As members of the creative community, we love Los Angeles for its remarkable diversity, dynamic neighborhoods, and untapped potential. As residents who want to ensure that LA becomes an even more creative, sustainable, and inclusive place in the future, we are seeking your designs for posters to help defeat Measure S, a regressive initiative on the City of Los Angeles ballot on March 7, 2017.
Measure S—also known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative—would send LA backwards by blocking badly needed new housing and pricing even more Angelenos out of the city. But it’s worse than that. By preventing the new construction we need to make our city more vibrant, accessible, and affordable, Measure S sends the message that Angelenos should fear new ideas, fear progress, and fear the future.
We want to counter this campaign of fear with one of appreciation for Los Angeles as it exists and hope for what Los Angeles can become—if it is allowed to evolve and change. No on S, Yes on LA.
There is an official No on S campaign which is targeting voters with the message “Goes Too Far.” We are not working for this campaign, but we want to complement their efforts by asking LA’s creative community to create posters which residents and organizations can use to oppose Measure S. We believe that a series of designs with the theme No on S, Yes on LA can help in two ways. They can add a visual and storytelling element to a campaign about wonky planning issues. And these designs can reach beyond the city’s base of likely voters—who tend to be older, affluent homeowners—to inspire younger citizens, renters, people of color, and other marginalized groups in our neighborhoods to participate in the March elections.
We hope you are inspired to submit designs, which we plan to print as mini-posters and postcards and place them at a central location for public distribution as well as make available in digital formats for use in online activism. We look forward to seeing how you address the broad No on S, Yes on LA theme. Below are details for the call-for-submissions and some supporting research to get you started.
No on S, Yes on LA pop-up exhibition at the A+D Museum! We’re very excited to announce that the posters will be displayed in a pop-up exhibition at the A+D Museum in the Arts District. We’ll also be hosting an event there where you’ll be able to pick up lawn signs, posters, and postcards, and check out the other show at the museum, cityLAb Times 10, which explores a decade of design and research by UCLA’s cityLAb and its visionary ideas for the future of Los Angeles.
This project is co-organized by LAplus, a project of Community Partners, and design east of La Brea.
How to submit
Please submit artwork in the following format:
Resolution: 300 dpi
Format: Preferably PDF (will also accept high res JPG or TIFF files)
Images: Please make sure you have rights to any images you include in your designs
Deadline for submissions: Monday, February 20 at 12:00 pm PT (DEADLINE EXTENDED!)
Email submissions to email@example.com and be sure to include the name, website, and any social media handles you’d like credited.
We will not be able to include any submissions that are not within these specifications.
If you want to spread the word, feel free to cut and paste this call for proposals onto your own site or share the link on social media.
Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
To help inspire ideas, below is a very brief summary of what Measure S would do, as well as examples of topic areas that could be powerful No on S, Yes on LA messages.
What does Measure S do?
Measure S would amend city rules around planning and zoning making it harder to build new housing and neighborhood amenities. The two key changes would be to permanently ban General Plan Amendments except for large sites of 15 or more acres and place a two-year moratorium on zone changes that allow bigger or taller buildings or allow more intense (i.e. dense) use of land.
Why does this matter? LA has many out-of-date plans, and even for newer plans, it’s not possible to perfectly predict what should or should not be allowed on every one of the more than half million individual pieces of land in the city. As a result, land owners often seek zone changes and General Plan Amendments for many building projects, for example, to build housing or a mixed-use building on land zoned for industrial uses or zoned as a parking lot. Measure S also makes it harder for planners to reduce the number of parking spaces required for new buildings or new businesses in existing buildings. Perhaps most disturbing of all, if Measure S passes, it will prevent the zone changes needed to build much-needed housing around the new transit routes that Angelenos just funded when we approved Measure M by an overwhelming majority in the November elections.
Measure S worsens LA’s housing crisis
Los Angeles has a severe housing crisis. One of the main causes is that not enough housing has been built throughout the region in recent decades to meet demand from population growth. This under-building has led to ultra-low vacancy rates that let owners charge high rents. The housing shortage cascades down to inflict real suffering, from homelessness to high rents to overcrowding and displacement. (1) Measure S would intensify the crisis by blocking construction of many new homes. Measure S supporters claim that LA doesn’t need new market-rate or “luxury” housing, but the truth is, we need all types of new housing. Without enough housing stock, rents rise and wealthy residents outbid lower-income Angelenos for existing housing causing displacement and gentrification. (2)
Here’s an illustration of how little housing we’ve built in the last 25 years:
(See more at Abundant Housing LA’s post “Don’t Call It a Boom: Despite Uptick, LA Still Adding New Housing At a Snail’s Pace.”)
Measure S cripples LA’s future
The way that Angelenos live, work, and move continuously evolves due to technological change, social and cultural transformation, and generational shifts. While change is never without friction, LA residents signaled that they welcome smart growth, green infrastructure, and more equity by voting overwhelmingly in November to fund new transit, new parks, and affordable housing. (3) The evolution of the city can allow LA to adapt to climate change, pioneer new forms of mobility and welcome new industries. (4) Many of these new, more sustainable systems will be created lot-by-lot as buildings are remodeled or constructed. Measure S would slow this process and undermine public investments by freezing many developments and prioritizing letters on zoning maps over real-world improvements.
Measure S builds a wall
Los Angeles’ strength is its diversity. LA is home to people from many backgrounds, a mix of longtime residents and newcomers, and welcomes tens of millions of visitors annually. (5) The city is built upon its reputation as a place where people can come to pursue their dreams. Measure S threatens this openness and diversity by blocking new housing and smarter use of land, which makes it harder for existing residents to stay in the city and for people to relocate to LA; if we don’t build enough housing to meet the demand, everything will continue to get more expensive. Especially at a time when the federal government is seeking to target immigrants and build a physical wall, we need our progressive cities to be welcoming places for all.
Measure S is for LA haters
Los Angeles is big, diverse, place. It isn’t as “picturesque” as some older cities, but this sense of being unfinished, informal, and laid-back is what makes LA conducive to many dreams and to different ways of living. Los Angeles is sometimes frustrating, sometimes ugly, but also inspiring, and full of possibilities. At its heart, Measure S is selfish and prescriptive, the opposite of the best that LA has to offer. Measure S is on the ballot because one man didn’t want the views from his office tower blocked by a new building, and so he diverted money from the AIDS nonprofit he runs to fund anti-growth advocates who oppose new transit, new housing, and new ways of inhabiting LA. (6) Don’t let these LA haters hijack our city.
Statistics & sources
(1) More than 28,000 people in the City of Los Angeles are homeless. (Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, 2016). There are approximately 50,000 unpermitted second units on single family houses properties in LA city and thousands more unpermitted living units in apartments and industrial sites. (Vinit Mukhija, UCLA). Nearly 100,000 households live in severely overcrowded conditions and another 100,000 in overcrowded dwellings. (City of LA Housing Element). 60% of LA households are “rent burdened” under the federal definition of spending more than 30% of their income on housing, and a third of residents spend more than half of their income on rent. (NYU Furman Center, Affordable Rental Housing Landscape). Between 2006 to 2014, 350,000 young people in LA County delayed forming their own household due to high housing costs (Dowell Myers, USC). LA is 3rd in the nation in the percentage of Millennial residents who moved out of the area in the past decade. (Apartmentlist.com, Millennial population trends).
(2) In an average year approximately 20% of new homes permitted in the City of LA used a zone change and/or general plan amendment. This share is growing, in 2015, over 60 percent of proposed new dwellings (approximately 9000 homes) sought these changes. (Beacon Economic, Measure S Economic Policy Analysis). Developments that Measure S would block are built on empty or underused land and displace almost no one. 2015 projects seeking general plan amendments would create over 1000 new homes for every 1 demolished and projects seeking zone changes create/demolish new housing with a 100 to 1 ratio. If Measure S passes, some of the demand for housing will be transferred from underused properties to existing smaller apartments; this type of development creates 5 new units for every 1 unit demolished- a much higher ratio of displacement. (Mark Vallianatos, Abundant Housing LA)
(3) County Measure M to expand and improve transit; County Measure A to expand and maintain parks and open space; City Measure HHH to build permanent supportive housing for the homeless and low-income affordable housing, and City Measure JJJ to require developments receiving zone changes to include affordable housing.
(4) The City of LA is planning to source more water locally and reduce per-capita consumption of water; increase local solar power generation and energy storage; reduce energy use per square foot in buildings by 30%, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80%; create many more green jobs; install cool roofs and shade; and reduce asthma cases in low-income communities to advance environmental justice. (Los Angeles Sustainable City pLAn 2015). Researchers at UCLA have mapped out more aggressive goals to achieve 100% renewable energy and local water sourcing and better integrate natural landscapes into LA’s built environment by 2050. (UCLA, Grand Challenges, Sustainable LA.)
(5) Over 70% of residents of the City of LA are non-white; 37% of residents were born outside of the U.S.; 60 percent live in a household where a language other than English is spoken at home, at least 185 languages are spoken in LA. (United States Census). Despite the challenge of pricey housing, LA city’s population grew by 50,000 between in 2015 to surpass 4 million for the first time. (California Department of Finance, Population Estimates, 2016). 47.3 million tourists/visitors traveled to the city of LA in 2016, the most ever. (Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.)
(6) AIDS Healthcare Foundation Head Michael Weinstein sponsored Measure S because he disliked new development in Hollywood. (LA Weekly, Michael Weinstein Might Have Diagnosed What’s Wrong With L.A. — But Can He Fix It?, April 4, 2016); Weinstein’s spending on the ballot measure has been criticized by other LGBQT leaders. (Coalition to Preserve LA Neighborhoods and Jobs, How Much HIV/AIDS Care $$$ Will Michael Weinstein Spend on Banning Housing?, January 13, 2017); Yes on S campaign director Jill Stewart defends driving, is opposed to expanding transit and thinks urban planners who develop plans to allow density near transit are ‘snotty’ and elitist. (Planning Report, Stewart: Neighborhood Integrity Initiative Is LA’s Response to Unplanned Density and Insider Deals, February 16, 2016).