City Organizer: Steve Gerhardt
Walk Leader: Steve Gerhardt
Text: Alexander Jung
Photos: City Fabrick
Over the past year, the City of Long Beach and City Fabrick, a local nonprofit urban design studio, have been working with community members to identify new opportunities for open space in North Long Beach. This effort was in response to recent a Los Angeles County of Parks and Recreation needs assessment report that found North Long Beach as having a disproportionately high need for park space as compared to the rest of the county.
One of the major challenges for creating new parks in North Long Beach is that the neighborhood is fairly dense and mostly built-out, resulting in a limited supply of land that can be converted into publicly accessible parks.
Inspired by other progressive cities, the project team considered the shared and adaptive reuse of unconventional types of land uses, including vacant lots, industrial brownfields, school properties, street right-of-ways, railways, electricity transmission corridors, and freeways. Once these opportunity areas were identified, the project team relied on the expert knowledge of community members to uncover where other opportunities might exist. Over a series of several community workshops in several neighborhoods throughout North Long Beach, over 2,000 residents and stakeholders expressed their open space preferences.
In May of 2016, City Fabrick prototyped one of the most popular community projects in the form of a color run. This involved hosting a public event called the Color Walk Block in a freeway underpass and designating areas where participants could learn more about the community design process along a temporary half-mile jogging path alongside the freeway. Local pedestrian advocacy nonprofit Walk Long Beach saw this as an opportunity to host a Jane’s Walk and lead a walking tour of the neighborhood and the potential open space. Hundreds of people of various ages and ethnicities participated at the event and discovered much about the neighborhood. Overall the event was a colorful success and future plans to increase access to open space are being developed as part of the Uptown Open Space Plan.