Launching “Space To Lead” Report at La Plaza de Cultura & Artes, November 16, 2017

Future of Cities: LA Founder and President Donna Bojarsky was joined by scholars and elected officials to present and talk about the findings of Space To Lead: A Century of Civic Leadership in Los Angeles at a public event at La Plaza de Cultura & Artes. 

Space to Lead, commissioned by FOC:LA with a grant from the Knight Foundation, and written by historian Andrea Thabet, PhD, /LA History and Metro Studies Group, with Shawn Landres, PhD fellow at the UCLA Luskin School, and William Deverell, PhD, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California & the West, describes the formulae that grassroots activists and civic leaders have used to fix the city's problems throughout LA history. 

“For anyone who wants to address contemporary LA problems such as homelessness, transportation gridlock or education reform, Space to Lead shows how the methods used by LA’s most successful reformers in history remain relevant today,” Bojarsky said. “Los Angeles, one of the most important urban hubs in the world, is hindered by its traditionally weak civic fabric because it lacks a dynamic, engaged and representative leadership cadre. 

“With the release of this study, Future of Cities: Leading in Los Angeles will begin the process of creating a unifying identity for Los Angeles, based on its glorious but largely unknown history,” Bojarsky said.

The event was “well attended by academics, politicians and others who worry about LA,” wrote LA Times veteran Bill Boyarsky for L.A. Observed. “Hopefully, the city will blend its past with the far-different present.”  Included in the discussion along with Boyarsky and the study’s authors were Los Angeles City Councilmembers David Ryu and Bob Blumenfield.

The entertaining, colorful report explores its themes with inspiring LA stories, like the development of the first Department of Playgrounds, which launched the tradition of public-private partnerships, and the courageous path taken by leaders from LA’s Latino and African American communities to find space to lead outside the established channels that were closed to them until the 1960s.