Megacity LA Report 9/10/88



On Saturday, September 10th from 9:30 to 4:30, 25 people gathered to begin building a comprehensive plan to find the best innovations in Los Angeles. The plan is to use them as a foundation for a unified vision of where we want to go with our city. Sixty-five invitations were issued in the ten business days preceding the event, with over thirty-five RSVP’s. Those who were unable to make it were all working leaders whose existing commitments demanded their time at the last momemt.

The following pages represent the combined contributions of each person present during the three hours of group working time we had after the first hour of introductions and background on how and why we were there. Our intent in this introduction is to give meaning to the results of this initial step in the ongoing collaborative design of an optimally effective strategy for unifying the best of Los Angeles through the MEGA-CITIES PROJECT. Our invitation posed this question:-

"What are the most innovative approaches that are working to improve the quality of life in L.A. - and how can we share them effectively in this and other mega-cities?"

We began by giving our name, organization, and title. We each then briefly answered the question, "What is one thing that makes L.A. great?"

On the following pages are the introductory remarks and the answers.

We then showed a 4 minute videotape called "Eyes on Earth from Space" created by California artist Tom Van Sant for the Westweek Conference at the Pacific Design Center in March of 1986. It depicts a straight zoom from the GOES satelite 22,000 miles in space down to the sidewalk in front of the "Blue Whale". At regular intervals all the way down, sunlight is reflected back up to the lenses by arrays of mirrors Tom built for the project. The beauty of our city was breathtaking coming in from the perspective of space and that began to set the tone for evoking the practical vision.

Next we heard the story of the change from many competing communities and interests to a unified regional vision that took place in the Tidewater region of Virginia, told by Harrison Owen, who had created and managed the three year project.

Finally we saw a ten minute video report on the Inernational Exposition for Rural Development (IERD), and went over the graphicsdepicting the basic concept of this Project ( enclosed ) The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) produced the IERD over a three year period, culminating in a global meeting in New Dehli. This event brought together grassroots organizers (many of whom had never left their village or community) from over sixty nations with each other and many major global development organizations, to ‘Share Approaches that Work’. It gathered over 2,000 examples and now also serves as a highly ‘doable’ model for the Mega-Cities Concept.

The ICA method for collaborative strategizing and decision- making is a highly effective means for people to work together in an extremely practical and efficient manner. It codifies what the ICA has discovered 35 years of development is the basic ‘life process’ of anything truly effective that happens among people.

We begin with imagining a practical vision that engages our spirit in a meaningful and realistic way, and we work together to organize each of our individual images into a cohesive and ordered picture. We then examine the ‘cold, hard reality’ of what’s blocking the vision from being accomplished, "Why don’t we have it now?" This second step in the process normally takes 3 to 4 hours ( one module ).

The final steps consist of collectively figuring out the most necessary and effective thrusts toward realizing the vision, and the optimum sequence of events, actions and commitments required, including specific timelines. In a normal client situation, it requires three more modules to complete this process down to the ‘brass tacks’.

Given the logistical design challenge of the Mega-Cities Project, we will be continually moving through this sequence. As new individuals and groups bring their unique input, each aspect of the plan will be refined to include new information and more detail, thereby reinforcing both the validity and depth of our evolving collective strategy.

We encourage you to use this document as a catalyst to your own personal sense both of what is possible and what is ‘reality’. We invite you to treat it as a rough draft to mark on and add to as you see fit. In the final analysis, it can only be what we make it ... it’s all ours!

We appreciate your participation,

J.W. Ballard,

Staff coordinator (213) 859-2249

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