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Aug 4, 2015 4:04 PM ET

Archived: Fig Jam: a free event on North Figueroa by creating vibrant connections by drawing on its past, present & future

iCrowdNewswire - Aug 4, 2015

Fig Jam

Fig Jam


the project

Residents are beginning to reclaim streets as public space throughout Los Angeles. From parklets in converted parking spaces to open street events, Angelenos are creating community, commerce, and healthier transit options for moving around the city.

By encouraging discussions, tours and performances that will traverse through the different areas of the street, FIG JAM will show many the possibilities for public space on North Figueroa St., specifically through the themes of Healthly Streets, Civic Engagement, Arts & Culture and Food & Business.

FIG JAM will be planned, presented, and attended by diverse residents and organizations of the communities surrounding Northeast Los Angeles. These stakeholders will have a chance to be active contributors to the event by taking part in workgroups tied to FIG JAM’s four themes. By creating greater appreciation for North Figueroa St., FIG JAM will generate concrete ideas for improvements to advance healthy and safe mobility, prosperity, social connections, history and culture. FIG JAM will build support for and identify sites for ‘people street’ and ‘green streets’ style infrastructure; generating replicable ideas for supporting and promoting local businesses, community connections; and new cultural activities.

the steps

Implementation of Fig Jam will involve inviting additional participants for the final planning stage; meeting as workgroups to finalize programming plans for the four tracks of the event; arranging logistics; conducting outreach in the community; setting up for and holding the event; capturing data throughout; and gathering and sharing participants ideas for the future of Figueroa street so that the event can catalyze longer term change.


During August 2015, the project team will reach out to key stakeholders to invite them to participate in upcoming working group meetings. We will hold workgroup meetings to settle on the details of each track’s plans for Fig Jam. The four committees will also meet with the event Design & Implementation team to inform the tandem development of  environmental design, digital content, and metrics.


We will begin work on logistics and content during August and September. This will include securing venues; creating a schedule for the day’s activities; prototyping the sidewalk displays; recruiting and arranging performers, participating local businesses, volunteers, facilitators and speakers; designing the route and contents of a walking tour; and gathering historical photos and information. The Digital Content team will identify opportunities that harness existing uses of technology, and develop community-appropriate multi-lingual applications which ensure all demographics can engage with the content.


Starting in September, the project team will conduct outreach through the local press, online networks, posters and flyering local businesses and presentations at community meetings to promote the event.  Our anticipated event date overlaps with a popular local art walk and a local film festival so we plan to cross-promote with those events.


In early October we will continue promotion and arrange and organize our materials and organizational structure (materials, map, contact list for participants etc) so as to make the set-up and implementation of Fig Jam as smooth as possible.


Following the event, the project team will reconvene to consider the input on the future of the street received during Fig Jam. We will write up these ideas and plans and consider what venues, strategies, partnerships and funding opportunities will allow us and the broader community to help improve North Figueroa Street for the long term.


Implementation of FIG JAM will have the following primary objectives:

  1. Low Fab Construction that can be easily installed by volunteers

  2. Highlighting existing and new Public Space

  3. Community-Driven Design Process

  4. Embedded Equity throughout by creating direct economic impact through the highlighting of local businesses

  5. Public Health Engagement by creating a design and programming which encourages fitness and movement through the street.

  6. Identity by establishing a clear presence and source of pride for North Figueroa.

Over the twelve weeks from grant announcement to the event, our committees will work independently and in tandem through various planning and engagement strategies:

  1. Committee Lead Meeting

  2. Committee Outreach & Working Group Meetings

  3. Committee coordination with Design & Implementation, Digital Content, and Measurements Groups: The four committees will meet with the event Design & Implementation team to inform the tandem development of the environmental design, digital content, and metrics.

  4. The Digital Content team will identify opportunities that harness existing uses of technology, and develop community-appropriate multi-lingual applications which ensure all demographics can engage with the content.


Through this process, FIG JAM aims to craft compelling visitor experiences that transform North Figueroa through an open, accessible community space responsive to its community’s expertise and aspirations.

why we’re doing it

FIG JAM hopes to jump start long term street improvements by leveraging the communities’ shifting perception of North Figueroa street. While North Figueroa has ‘good bones’ as a pre-WW2 business district with many older buildings, a mix of small businesses, and stakeholders committed to the future of the street and the neighborhood, it faces challenges to live up to its potential as a safe, inclusive, creative and prosperous hub. North Figueroa is the most dangerous street in Northeast Los Angeles for vehicles crashes and injuries and deaths to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and passengers. The ten block Great Streets portion of Figueroa is somewhat traffic-calmed by the presence of more dense buildings and activities, but it still needs safety enhancements and should be seen as the seed for improving complete streets infrastructure up and down North Figueroa.


Through temporary surface treatment to the sidewalks and building facades, FIG JAM intends to inform permanent improvements that the City and community can pursue together. From just the first six FIG JAM community meetings, new partnerships and friendships have already been forged; through the continued planning and then actual event, the team anticipates building an even stronger lobby and bond amongst NELA residents encouraging a more equitable urban renewal process paired with permanent infrastructure improvements.

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