Can a Neighborhood Dumping Ground Become a Community Space?

A veiw of the vacant lot through the front fence

Youth Voices is working with students from the Los Angeles River School to re-imagine the L.A. River and the surrounding communities as part of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative. The student teams are exploring and investigating their communities by mapping assets, conducting outreach and collecting stories through interviews with local residents and experts. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work here, on Twitter @Jams_LARIVER and on Instagram at #kcetyv.

JAMS Team Members
Ana Ochoa
Julio Ortiz
Michael Gonzalez
Stephanie Correa

What is something you want to improve in your neighborhood?
We want to improve the empty lot at 3324 Chapman St, add more street lights, and get rid of tagging. When there's an empty lot full of trash and tagging it makes the neighborhood look bad

Where would you go in your neighborhood to investigate and document this issue?
We would go on the internet to research things about the lot and we would also meet with the owner of the lot. We are going to try to convince the owner to do something with it because it just looks bad. We've tried to contact him but he has not returned our calls. We will also use petitions to get community support.

Who is affected by this issue in your neighborhood, and how would things change for them once you've improved the situation?
It affects the people in the neighborhood because nobody goes there -- it's a mess and it's just sad to see people live next to such an unsightly place. At the same time some local people are contributing to the bad situation because they are dumping their trash in the lot. We think once it's improved people will like going there to enjoy the space.

What is your vision for improvement in your neighborhood and why is it important to take action?
We want to clean up the place and possibly make it a dog park because many people have dogs in the neighborhood. But our main idea is to have it cleaned up. It's important to take action because we want to make the community a better place.

The vacant lot is covered with trash.
Strange, large trash items surround the lot

Update: After the team attempted to contact the owner, leaving messages at his office, two individuals came to the lot and picked up some of the litter. The large items still remain.

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