Strategies and Lessons from the Los Angeles Community Benefits Experience

January 2008
Benjamin S. Beach

 This article seeks to describe the efforts of local groups to obtain their right to the city and achieve the goal of better neighborhoods while preventing community displacement. It focuses in particular on the legal strategies used and explores some of the lessons learned in local groups’ campaigns. Part I describes the challenging legal and political context in which local groups must operate. Part II briefly reviews the strategies employed by local groups to impact development in this context. Part III traces the different sources of legal leverage on which local groups have relied in their community benefits campaigns. Part IV discusses the methods used to create enforceable commitments to provide community benefits. Part V synthesizes the lessons learned and offers a framework for use in approaching future community benefits campaigns.