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In recognition of the critical moment facing the Silver Lake community as it undergoes the development of a new Reservoir Master Plan, the Loyola Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience (LMU CURes) was invited by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council (SLNC) to conduct a study to provide sound information to support these efforts. A comprehensive study would likely span multiple years, and would include wildlife, green infrastructure, and social research to analyze the options available to Silver Lake to plan and implement an open space policy. This report focuses on Phase 1, a pilot survey of individuals intended to collect foundational data about the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of those stakeholders who currently utilize the area. Conducted in late 2018 and developed in consultation with the SLNC, the pilot survey gathered 249 in-person public intercept surveys and 1014 responses to a publicly available online survey.
Two public meetings informed modifications of the originally proposed study, including the addition of in-person survey locations and the additional online survey option. The in-person surveys were conducted by nine LMU CURes researchers over a period of approximately six weeks at locations immediately surrounding the reservoir complex or other nearby locations that were chosen at SLNC meetings. The online survey link was available on the LMU CURes website, but efforts to publicize the online survey were managed by the SLNC. Given the varying methodologies, the results from the in-person and online surveys were analyzed separately and viewed as different data sources.
The results showed that both in-person and online respondents were predominantly residents of Silver Lake, though there was also representation from others who are considered part of the SLNC’s broader stakeholder community. Those responding to the survey tended to use the reservoir areas often. Based upon the survey results, respondents from the Silver Lake community had many areas of agreement on the benefits and concerns regarding the reservoir complex, but common themes emerged as points of conflict. These included: the presence of dogs and their related facilities, green space and wildlife, accessibility, traffic, and changed usage concerns. While the average reservoir user self-reports to be fairly informed about environmental topics and processes, education and outreach may be needed moving forward. Demographically, the survey was fairly representative of the resident population of Silver Lake, with some exceptions. The intent of the survey was not to have an identical representation of the demographics of Silver Lake, but to be inclusive of other stakeholder opinions. However, if increased representation across categories is desired, an expanded study with a larger sample size could capture greater participation in certain demographic areas.
The report details and discusses the results from each survey question, and ends with conclusions and next steps. Possible future directions include recommendations for an expanded survey protocol beyond this Phase 1 pilot, and other areas for analysis and future research based on the findings. These initial findings and recommendations may provide some foundation for the SLNC and the Silver Lake community as they proceed into the planning process for the reservoir complex.
Romolini, Michele and Strauss, Eric G., "Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Reservoir Complex Survey" (2019). Center for Urban Resilience Reports. 2.