people here don’t have a car, so it’s harder for them to get to regional outdoor spaces like the beach or Balboa Park,” he said.

The playground-treehouse will appeal to little kids and big kids, he said. The garden is meant as an educational tool for families to start their own gardens. And the amphitheater works for anyone.

While they’re collecting enough volunteers to make it happen, organizers are getting their permits in a row.

Though the project was explicitly conceived as a way to bypass city process, the group will end up getting a hand from the city in a couple different ways.

It’ll need special permission from Development Services to use a lot for a park and garden, since it’s zoned for a home. One of the city’s planners for the area is helping with the process.

Councilman David Alvarez’s office also chipped in $5,000 from community projects grants each district can hand out."
sandiego  loganheights  2015  parks  community  lcproject  openstudioproject  outdoors  robertleathers  tacticalurbanism  urbanism  urban 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Welcome to CicloSDias San Diego, California
""Ciclo­vía," which translates to English as "bike path" was coined in Bogota, Columbia, a city that began experimenting with its model Ciclovia initiative in 1974 as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. CicloSDias San Diego is modeled after similar car-free events held in cities around the world, including New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. As of 2012, some 80 Open Streets initiatives are held regularly in North America. CicloSDias is all about connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. CicloSDias San Diego will bring families outside of their homes to enjoy car free streets. The message is clear – we all want a clean, healthy and vibrant San Diego.

CicloSDias welcomes everyone in San Diego to walk, ride, stroll and enjoy our streets. Approximately 5.2 miles of city streets will be opened to families, pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, skateboarders, and anyone else interested in using this public space in a new way.

The event will include a “Hub” in 4 different neighborhoods in San Diego – City Heights, Logan Heights, North Park, and South Park. These Hubs will feature CicloSDias merchandise, showcase event sponsors, and host a bicycle repair booth. Event participants are encouraged to check-in at each Hub and receive a free entry into our Bike raffle.

San Diegans will experience a free ‘open street’ event with activities along the route. Shops and restaurants will be open for business and neighbors and friends from all over will make our streets come alive."
sandiego  bikes  biking  community  ciclovia  ciclosdias  cityheights  loganheights  southpark  northpark 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Bread & Salt: Artists enclave Page 1 of 3 |
"Having a community arts hub is a really beneficial thing for a community to have," Brown said. "Communities need implementation strategies where they can make naturally affordable housing. That's partly what we're going to do here."

For Logan Heights, the area east of Interstate 5, Bread & Salt could be the start of arts-oriented activities that complement similar developments in Barrio Logan, west of the freeway.

"If we can knit communities back together, through arts," he said, "that's great!"

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jimbrown  publicarchitecture  art  sandiego  loganheights  friends 
february 2013 by robertogreco
ICE Gallery
"ICE Gallery is an artist run experimental exhibition space located in the North Park area [no more] of San Diego, California.

ICE Gallery was formerly the residence of a dry ice manufacturer, and then for many years later an affordable bare bones studio/gallery space for many local artists. It is in the spirit of the buildings former residents that we carry on the “ICE Gallery” title. However, ICE is not a traditional for profit gallery. It exists for the sole purpose of being a solo exhibition space for the 4 artists involved; Thomas DeMello, Lee Lavy, Michael James Armstrong, and Joseph Huppert.

The ICE space provides a unique experience for us to experiment with and refine our respective artistic aspirations with complete freedom. No rigid exhibition schedules, no pressure to create saleable objects, no set hours, no wine, no cheese, etc. Our only consistent hindrance is finding a way to fund each exhibition out of pocket, but we all chip in monetarily and physically to help each others exhibitions become a reality. Having the full support of everyone involved allows for each of us to create projects that would otherwise, as an individual artist, be nearly unattainable."
galleries  art  sandiego  thomasdemello  leelavy  michaeljamesarmstrong  josephhuppert  northpark  loganheights 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Mobile Stories — Citizen Journalists in Action
"MACSD will be partnering with San Diego Public Library to launch MobileStories, an afterschool program that will use the popularity of mobile phone technology to connect local youth (ages 9-14 years old) with the extensive resources available at their local library in a format that is both current & easily accessible. The library recognizes the ubiquity of cell phone technology; the need for under-represented teens to express their voices regarding news & events in their neighborhoods; & MobileStories potential to connect youth & their interests & needs w/ information & resources of the library.

“The stories we tell in our local communities are part of the larger stories happening around the world. By partnering w/ the local library using the same tools to tell these stories, we are not only highlighting the importance of these stories, but showing the importance of libraries as active parts in the creation & interpretation of these shared histories for the public.”
macsd  journalism  storytelling  sandiego  mobile  phones  education  teens  youth  afterschool  classideas  tcsnmy  edg  srg  loganheights  lindavista  centrallibrary  libraries  video  via:morgansully  neighborhoods 
july 2011 by robertogreco
La Entrada Project
"La Entrada is a collaborative art project of public art in personal spaces. Infused as murals and art workshops throughout the new landscape rising in San Diego California. The project actively cultivates culture in the community and is a reflection of social change. The core mural pieces are embedded on the new architectural development of affordable income housing in Logan Heights. La Entrada's design have a meaningful approach that speaks with the people's language; the imagery becomes cultural tools of social engagement and in its stories of experiences move and circulate as positive information which become vehicles for connections within the community."

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sandiego  art  murals  glvo  loganheights  change  social  culture  activism  community 
february 2009 by robertogreco

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