The more than one hundred pages explore a plethora of topics of interest to anyone who cares about the city: transportation, the LA Times, water, schools (if there is a must read, check out Nicola Twilley's piece on the Center for Land Use Interpretation). While not all articles are specifically about Los Angeles--after all, the magazine is for a national audience--they are still tailored to topics important to the denizens. Take the article about AOL's Patch, for example, which has sprouted up in dozens of local communities. Or farmer's markets, which dot the region every day. Both articles never mention the city, but should resonate.
"It's all about the challenges that cities face in today's world," explained Mark Barker, general manager of GOOD's local initiative. "What better example of a city that is transitioning its infrastructure from old to new than L.A.? So we made L.A. the showcase of the cities issue, while at the same time launching GOOD L.A."
Headed up by one of the city's audacious explorers (and a lover of gelato), Alissa Walker, GOOD L.A. is one part online content and a e-mail newsletter--think of it as one good thing about L.A. each day in your inbox--one part local dialog through new social media channels and one part community gathering.
And bringing people together is what GOOD did last weekend. At the launch of its local initiative, thousands of people headed to Atwater Crossing, an arts and innovation complex in Atwater Village, where one could, in essence, experience the magazine brought to life.
"We are here to celebrate what's pushing L.A. forward," said Baker. A few of the organizations at the event doing just that are profiled below:
Los Angeles Bread Bakers
The Los Angeles Bread Bakers are a new group that made its first public presentation at GOOD's event. "We got together because we felt that we should create a community of bread bakers here in Los Angeles," said co-founder Mark Stambler. "There are many people interested in baking bread, but they really have had no where to go to talk about it and learn more about it. We aim to address this shortcoming."
A core principle of the group is making bread using wild yeast, not commercial. "We feel that really is the true and only way to make decent bread," added Stambler, noting that beyond water, salt and flour or whole grain, all other ingredients are just unnecessary.
The Do Good Bus
"We put people on the bus and tame them to a mystery volunteer location. They have no idea where they're going," explained Rebecca Pontius of the Do Good Bus. "We go there, volunteer in our community, and we put them back on the bus and wine and dine them on the way home. We just try to do good in the community." Some projects have included 826LA, The Burrito Project and Camp Harmony.
The Los Angeles Apps Competition
The people behind the Los Angles Project want to leverage technologies to make people's lives better, specifically in cities. So they are now in the the process of launching the Los Angeles Apps Competition to develop smart phone tools.
"The basic idea is to sort of crowdsource the city's problems to programmers and developers and reward them for coming up with apps that are free and open to the public," said Kyla Fullenwider of the City Innovation Group, the umbrella organization for the project.
Sidenote: The above photo of the group's first meeting at the event shows another aspect of GOOD's philosophy. The projector used for the meeting was found and shared via the locally based NeighborGoods.
The Ecology Center
Representing Orange County was The Ecology Center from San Juan Capistrano. Located in a city-owned farmhouse from 1878 on land that is one of the only organic farms in the county, the non-profit teaches the community about sustainability, the environment and how they can make a difference. A key aspect that of this is teaching by example. "The house itself is a working model of what can be done in everyone's house: solar panels, gray water irrigation, rainwater barrels, lots of stuff," explained Gabrielle Amette, Director of Programs.
At the GOOD event, Amette and others helped attendees make mini planted herb gardens and paper pots out of newspaper.