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One of the leaders of the battle to reclaim Los Angeles' streets is closing its doors after seven years at the close of business today.  Livable Places, the organization that built the Olive Court complex in Long Beach, created the "Making Connections" Program in Chinatown, and brough smart growth speakers to Los Angeles such as Gordon Price, will be no more.

There's no "Who Shot J.R." mystery here.  One of Livable Places' goals was to provide affordable residential developments that emphasized smart growth, eco-friendly design, and access to alternative transportation.  Sadly, they got in the game when the price to build was going up and then the real estate market crashed.

Livable Places' Policy Associate Joe Linton announced the closure today via email, the full text of which can be found after the jump.

Colleagues -

It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that Livable Places is closing. Seven years ago, our board of directors set ambitious goals for a new nonprofit organization to advocate for land use policy reform, and to develop affordable housing that demonstrated the feasibility of smart growth.  Since then, Livable Places has worked on multiple policy issues and initiated two developments offering 160 homes and leveraging $60 million as we strived to build for-sale housing affordable to working people with minimal subsidy.   We began construction as speculation and frenzied demand drove up construction costs, and we started marketing homes as the turmoil in financial and real estate markets began.  The credit crisis raised the requirements for buyers that we targeted, and the glut of higher priced housing lowered demand for new homes overall.  The impact on the Southern California economy has been dire, and for Livable Places, the economic downturn has proved fatal.  Nonetheless, our board and staff are extremely proud of the work that Livable Places has accomplished since opening our office in 2001. Our dedicated policy staff has advocated for and won significant victories, engaged the residents of under-served communities to participate in the planning decisions affecting their communities, and conducted significant research that draws the connections among land use, transit, housing, public health, and the environment. We are hopeful that our policy work will live on. Our board of directors is considering forming a new organization that would focus on advancing urban livability policies.  We’ll keep you informed of developments regarding the new organization.  Livable Places office is closing at the end of business today – Tuesday April 15th.   If need be, I can be reached me at my personal email joelinton@earthlink.net or my personal cell phone xxxx. Looking forward to continuing to work with you all to make Los Angeles more livable, more sustainable, and more vibrant. Joe LintonPolicy AssociateLivable Places

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