A Collective Vision for the Northeast L.A. Riverfront District

The NELA River Collaborative project builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the Los Angeles River into a "riverfront district" and to create a focal point of community revitalization. For more information visit

The Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative is comprised of a diverse group of partners from nonprofits and educational institutes, to private and public agencies from the city, county and federal government. However, the inner workings of this complex collaborative can easily be misunderstood as roles overlap and approaches conflict. With agencies and organizations that are at times so different from one another, it's a wonder how these partners have been matched.

New methods for urban planning are taking form through collaboration in community workshops, evaluations of land use and workforce, placemaking, and business surveys, to name a few. Partners are utilizing each others' strengths and supporting each other through shared resources. Community engagement has been embraced as key to the process, providing otherwise unattainable data about the communities within the study.

Below, each of the partners share what they bring to the table, objectives for study, and the insights gathered through the collaborative process:

George Villanueva, USC Metamorphosis

Gerardo Ruvalcaba, City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department

John Yonai, Tierra West Advisors

Christine Saponara, City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning

Juan Devis, KCETLink

Omar Brownson, Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation

Bruce Saito, Los Angeles Conservation Corps

Christine Cooper, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation

Sharon Cech, Occidental College Urban Environmental Policy Institute

Anne Dove, United States National Park Service


Dave's Accordion School: Nurturing Melodies in Atwater Village


George Villanueva, USC Metamorphosis

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