LA-Más is a non-profit urban design organization that helps lower-income and underserved communities shape their future through policy and architecture.
We envision a world where city growth is equitable and self-directed — where the best local solutions are brought to a city-wide scale.
Elizabeth Timme and Mia Lehrer co-founded our organization in 2012 with the principle that great architecture and design is a right, not a privilege. Mia incubated LA-Más at her landscape architecture firm for the first year and continues to serve on our board. Helen Leung joined LA-Más in 2013 and together with Elizabeth lead our team as Co-Executive Directors. With Helen’s background in public policy and community engagement, LA-Más has evolved into an urban design non-profit focused on systemic impact.
Our Project Work
Our projects focus on communities in transition that are often underserved or overlooked by traditional service providers. Local city departments want to support and improve these areas, but are left with little budget and capacity to do so. Our unique non-profit fee-for-service model enables us to serve communities that need the most support, and do so in a way that preserves their local identity. These communities don’t need new strategies or ideas labeled “innovative” by outsiders. They need an advocate, a translator, an intermediary to raise up what is already working locally and grow by their own rules. Through our process we elevate what works, and collaborate with city departments and developers to create much needed, local, contextual change. We believe everyone deserves an inclusive process for the growth of their community.
Our Policy Work
In addition to localized project work, we strive to impact change at a larger scale across many zip codes. By working on different projects of different scales with different city departments, we uncover challenges with existing policies and connect the dots between project solutions. We keep a birds’ eye view on how the urban realm is transforming Los Angeles, and use this vantage point to make informed recommendations and push policy forward. By lifting up latent models from individual communities, we offer recommendations that can positively impact hundreds of communities across the city.
Our Location | Elysian Valley, better known as Frogtown
Since early 2014, we are proud to call Frogtown our home. Though we work across the region, we see this community as a place we can engage critically in conversations surrounding inclusive change as our city develops. As the restoration of the LA River continues, we believe that existing stakeholders have a voice. Our Futuro de Frogtown effort highlights community values and strategies to ensure community driven change. Our Knowledge Hub initiative created a system of neighborhood leaders who are informed about renter rights, landlord responsibilities, and financial basics. We also donate our time each year to create wayfinding signage for the Frogtown Artwalk. We constantly partner with other community organizations from local job fairs to community murals. If you have any idea for us, please reach out.
We are proud to be a part of the following coalitions and campaigns: