Though many consider West Hollywood the epicenter of the design and entertainment industries, the city is slowly, but surely making a name for itself on the sustainability front as well. From compostable coffee cups to biking initiatives, small changes are signaling that LA’s hippest area is reinventing itself as an eco-friendly haven.
In 2011, the city of WeHo released its General Plan 2035, a proposal that included a highly ambitious Climate Action Plan (CAP), which received a Compass Blueprint Recognition Award and attention from the Association of Environmental Professionals. The plan outlines a six-point strategy for greenhouse gas reduction, including land use and community design, energy use, water use, waste reduction and recycling, transportation and mobility, and investment in green spaces.
In addition, the city is encouraging its residents to pursue solar energy systems and choose clean power options. Both the WeHo Library and the West Hollywood City Hall have solar arrays, and plans are in the works to increase solar viability at West Hollywood Park, a project slated to be completed in 2019. Other community initiatives include the use of energy-efficient lighting, green-certified building materials, and reclaimed water on landscapes. All of WeHo’s new commercial buildings are required to be solar-functioning. In fact, the entire city is hoping to move to zero net energy consumption in the coming years.
West Hollywood isn’t lacking in public art — the city has plenty of murals, quirky statues, and lively storefronts. But WeHo’s own Green Public Art Consultancy is looking to make eco-friendly public art a priority both within the city boundaries and abroad. Their expertise lies in planning, community engagement, and sustainable urban design, and their talent shows in multiple exhibits that have popped up around West Hollywood and around the world.
Examples include “Parallel Perpendicular” in WeHo Park, “826 Kings Road,” “Net of Indra” at the City Hall parking structure, “Light Gate” in Manhattan Beach, “50 Hedrons” in Garden Grove, and more.
Visitors to WeHo have the opportunity to hike at nearby Runyon Canyon with local business and tour company Bikes & Hikes LA. The LA-based guides teach about the area’s unique factors and problems, specifically LA’s ubiquitous car culture — and subsequent pollution. Fortunately, WeHo residents are attuned to the issues, and the company was part of an initiative to reintroduce biking to WeHo’s residents as an eco-friendly alternative to driving.
Over the past few years, the city of WeHo has updated its Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan, which aims to develop safer and more accessible routes for bicyclists by building bike-friendly lanes, shallows, and docking systems. Recently, the city has also seen an influx of bike-sharing companies, including WeHo pedals, which has partnered with the Beverley Hills bike share to offer a combined 830 bikes at 135 unique docking stations around the city.
WeHo’s legislative departments aren’t the only ones enacting sustainable change. Many local businesses are getting in on the action, including hotels. WeHo’s most hospitable locations are equipped with energy-efficient lighting, recycling initiatives, and earth-friendly toiletries, and they offer sustainable housekeeping practices regarding the frequency of linen and towel washing.
E-charging stations for electric cars are widely available on the streets of WeHo as well, and the city has also banned plastic bags at retail and food stores, a sign of sweeping cultural and governmental change.
The city of WeHo is home to some of California’s most sustainable restaurants and eateries. From a host of vendors that masterfully create using the state’s bounty, local favorites include Gracias Madre, a plant-based eatery focused entirely on healthy Mexican dishes; FARMHOUSE, a family-owned restaurant that uses farm-fresh ingredients; and Tender Greens, which serves seasonal and responsibly sourced foods. Other WeHo favorites include celebrity-favorite CATCH, which champions sustainable fishing practices.
Additionally, WeHo provides resources for restaurants looking to green their businesses, including information on waste stream management, recycling food products, composting, site planning, and energy management. The city also supports a number of family farms and CSAs that provide fresh produce to locals and establishments.