Advisory Panel – Jordan Downs, Los Angeles CA


Date: February 8 – 13, 2009

Location: Los  Angeles,CA

Sponsor: Housing Authority of the City ofLos Angeles

Chair: John McIlwain

Subject Area: Neighborhood Revitalization, Workforce and Affordable Housing, Public Infrastructure

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  • Provide strategic advice on public housing redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization inWatts
  • Advise on the selection process for master planning and property annexation efforts
  • Recommend possible financing tools and development timeline

Summary of Recommendations:

The Housing Authority of Los Angeles (HACLA) asked the ULI panel to be an independent, objective third party while providing strategic advice for the redevelopment of Jordan Downs in Watts. The panel felt the redevelopment of Jordan Downs to be a truly revolutionary example of how to reinvent a public housing development into an urban area. The panel came up with solid and vital recommendations that were consistent with the projects prominent ideas.

Proposed land use plan developed by panel.

The panel believed that the first point of action should be assigning primary leadership of the project. There was no one person or agency making sole decisions or having full responsibility, which muddled communication and made processes inefficient. The panel recommended that HACLA be designated to assume primary leadership. Secondly, due to the extreme challenges in the global financial markets, a more realistic timeline of at least 15 years (not five) was needed. To achieve the desired transformative change inWatts, the panel encouraged the city to not only redevelop Jordan Downs but also the three other public housing complexes as well. This could be done by acquiring properties in the surrounding blocks beyond the current borders of Jordan Downs and creating linkages to the other communities. It was also essential to have a sustainable education and employment system in place for the future evolution of Jordan Downs, therefore the large Latino population had to play a role in the planning stages. But, in the end, to create the catalytic change needed in Watts and the greaterLos Angelesarea, the city had to see to the redevelopment of all four housing projects and not just Jordan Downs alone.


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