Vinit Mukhija, a professor of urban planning at UCLA, sent students in his Urban Planning Physical Planning Studio to Bell this past quarter to study how the city could be helped by planning, smart design, and investment. The Daily Bruin recently covered the students' take on Bell, while a tipster in the class passes on images of some of the class proposals. In an email to Curbed, he writes: "The aim of these plans is to help Bell residents and policymakers visualize, discuss and determine the future of their community. Each group covers one of Bell's major boulevards--Atlantic, Gage, Florence, and Randolph. Proposals so far include food-truck-accommodating parking lots, identity-generating intersections, and a plan to turn vacant land along a freight rail alignment into a linear park."
According to The Bruin story, ideas ranged from putting a recreation center and community gardens area on Florence Avenue and a grocery store at the intersection of Gage and Atlantic avenues. Meanwhile, The Bruin story also notes that "at the beginning of the project, some residents were standoffish with the graduate students because of Bell’s recent media attention, said Stephen Sampson, an urban planning graduate student.
'They don’t really want to go on the record or anything,' he said. 'They thought we were just here to cover their city in a negative light.'
But like a feel-good movie, eventually the students won over some of the Bell business leaders and residents, who critiqued the group's presentations. More via the Bruin: "Violeta Alvarez, a 30-year resident of Bell, spoke up after the group’s presentation. 'I never thought (an outsider) could turn around and create this vision of Bell,' she said."
For those who want to learn more about Bells' possible future, the class will be presenting their final recommendations, along with steps that Bell residents can take to help achieve these proposals, on December 6th.
· Students’ visions to revitalize the heart of Bell [Daily Bruin]