One of the first projects I was tasked with as Hollywood Deputy for then-Councilmember Eric Garcetti was turning a nuisance alleyway into the City’s first pedestrian alley. A team comprised of Business Improvement District staff, city officials, and local businesses got together to turn a rat-infested corridor into a place people could dine al-fresco, dubbing it EaCa Alley (because of its location East of Cahuenga Boulevard.)
While the physical transformation of the alley was dramatic, the real change happened when the adjacent businesses started using it to bring more locals into the once dreary corridor. The nearby Farmers Market added “Spice Alley,” and three of the local restaurants teamed up to put on an annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in the space.
This early “activation” -- bringing the community together to do SOMETHING in the neighborhood -- is what Activate Hollywood is all about. Some people say that it’s easy to feel disconnected in Los Angeles. Activate Hollywood seeks to connect. That may be the corner coffee shop connecting with the apartment dweller down the street or the non-profit art gallery operator, with locals looking for meaningful volunteer opportunities.
These connections mean more locals feeling ownership of the streets, sidewalks, and other public spaces. It means building an economic environment where the businesses that provide desired neighborhood amenities can thrive. It means every resident has a stake in what happens in the community and has the ability to be a part of it.
By Angela Babcock; Co-founder of Activate Hollywood and Director of Community Engagement at Stratiscope.