Action Agenda for a Sustainable Watts

The Action Agenda for a Sustainable Watts articulates a unified and sustainable vision for the Watts community and the steps needed to implement this vision. In order to generate the Action Agenda, the team reviewed a large body of quality existing neighborhood plans and policy documents that cover specific issues such as green infrastructure and transportation. These existing plans were analyzed as part of a plan alignment process that sought to consolidate these plans into a cohesive vision and foundation for the future of Watts. This process included the following steps:

1. Review community and city plans
2. Analyze each plan against the sustainability metrics in LEED-ND and additional equity and resiliency indicators
3. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and gaps of each plan
4. Identify action items for implementation, research needs, and areas to explore for the neighborhood of Watts

The team used the sustainability metrics in the Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Rating system as a checklist for quantifying sustainability at the community scale. We used the metrics in this system as a tool for aligning the plans in Watts with sustainable best practices. For the Watts plan alignment, we added additional metrics to create a unique tool that places greater emphases on equity and environmental resilience. The equity indicators for this tool were adapted from a report by the NAACP. The results of this plan alignment analysis along with the list of plans and policy documents that were reviewed can be found on the plan alignment matrix here.

As a result of our work on the plan alignment, the Action Agenda identified the following recommendations:
• Replace and improve lighting and pedestrian crossings between Metro Blue Line Station and MLK Shopping Center.
• Connect Watts’ residents to increased economic opportunity through technology sector training, specifically coding, at the Park Gateway site.
• Grant Housing will build affordable housing above mixed-use commercial space at the Park Gateway site and maintain them as income restricted in perpetuity.
• Implement green infrastructure projects and create a rainwater and wastewater management strategy for Watts that guides future development.
• Conduct energy retrofits for existing housing stock using LADWP or So Cal Gas incentive programs.
• Create a formal channel for community engagement that will ensure accountability and transparency throughout local land use and other development decision-making processes.
• Conduct an analysis of transportation/mobility needs of Watts and explore a customized mobility hub near the 103rd station.
• Conduct a comprehensive job market and workforce development analysis for Watts.
• Create a working group and plan to explore the potential impacts, uses, and needs of AB32 cap and trade funding.
• Watts Re:Imagined Steering Committee will advocate for Watts to receive their fair share in the distribution of LA citywide funds.

Based on these actions, the community of Watts can accomplish an ambitious set of interconnected measures including strengthening pedestrian and bike safety, improving the economic utility and resident experience of city streets through green infrastructure and improved public spaces, enhancing economic development through development of priority sites and coordinating job and workforce development resources, and improving public health through better access to healthy foods and the elimination of toxic sources. Through the sustained, cooperative efforts of residents and stakeholders, Watts has the potential to show city officials and advocates how the Sustainability pLAn can be brought to life in a low-income community. Implementing the initiatives proposed in this action agenda can serve as examples for the city to replicate. Through our plan alignment process we are convinced of the potential and influence Watts has to model and pilot policies on the ground that the Sustainability pLAn advocates.

We intend that the community can use the recommendations laid out in the Action Agenda to advocate for an even more equitable and sustainable Watts at the city, county, state, and federal level and within the nonprofit and philanthropic communities.

Click here to read more in the full Action Agenda report.

Or check out the raw data of our plan alignment analysis here.