Posts by AHBE LAB

All photos: Katherine Montgomery

Monarchs in My Garden, at Last: Finally, I decided to take the same approach to my pollinator garden I had once adopted for my vegetables: I watered and I weeded, after a fashion, but mostly I let it go its own way. Any number of things might have killed those caterpillars last year….Everything you touch in nature touches everything else. Even when you’re determined to do things right, there’s only so much you can control, and it’s not very much at all.

Willful Waters: “For much of its history, Los Angeles was a river city. Yet a mere 30 years ago, most Angelenos knew little about their local river, dismissing its concrete-encased trickle as a joke when they didn’t ignore it altogether. This is no longer the case. In the last decade, interest in Los Angeles’s urban river has skyrocketed.”

How Cities Can Prepare for Autonomous Vehicles: “Cities need strong policies to guide the future of automation and help communities shape powerful technologies around their goals, rather than the other way around.” These policies include reducing speed limits; continuing to invest in active modes of transit such as walking, cycling, and mass-transit; pricing curb access; and using data to create safer and more efficient streets.”

Sunkist Skies of Glory: “The ‘booster era’ of Los Angeles spanned roughly 40 years, from 1885 to 1925. Over these pivotal decades, rough-hewn and optimistic pioneering city leaders worked with creative writers, real estate barons, and artists to bring new settlers and new businesses to their dusty Wild West town. In creating a narrative to sell Los Angeles, these boosters often rewrote the city’s history and present situation to suit their idealized, European-American values.”

When Designing for Livable Cities, Resiliency and Inclusivity Go Hand-In-Hand: “The formula for the 21st Century city rising around the world, is predictable: Build a collection of sleek towers for housing, offices, and hotels; locate services, entertainments, schools, parks, walkways, and bike paths on the ground plane—then connect this healthy (read: car free) lifestyle by mass transit to the rest of the city and beyond. If you are among the high-salaried newbies looking for sanitized urbanity, you’re in the right place. But what if you’re a teacher or other essential service provider?”

Seed Library Open Hours & Programs: Food Waste: Rescuing Fresh Surplus Produce
As anyone who spends even a little time in Southern California knows, fruit trees are everywhere! One fruit tree can yield hundreds of pounds of fruit, which is generally far too much for one family to consume. That’s where Food Forward’s flagship program, Backyard Harvest, comes in. Volunteers pick fruit from trees on private properties and public spaces which is collected and distributed by local hunger relief agencies. Come learn about how you can get involved to reduce food waste and fight hunger in your community!
When: June 2nd, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Where: Altadena Library, Community Room

San Andreas Scavenger Hunt
Join Field Agent Hadley Meares on a rocky road trip across Southern California in search of the seismic hazards of the L.A. Basin and Mojave Desert that are shaping our earth and wrenching our neighborhoods apart—moving them in two opposing directions. $80.00
When: May 28th, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Caltech Seismo Lab, 1200 E. California Blvd, Pasadena

Late-Night! “The Jim Henson Exhibtion: Imagination Unlimited” at the Skirball
Kick off the weekend with a rare opportunity to see The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited after hours. Stop by anytime between 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. to enjoy late-night gallery hours, a DJ set by Timothy Nordwind of OK Go, roving puppeteers, and more.
When: June 1st, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Where: Skirball Cultural Center

Fungi: Feed Your Soil, Feed Your Plants
Fungi play a vital role in human and ecological health. Jerry Poupard, a San Bernardino County Master Gardener, will give an upside-down view of plant life from the perspective of living breathing soil. A myco-centric world view will change the way you look at gardening, landscaping, mushrooms, plants, and… DIRT!
When: June 2nd, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
Where: Chino Basin Water Conservation District, 4594 San Bernardino St, Montclair, CA 91763

LA Invents: Two Wheels, One Wheel, No Wheels
L.A.’s first car hit the street 120 years ago, and through the smog and spaghetti-bowl freeways, L.A. is renowned for its car culture (and traffic). But we’re starting to shift gears around here. We flirt with electric cars, pile into ride shares, trick out our bicycles, and hop aboard the Expo Line. In a city built for internal combustion, are we changing the rules of the road? Come listen to a discussion with Seleta Reynolds, Brian D. Taylor and Dan Koeppel, moderated by Los Angeles Times journalist Patt Morrison.
When: June 1st, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Natural History Museum, Los Angeles

Indoor Use Limits, Water Budgets and Aerial Data Gathering: California’s plan to wean us off water waste: “In the next 18 months, a small plane will fly over every city in California, recording data on what kind of plants are growing in our lawns, parks and street medians. That data will help determine where we’re wasting water, and help cities use it more efficiently.”

A Real-Life Enchanted Forest: “Finding echoes of Japan’s ancient past, and of the woodlands of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated masterpiece “Princess Mononoke,” deep among the trees of Yakushima island.”

Neri Oxman and Bio-Inspired Design: “In the first three industrial revolutions, new inventions were assembled from parts – as opposed to grown, like in nature. In the fourth industrial revolution, designers are operating at the intersection of the material, physical, digital and biological. In this presentation for the World Economic Forum, Neri Oxman – Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT Media Laboratory – discusses ideas including additive manufacturing using biopolymers and wearable devices involving microorganisms.”

ASLA Business Survey Presents a Mixed Picture for Landscape Architecture Firms: “Business conditions for the first quarter of 2018 reflected a mixed picture for landscape architecture firms, according to a new American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Business Quarterly survey. Leading indicators in the survey remained generally positive—inquiries for new work and plans to hire jumped. But billable hours dipped.”

Things Are Not Always As They Seem: “Now, here is where it gets really interesting. Results regarding the measurement of VAM mycorrhizal spores per gram of soil were shocking. About 95% of vascular plant species in the world belong to families that typically form mycorrhizae with specialized mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi are essential components of ecosystem dynamics and involved in many biological interrelationships. Vegetative areas measured 16 spores per gram of soil – Good. The grassland returned 67 spores per gram – Excellent, and the Rectangle of Death tested at 132 spores per gram of soil – Really Excellent. These data points had now completely altered our anticipated plan and changed our train of thought. How could a dying ecology return such high measurements?

2×8: Interlaced – Opening Reception
2×8 is a competition, exhibition, and scholarship fund for students at institutions of higher education throughout California. Opening Party for the 2018 2×8 Student Exhibition, Competition, and Winners Announcement celebrates the work of architecture students across the region. Then, discover who won this year’s 2×8 student competition. Light Refreshments and Libations!
When: May 22nd; 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: Helms Bakery District

The Architecture of Mark Mills
Mark Mills was one of the most creative California architects of the last 60 years. His unique, striking homes in the Carmel/Monterey area reveal an exceptional concern for site, structure, and space. Janey Bennett, author of Fantastic Seashell of the Mind, the award-winning book on Mills, will lecture on the work of this remarkable architect on Thursday, May 24, at 11:00AM in Phillips Hall 06-124. Cal Poly is closely connected to Mills: the archive of his work is held in Special Collections and Archives, Kennedy Library.
When: May 24th; 11:00AM
Where: Phillips Hall (06-124), Cal Poly Pomona

UCLA A.UD This, Not That Lecture: Brett Steele
“THIS, NOT THAT” is UCLA Architecture and Urban Design’s lecture series for the 2017-18 school year. The series brings together engaging speakers “to present arguments for their respective positions, or ideological stances, toward the design of the built environment. Their arguments will be supported by presentations of their creative efforts in research, pedagogy, or practice.”
When: May 21st; 6:30PM
Where: UCLA Perloff Hall, Decafe

Growing Habitat: LA’s Wildlife & Descanso
Descanso Gardens is a habitat for many living things: From heritage oaks, to native gray squirrels, to the vast network of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil underfoot. Growing Habitat: LA’s Wildlife and Descanso examines the idea that a healthy habitat is more than just a space with food, shelter and water. Come learn about the “wild side” our urban green space, and about some of the “habitat heroes” who work to improve the health and strength of our ecosystems.
When: May 21st; 10:00AM-4:00PM
Where: Descanso Gardens

Native Bee Basics
Want to start your own bee hive? Bee Rooted is a San Bernardino organization dedicated to humane live bee removals, but also teach classes in the benefits of promoting the lives of happy and healthy urban pollinators. Learn the basics about California’s native bee populations.
When: May 26th; 11:00AM-2:00PM
Where: Upland Public Library, 450 N Euclid Ave, Upland, California 91786


This SimCity-Like Tool Lets Urban Planners See The Potential Impact Of Their Ideas: “UrbanFootprint makes it easy to run simulations to see how a new plan might change traffic and commute times, the ability of kids to walk to school, access to jobs, energy use, the local economy, health, and carbon emissions.”

Elon Musk Unveils Video of His First Underground L.A. Tunnel: “Angelenos may be able to hitch a ride through town on Elon Musk’s first underground tunnel in just a few months — at least for a very short distance. The entrepreneur offered a glimpse Thursday night of what riders can expect from his proposal to help unsnarl the city’s traffic problems.”

Treeconomics: How to Put a Fair Price Tag on Urban Forests: “Recently, a band of “treeconomists” have begun to put a fair price tag on trees, accounting for the services they provide, from keeping our buildings cool to preventing skin cancer. The results are sometimes startlingly large – and can help people like Rodger plead the case for our cities’ trees.”

The History of Those Beautiful Jacaranda Trees in Bloom Around L.A.: “When you look up at a vibrant purple jacaranda tree—or a bush of bougainvillea, sprout of birds of paradise, or fragrant patch of jasmine, for that matter—you can thank Kate Sessions, a pioneering female horticulturalist who helped make over the natural environment of Southern California.”

We Can’t Forget About Mass Transit When We Talk About the ‘Future of Transportation’: “The best ideas for improving public transportation are simply not flashy. “More buses,” a crass distillation of the more intricate idea of a bus rapid transit system (which is arguably one of the better ways a city can improve the flow of its citizens), is just not as scintillating an answer as “fleet of self-driving cars,” or “flying cars,” or that blasted jetpack. Upgrading existing systems — hell, even our roads — would go a long way in making transportation better in this country.”