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Published on May 16, 2011
National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach
SurveyLA Public Participation Program Los Angeles, California
SurveyLA is Los Angeles's first-ever effort to identify, inventory, and document historic resources in the city. While Los Angeles has more than 900 local landmarks and 27 historic districts, only 15 percent of the city has been surveyed, leaving important resources at risk.
The program's determination to foster extensive public engagement in the survey process is integral to its success. Multi-lingual components are designed to engage communities in historic preservation, reach traditionally underrepresented groups, and provide meaningful and varied opportunities for the public to become directly involved. Outreach efforts include a website, quarterly newsletters, an Emmy-award winning education video airing on local television, DVDs distributed to neighborhoods in English and Spanish, multi-lingual information brochures, step-by-step guidebook, YouTube, Twitter, and a volunteer program that has already mobilized 200 volunteers.
Given Los Angeles's vast size — spanning more than 465 square miles and including 880,000 legal parcels — culturally significant resources might be missed using more traditional architectural survey methodology. As a result of SurveyLA, public participation will help to flag and protect hundreds of historic resources and historic neighborhoods that are largely unknown today.