The DLANC Sustainability Committee meets on the First Tuesday of every month at the Central Public Library.
Our committee chairs host office hours and neighborhood stakeholders gather for project workshops
to help advance several community-driven initiatives - for Downtown Los Angeles.

What is your vision for a more livable, affordable and efficient neighborhood?

Community Events Calendar

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Volunteer opportunity: Tree Planting Survey Day, Friday June 26, 2009 9:45am

We look forward to the kick-off of our tree planting project with a survey day scheduled for the end of this week.

The plan is to meet up at the Neighborhood Council Office on Friday, June 26 at 9:45am. We will divide up the route so everyone has a small portion of the pilot project area. We plan on finishing no later than 12:45pm - and look forward to a fun community day!

If you're interested in participating, please email us at

Sustainability Committee presents at Valley Regional Congress

On Saturday, May 30, Sustainability Committee Chair Ashley Zarella, LEED AP, Assoc. AIA presented outreach best practices at the "Outreach Neighborhood Council Alliance - Share the Fruit and the Labor" afternoon panel discussion at the Valley Regional Congress. For a copy of the presentation, please click here.

Project meetings are starting - time to get involved!

We're pleased to announce the launch of our 2009 project meetings. We encourage you to bring your neighbors and spread the word about what we're planning downtown. To learn more about all eight 2009 projects and engage a community greening strategy, please check out our blog.

If you can't make one of these first meetings, please let us know your availability by emailing us at If you would like to be involved with any of our projects - email us and we will make sure you get the information you need to participate.

Rooftop Container Garden & Composting Project Team Meeting
Meeting date of June 10 has been set - we will be meeting on the ground floor of the Spring Arts Tower (453 S. Spring Street) starting at 6:30pm. There is a lot of great momentum is building around this project. Our discussion will include an introduction to the project team leader (Dawna Nolan) and an overview of the currently proposed project which a review types of gardens and the community partners that have already come forward to lend their roofs or expertise. We will discuss the expansion of the existing composting pilot and next steps as we prepare for the first garden pilot projects.

Tree Community Tree Planting Project
Monday, June 22, 2009 / 6:00pm - 7:45pm (Central Public Library)
Come find out more about community tree planting projects - including the pilot project planned by the Sustainability Committee for Skid Row.

Our meetings will be fully covered on our blog - with a summary, discussions, and next steps outlined. We would like to hear from you. If you have any ideas but are unable to attend our first project meeting, there will be a forum for you to post your suggestions for our consideration. We are very excited to get the 2009 projects started and look forward to seeing you soon!

Sustainability Committee wins 2009 LA Section American Planning Association Award for Grassroots Initiative

The Los Angeles Section of the American Planning Association has announced that the Sustainability Committee of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council will be recognized for work underway with a Planning Excellence Award for Grassroots Initiative. The Sustainability Committee is developing a community greening strategy for Downtown Los Angeles and was recently named a recipient of a 2009 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) Grant. The SDAT grant will bring $15,000 in professional resources to our neighborhood to better inform our community-based group as we develop long-term sustainability goals for Downtown Los Angeles.

The Sustainability Committee has been developing a community greening "toolkit" as a means to maximize awareness of existing resources, increase program participation, and improve public understanding about sustainability. Through community engagement, the Sustainability Committee has identified topics of interest that would have a substantive impact where we live, work, and play. By fostering partnerships among individuals, nonprofits, government, and the private sector, the Sustainability Committee will leverage our community resources to maximize accessibility and efficiency. Email us at if you'd like to get involved or have a project you think we should know about!

June Meeting Agenda Tuesday, June 2 6:30-8:00pm

Where: Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Office (453 S. Spring Street, Suite 1020)

1. Welcome
2. Public Comment on Non-Agenda Items, including Community Announcements (5 minutes).
3. Review meeting minutes from the May meeting (5 minutes). Action Item: Approve minutes SC-10-090505 (all meeting attendees).
4. Ginny Marie Brideau to present community project idea: Historic Bid Clean-up. Action Item: Approve next steps for committee on this issue (5 minutes).
5. Stanley Michaels to introduce research on packaging. Action Item: Approve next steps for committee on this issue (10 minutes).
6. Project Updates including status report, project teams and leadership, and kick-off meeting schedule (45 minutes).
7. Presentation of Communications Plan. Action Item: Approve implementation recommendations of proposed communications plan. Will need Board approval (15 minutes).
8. Outreach bin and other updates (5 minutes).
9. Agenda items for next meeting?
10. Adjournment.

City Council considering major funding cuts - we need your support!

The Budget & Financing Committee recently proposed cutting Neighborhood Council funding by nearly 80%. We need your help and support so that we may continue to develop our sustainability goals for our community and implement the EIGHT exciting projects we have for 2009. Click here for more information.

Meeting Minutes - May Regular Meeting 050509

1. Welcome.
2. The Sustainability Committee has been recognized by the LA Section of the American Planning Association with a 2009 Planning Excellence Award for Grassroots Initiative.
3. The bus stop requested by community member Daveed Kapoor, as presented at the last Committee meeting, has been approved and started running last Monday. Sustainability Committee to amend letter to be a thank you to the Metro Board for their responsiveness.
4. Meeting minutes SC-09-090420 approved without objection.
5. Gary Jacoby presented his experience from the Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo which covered a renewable energy, LEED for Public Agencies, Beyond the Green Building Program and a presentation on LACCD by Larry Eizenberg.
6. Project 1 Update: Rooftop Edible and Composting Containers (Jennifer Regan): first meeting planned for last week of May/first week of June; three models under consideration including community garden, SRO rooftop, and business roof. American Apparel being considered as a business partner and prospective site. Other suggestions for consideration include: 9th Street Elementary School, Santee Alley, 945 Mateo, Weingard. A permaculture event is tentatively planned for the weekend of the Summer Solstice (June 19-20).
7. Project 2 Update: Treeplanting (Gunnar Hand): first meeting planned for first week of June; project description draft has been developed; community member Lawrence Lawdry recommended Skid Row Brigade as potential community partner.
8. Project 7 Update: Event and Education Programming: Earth Day (Jennifer Regan presented committee work at Green Drinks which had a record turnout; Ashley Zarella presented the SDAT at the LA County National Conversation on Climate Action); upcoming events (Placemaking Series planned for expansion to the rest of the neighborhood, Summer Solstice Event in support of Project 1); Sign-ups: Tanner Blackman, Pamela Tuttle and Natalia Aguilar volunteered to assist with future events
9. Other Project Updates (20 minutes)
i. Project 6: SDAT (Sustainable Design Assessment Team) Grant: still stuck in agreement limbo as it is being reviewed by the City Attorney’s office.
ii. Projects 3-4: Increase participation in cost-saving efficiency programs and recycling/food waste programs: to focus on identifying programs.
iii. Project 8: Green Living Program: Pamela Tuttle expressed interested in getting involved with this project.
10. Bren School of the Environment Project Introduction: school project to investigate environmental and economic impacts of transforming Harlem Place into a more sustainable alley.
11. Community member Lawrence Lawdry requested that the Sustainability Committee investigate how we might address the waste left behind by people distributing food and clothes on Skid Row. Next steps: determine if there can be more centralized areas for distribution that could include recycling and trash receptacles.
12. Goals for next meeting: project template drafts to be developed; additional Outreach events scheduled
13. Next Meeting Proposed Agenda Items: Committee member Stanley Michaels to present research on biodegradable packaging.
14. Adjournment

First outreach event a success!

Thank you to everyone who participated in last night's PLACEMAKING in Downtown Los Angeles. Thank you to Project for Public Spaces and James Rojas for engaging us in an informative conversation about the potential downtown's public spaces.

Check out our images and see what we created. Thanks again and we look forward to the next Sustainability Committee event!

A letter from the Sustainability Committee Chair Ashley Zarella, LEED AP, Assoc. AIA & DLANC Director, Area-Wide Workforce, Private Sector

To the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Sustainability Committee, Community & Members of City Council:

I am writing to request your support for our neighborhood council and others across the city. The Sustainability Committee has a vested interest in preserving our 2010 budget request - which has already been reduced by proposed cuts. Now, even more drastic cuts are being discussed. We have worked very hard to create some exciting grassroots initiatives and would like the support of our City Council in accomplishing the goals we have established WITH the community we represent.

I am one of many new participants in this system of city-sponsored grassroots organizations but I appreciate the incredible capacity of neighborhood councils to create a more sustainable Los Angeles.

>>> The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, which has just celebrated its seventh anniversary, has fostered events and community outreach such as ArtWalk, Skid Row 3-on-3, Meet your councilmember, job search and community mixers, Park[ing] Day LA and Placemaking in Downtown Los Angeles outreach events, and many other local projects from composting to historical surveys.

>>> In just seven months, the Sustainability Committee has developed a growing network of interested residents, entrepreneurs, artists and employees; we recently received a national grant that requires a community match; and just this week, a local section of the American Planning Association has recognized our grassroots initiative with an award.

>>> The Sustainability Committee has launched eight projects for 2009 - from rooftop container gardens and treeplanting; to increasing participation through outreach in cost-saving and efficiency-focused programs to reduce resource waste. We are working with the community to prioritize our long term sustainability goals for more effective advocacy on behalf of our neighborhood.

The Sustainability Committee has engaged city departments, the community, and even my professional association (AIA) to assist in developing community-based outreach, education and advocacy that will leverage networks of people, resources, and opportunity for sustainable urban development.

The Sustainability Committee represents a diverse mix of professionals and members who have volunteered their time in support of our projects and mission. At the last City Council Budget & Finance Committee, a budget cut of nearly 80% was proposed. While all city departments must adjust to our economic reality, cutting such a large share of Neighborhood Council funding will eliminate hundreds of valuable community-based initiatives across Los Angeles. Please do not allow the City to disproportionally cut our funding as we launch into an incredible time for activism at the local level.

Email your neighborhood council and city council members. Leave a comment here so we can give your feedback to the City. Help us continue to build a better neighborhood council system. $50K a year can do a lot of great things at the neighborhood level to improve the livability, affordability, efficiency of our city. Please help us by supporting your neighborhood council!

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Ashley Zarella, LEED AP, Assoc. AIA
Chair, Sustainability Committee
Director, Area-Wide Work-Force, Private Sector (AECOM Design)
Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, 2008-2010