SANTA MONICA—Members of the Santa Monica community gathered on Monday, September 24 for a zoning workshop held by the Pico Wellbeing Project.

The Pico Wellbeing Project is the city’s attempt to create a multi-faceted approach to community development. With strong partnerships from the community, the PWP hopes to create forward-thinking solutions for various challenges that the public are facing.

The Pico neighborhood runs parallel to the 1-10 and is home to one-tenth of the Santa Monica population. Pico is more diverse than Santa Monica as a whole, with 46 percent of the Pico neighborhood non-White and only 23 percent of the city of Santa Monica being non-White.

The PWP will give the community a platform to be involved in the shaping of policies and programs and be completely informed about the city’s actions and projects in the Pico neighborhood. They will help to empower the Pico neighborhood to improve the community wellbeing as a whole.

At the first workshop of the fall, community members were able to vocalize their personal thoughts and experiences on displacement and gentrification, their personal involvement with the Pico neighborhood, and advocate for a better future for their community. By learning about tools for city planning, attendees were able to better understand the concepts of zoning and land use polices and how these things can impact their lives. As part of the interactive workshop, participants were given the ability to “design” their ideal Pico Boulevard. Pico Boulevard is a main artery that connects Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles.

The PWP has become a priority of the Santa Monica City Council, as the Pico neighborhood has been recognized as not being the focus of any large-scale public process in a significant amount of time. With the help of City Council pushing for inclusive efforts towards improvement, the PWP can work to bring a better future to the Pico residents and businesses while still maintaining all that makes Pico unique.