The narrative of South Central LA is a rich fabric of resident stories interwoven with physical and socio-economic conditions of place. How residents experience air quality and the built environment in this neighborhood goes beyond simply what exists in the air. It includes how long a resident has to wait for a bus to arrive at a busy commercial intersection due to lack of transit service, and youth walking past multiple auto body shops to get to school. These stories describe truck idling, lack of trash service, and noise pollution. But they also portray strong community bonds, cultural centers and spaces of pride.

As such, we made story-telling and capturing qualitative conditions a central element of the data project in order to capture the current snapshot of what living in South Central LA is really like. Through the Air Quality Academy, community members not only learned about the impacts that air pollution has on their health and which prevalent polluters exist in their community, but they also identified community treasures, or spaces that they value and cherish, as well as community challenges.