Connect the Dots LA: Public Design Workshops for Realizing a Resilient Future

submission by ConnecttheDotsLA
Connect the Dots LA:  Public Design Workshops for Realizing a Resilient Future

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

Connect the Dots LA

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Organization(s) instagram handle(s):

Please share the direct link for voters to sign up for your newsletter(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


Connect the Dots design workshops provide the tools for Los Angelenos to reimagine LA’s Great Streets (and crummy streets) performing at their fullest potential, as engaging public spaces and strategic groundwater recharge assets.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


Connect the Dots uses art and design to bring complex science to the surfaces of our city's streets, shaping sound policy and inspired public space for a water-smart future. Working in neighborhoods along the river and across the basin, CtD uses advanced hydrologic data as public art, empowering and inspiring citizens to help solve our city’s transit, public space, and water.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

(e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County):

thirsty neighborhoods dotted across the 864-sq-mile LA Basin, on the river and off.

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Live” metrics? (check all that apply)

Access to healthy food

Healthcare access

Exposure to air toxins

Number of households below the self-sufficiency index

Percent of imported water

Obesity rates

Housing affordability

Rates of homelessness

Walk/bike/transit score

Acres and miles of polluted waterways

Rates of mental illness

Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (Dream Metric)

Percentage of LA communities that are resilient (Dream Metric)

Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)

Percentage of tree canopy cover (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the healthiest place to live.


CtD design workshops engage citizens with unseen water systems beneath their feet, using full-scale stormwater and groundwater visualizations on city surfaces. Workshops prompt dialog about potential water-smart public investment, and facilitate partnerships among designers and community members. CtD documents emerging visions for a re-shaped public realm; tests and celebrates temporary demonstration projects at full-scale; and prepares and presents synthesis proposals for long-term change.

CtD workshops produce recommendations for long-term change that:
• improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists;
• anticipate light rail, BRT, and transit-oriented development;
• capture stormwater as groundwater augmentation;
• promote open space, natural habitat, and urban cooling zones;
• honor the specific culture and character of the neighborhood.

CtD workshops engage communities at multiple scales:
• Hazel Table, a hands-on teaching tool, delivers three learning objectives: what is an aquifer and how does it work? How does the design of the built environment impact it? What urban design changes are possible to improve local water resources? Design educators, professionals, and students gather at the Hazel Table with families, residents, and business owners to explore the basics of urban water systems.
• Hazel Dots are pixels of advanced hydrologic data drawn at full scale. Using high-resolution geospatial data drawn from Arid Lands Institute research, workshop leaders and volunteers lay out full-scale maps of subterranean Los Angeles. A large scale “X-Ray” of the neighborhood’s hydrology emerges. Where are a neighborhood’s underground streams? Storage reservoirs? Contamination sites? Storm drains? Where are the best places to capture stormwater and sink it into the ground? Where are the best places to divert it elsewhere?
• Full-scale transformational community events, including large-scale graphics and video projections will temporarily transform and celebrate visions generated during workshops. With spaces occupied and tested by cyclists, strollers, vendors, business owners, and community members, participants will evaluate: how is this working? What would I change?

Through Connect the Dots, the people of Los Angeles’s watersheds will:
• visualize and appreciate the aquifers beneath their streets;
• understand the role design plays in replenishing them; and
• participate in shaping direction for water-smart investments.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


Post-event, CtD coordinates analysis and synthesis of data and generates written and visual design and policy recommendations, for review by community partners and stakeholders and advocacy to decision-makers. We will evaluate our work based on numbers of event participants (2016 goal: 3 workshops @ 100 participants per workshop); numbers of design educators and professionals involved as volunteers (2016 goal: 3 workshops @ 20 design volunteers each); responsiveness to synthesis recommendations (2016 goal: 3 workshop reports reviewed by professional design teams; presented to 3 communities @ 15 community leaders; and submitted to public agencies).

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

6 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Such a great project for the future of the WHOLE city, through this pilot in Van Nuys. Can't wait to see what comes of it!

by atrumble
6 months ago

This multifaceted approach to intelligent use of our very important natural resource will help revolutionize the water systems in Los Angeles with beneficial effects for all of California.

by GaryBulla
6 months ago

Brilliant! The inclusion of the local community in creating streets that capture and recharge groundwater
is essential to sustainable design. A compelling integration of groundbreaking science, public art and citizen awareness!

by Theresawater
6 months ago

What a terrific idea: harnessing all the water that falls naturally from the sky and re-using it so we don't have to import water from the Colorado River or Northern California.

by KenShields
6 months ago

Fine intention. You might value this book: http;//

by metroeco
6 months ago

Connect the Dots L.A. could call itself CONNECT THE DROPS L.A. !

by GregoryWright
6 months ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0

Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015