Last weekend, the Council District 12 office, Northridge Sparkle, California State University Northridge (CSUN) Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the City of LA Great Streets Task Force, Northridge South Neighborhood Council, Northridge Vision Committee, LA Mas, Northridge Chamber of Commerce, and the Museum of the San Fernando Valley were honored to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) Awards Committee during the AEP State Conference.
Designated LA’s First Great Street by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Reseda Blvd transformed from an aging business corridor and de facto highway to a “Complete Street” with pedestrian and cycling amenities including LA’s first parking-protected bike lane.
First, Northridge Sparkle mobilized the community to clean up the area. CSUN’s urban planning students prepared a University District Master Plan, a community-based Urban Design Plan for Reseda Boulevard, and a Gateway Plan for Northridge Village. Councilmember Englander’s office, alongside three Neighborhood Councils, the Mullholland Institute, and the American Institute of Architects developed the Northridge Vision Plan. The Vision Plan utilized ideas from CSUN’s Urban Planning students, along with the results of extensive community surveying and was adopted by the LA City Council.
Councilmember Englander’s office further obtained funding to retain local community design and outreach firm, LA Mas to help the community refine their vision for the street. Through outreach and design charrettes, the community chose a “Mid Century Modern Living Room” theme, including custom movable street furniture, under-awning art, and flagstone paver-inspired sidewalk patterning.
After debuting the new street amenities, the Museum of the San Fernando Valley and the Northridge Chamber of Commerce joined the team to form the [RE]visit [RE]seda Blvd partnership which won the ioby Challenge Grant to “bring the arts to the Great Street.” The partnership has produced three events so far and continues to program the outdoor living room.
The AEP Awards jury applauded our outstanding project for giving “real world” experience to university planning students using a unique approach of incorporating their work into real world community design. It created a synergy of grass roots tactical urbanism, university community engagement and urban design, community and city policy making to drive urban renewal and economic vitality. The student designs were incorporated into a major Vision Plan for the San Fernando Valley and adopted by the Los Angeles City Council. More community partners piled on to fund community events in the new public outdoor living room. This is an outstanding example of town and gown planning, public outreach, community involvement and partnerships among all stakeholders, an excellent demonstration of what successful collaboration can accomplish.