East Las Vegas Special Area Plan
Following the adoption of its 2050 Master Plan, the city of Las Vegas identified East Las Vegas as the first of 16 areas within the city for a more focused action plan. City leaders recognized the history of disinvestment by both the public and private sectors and that East Las Vegas bore a disproportionate share of negative indicators for health, safety, educational, and environmental outcomes. They were eager to build trust with residents and implement master plan strategies that would mitigate disparities and guide investment in the community.
The Nuestro Futuro/Our Future East Las Vegas planning process became a valuable avenue of two-way communication—sharing with city leaders the types of improvements residents wanted, and sharing with residents the resources the city was eager to put into action. The resulting plan provides specific, community-driven strategies aimed at building a more resilient, healthy community that provides equitable access to services, education, and jobs.
Considerable community engagement was the foundation of the plan. East Las Vegas has a thriving and growing Latinx community, so SmithGroup partnered with Ericka Aviles Consulting, a local marketing and public outreach firm.
Bilingual outreach included conducting focus groups; speaking and sharing videos at community events; holding pop-ups at groceries and other local gathering spots; inviting input via surveys and social media; and paid advertising such as highway billboards. An advisory committee and Councilwoman Olivia Diaz further engaged the community through their personal networks.
Informed by this wealth of feedback and the guiding principles of the Las Vegas Master Plan, the Nuestro Futuro plan distills the project into five priority policies to guide the future of East Las Vegas. These “5 Big Ideas” are Empower Entrepreneurship, Invest in the Public Realm, Create a Sense of Place with Mixed-Use Hubs, Encourage a Greener East Las Vegas, and Commit to Health & Public Safety. The plan then spells out specific recommendations, as well as current and future strategies to meet those recommendations.
The broad community involvement and the transparency of Nuestro Futuro has empowered the East Las Vegas community. With a better understanding of the resources and investments being deployed on their behalf, residents feel heard, respected, and served by their city.