Neighborday Idea #5: Transform a Vacant Lot into a Pop-Up Park

Breathe new life into unused areas in your community. #LetsNeighbor

April 25 marks the fifth anniversary of Neighborday, a global block party we invented to get people talking (and partying) with the people who live around them. Leading up to the big day, we’re sharing creative ways organizations in our native Los Angeles are connecting with the folks who share their walls and fences.

Stay tuned this week for more ideas about how to celebrate. #LetsNeighbor

Neighborday 2015 Idea #5:

Transform a vacant lot into a pop-up park.

It’s often challenging for individual organizations to create large-scale change in their communities due to restraints in funding and capacity. That’s why Neighborday—or any other moment that encourages collective impact—is so important.

On Neighborday, Great Streets Los Angeles is collaborating with Free Lots Angeles to coordinate a pop-up park in a vacant lot in South Los Angeles—at 41st Street and Central Avenue from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Activations like this can be a challenge to pull off without additional support, but they really do demonstrate just how much a community can improve when we pay attention to areas we usually ignore.

If you want to liven up a vacant lot in your neighborhood, here’s how we’ve made it happen:

1. Lot/Neighborhood Identification We work with community members and local officials to identify a lot that has been vacant and could be better used in a more positive, community-oriented way. In this first step, make sure to identify any barrier that might prevent you from gaining entry to your lot of choice (insurance, zoning regulations, building permits, etc.).

2. Community Workshop Engagement and Planning We work with community members over several meetings to gather their ideas on what the vacant lot could be used for.

3. Analysis and DesignAfter significant community engagement, our coalition works with local community leaders to design the lot activation itself using resources from local donors.

4. ConstructionThis is where you make your awesome designs come to life. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to not only construct what you have designed, but to make sure you can get what you’ve built onto your lot, in case you have to build off-site.

5. ActivationWith the help of lots of community outreach and promotion, the community is invited to the lot to have a great time.

It’s true that communities and individuals tend to be resistant to change. That’s because it’s hard to imagine the potentially positive future.But by hosting a demonstration in a vacant lot, we can show that parks and public gathering spaces are fundamental to the livability of our neighborhoods, with low commitment and minimal costs.In South Los Angeles, an area of the city where there are far too few parks, there is approximately 4’ x 4’ of green space per resident—the size of a small closet. Compare that to the city average, which is 22 times greater per resident. We hope you’ll join us this Saturday to add a bit more park space to South L.A. through our Neighborday pop-up park activation—or that you’ll get inspired to launch your own, wherever you are.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

Keep Reading Show less

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet