Posts by AHBE LAB

Descanso Gardens photo by Justin Tarango; Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

KCET’s Lost LA: Descanso Gardens “Lost L.A.: Descanso Gardens” explores the history of one of southern California’s most-beloved public gardens. From its pre-colonial origins as an oak woodland to its contemporary role as a living museum, the film examines how the Descanso Gardens reflects the social, political and cultural evolution of Los Angeles.

Thirsty city: after months of water rationing Nairobi may run dry: “The water available to the city has plummeted. Nairobi’s water company is distributing 400,000 cubic metres a day, 150,000 less than it used to and 350,000 less than the city needs; 60% of the population lacks reliable water. Of 78 public boreholes, only 48 work. “Nairobi used to be a swamp but is no longer behaving like one. Our underground rivers have dried up.”

Magical, Striking Scenes From … Google Street View?: “When she lost her job in early 2016, Kenny spent a lot of time poking around on the internet. She made some interesting screen grabs on Google Street View a few years prior and decided to look for more. She quickly realized the project allowed her to explore locations she’d never visit otherwise. “I feel like I’ve kind of been to these places, even though I haven’t,” she says.”

An Elaborate, Beautiful, Failed Vision for Central Park: “This rejected design for Central Park, currently on display at the New-York Historical Society, is 8½ feet long. One of 33 entries in the 1857 design competition that chose a plan for the site, engineer John Rink’s plan was lost for years before being discovered in an attic in 2008.”

Did a Cancelled Memorial to Norway’s Utøya Massacre Go Too Far?: “Memory Wound” seemed to me, in truth, a bad idea, more lacerating than consoling, though only by a degree when compared with more successful precedents. The oblique-angled, black-marble walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, in Washington, and the deep, cascading pools on the site of the destroyed World Trade towers, in New York, also are excavations and also address the feelings of helplessness that attend irremediable loss. They, too, assume and may even amplify pain, but with instructive differences.

Forbidden City Walk
Walkers will explore once-common building types like bungalow courts and dingbats that were outlawed or suppressed – sometimes on purpose, sometimes unintentionally – by changes to zoning and building rules. We will end at a ‘backlash building’ – one of the places that inspired the height limits, downzonings, and other development restrictions common in the city. All participants will receive a timeline of significant land rule changes that created our forbidden city. Walk leader Mark Vallianatos is director of LAplus and a former LA Walks advisory board member.
When: July 29, 2017 at 9am – 12pm
Where: Vermont / Santa Monica Metro Red Line Station

Summer Nights at the Hammer Museum
KCRW and the Hammer Museum present four free nights of live music in the Hammer courtyard. A happy hour with food and cash bar starts at 6:30 p.m., KCRW DJ sets start at 7:00 p.m., and live music starts at 8:00 p.m. The museum’s gallery hours will be extended to 9 p.m. so guests can enjoy the exhibitions. Bring your dancing shoes every Thursday night in July! Amber Mark and Maria Del Pilar and KCRW DJ Liza Richardson.
When: July 27th at 6:30pm
Where: Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 90024

Abundant Housing L.A. – Pro-housing Happy Hour!
No speeches, just good times! Co-hosted with our friends at Happy Urbanists and Santa Monica Next. We’ve got the back patio at Arsenal reserved starting at 6:30pm – make sure to show up on time if you want happy hour prices! Food and drinks are both cheaper before 7pm. If you really, really can’t go a whole evening without talking policy though, we’ll have a table set up in the back where you can weigh in on the pro-housing policy agenda the policy committee is helping to assemble. Here’s a hint: upzoning. Upzoning everywhere!
Hosted by Happy Urbanists
When: July 24th at 6:30 PM – 9 PM
Where: The Arsenal, 12012 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90064

Silent and Classic Movie Nights at Heritage Square
Take a trip back into LA’s storied architectural past, bring your chairs, blankets, and picnics and enjoy classic films under the stars at Heritage Square. Projected onto the side our historic boxcar, enjoy the film amid our historic structures. Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for children (12 and under), and Free for museum members. Beverages, popcorn, and snacks will be available for purchase. July 29 – “On Moonlight Bay” (1951). Relax “with the mundane distractions of small-town life, the sweet innocence of period songs and the uncertain course of young love.”
When: July 29th, 7:30 p.m. and film will begin at 8:15 p.m. (or as darkness allows)
Where: 3800 Homer St, Los Angeles, CA 90031

Politicon
Politicon will be toasting to a third term as the quintessential non-partisan event of the year. We’re upping the ante with some of the biggest names in politics and the wittiest voices in comedy and entertainment, representing all sides of the political spectrum. Join us at the Pasadena Convention Center for a full weekend of panels, debates, art, podcasts, comedy shows, Q&A’s, book readings, interviews and meet & greets. With rooms ranging from 50-seaters to large-scale auditoriums, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with political heavyweights, revel in the endless humor, dissect documentaries and parodies with filmmakers, and maybe even interact with a few of history’s greatest leaders.
When: July 29th and 30th (various times)
Where: Pasadena Convention Center

with it which it as it if it is to be: A film by Eve Fowler
​Eve Fowler’s film with it which it as it if it is to be is an intimate study of the working practices of artists captured in their studios. Partially scripted as a feminist critique, the film features artists reading off-screen from queer feminist icon and writer Gertrude Stein’s short story Many Many Women. Part of a larger project informed by Stein’s writing, Fowler’s with it which it as it if it is to be is a film that seeks to bring Stein’s writing forward into the contemporary moment.
When: July 27th, 7pm
Where: MOCA, 250 South Grand Avenue, 90012

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Goat Hike & Picnic
Come join the herd on a short relaxing hike in the San Gabriel Mountains. Only 40 tickets are available for this event. We will take a gentle hike with the goats, moms and babies together, with lots of stops for them to enjoy fresh spring grasses. sagebrush and desert almond. During stops I’ll talk about the unique landscape at Angeles Crest Creamery and how the goats fit into the ecosystem, about what they eat and how their forage behavior changes seasonally.
When: Saturday, July 22nd, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM PDT
Where: Angeles Crest Creamery, 19830 Big Pines Hwy, Valyermo, CA 93563

Fellows in Focus: Placerita Canyon BioBlitz
Fellows members are invited to join us at Placerita Canyon, a park encompassing oak woodland, chaparral, and riparian plant communities on the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains, to help NHMLA learn more about the insects, birds, and lizards that call this preserve home. Hear from and work alongside our adventurous crew of scientists and educators seeking out answers to real-world questions. All attendees will get to participate in smoke fly catching with Brian Brown, bird watching with Kimball Garrett, ant traps with Terry McGlynn, and iNaturalist walks with Greg Pauly and Lisa Gonzalez.
When: Become a member and sign up for the walk on July 30th, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Placerita Canyon

In Conversation: Frank Gehry and Kurt Forster
Iconic architect Frank Gehry and renowned architectural historian Kurt W. Forster explore architectural differences and similarities between sister-cities Berlin and Los Angeles on the occasion of the exhibition Berlin/Los Angeles: Space for Music, on view at the Getty Research Institute from April 25 to July 30, 2017.
When: Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at 7 pm
Where: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Discussion: Arts District Murals
Since the migration of local artists to Downtown LA in the 1970s, the Arts District has become synonymous with murals, street art, and graffiti. Join us in the Public Garden for a conversation examining the history and culture of muralism in LA with art historian Isabel Rojas-Williams and muralists Kim West and Noni Olabisi.
When: Sunday, July 23, 2017, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Where: Hauser & Wirth, 901 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

FLAX: The distance is beautiful
Inspired by the complex landscape of the city, the dance performance enlists the participation of 60 professional and nonprofessional performers, exploring themes of community and identity, which are now more important than ever. Echoing recent unrest around the world, and setting off from different locations, the groups will march through the corridors of Downtown to gather at iconic Grand Park (200 N. Grand Avenue) for an epic performance.
When: July 22nd, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Avenue

Christoph Kilian: If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is
Carried aloft by weather balloon, a small cooling chamber rises up into the sky above Mount Hollywood. Upon reaching optimal temperature and humidity, a single snow crystal forms within the chamber and is ultimately released, falling to earth under the sun over Los Angeles. The balloon and chamber’s flight was documented by two high resolution video cameras. The launch site for the weather balloon and cooling chamber is located between two well-known Los Angeles landmarks: The Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign. Artist Christoph Kilian’s installation “If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is” is on view at the Goethe-Institut.
When: Monday – Friday July 17th thru July 21st (hours vary)
Where: GOETHE-INSTITUT, 5750 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 100, 90036

A significant amount of investment and accompanying interest has focused across the section of the Los Angeles River located north of Downtown Los Angeles. Some of that attention has been directed toward Long Beach where the LA River empties into the Pacific Ocean, but very little public awareness exists about the sections located between the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which include Cudahy [KUD-ə-hay],  Maywood, and South Gate.

AHBE Lab wanted to find out more about these stretches of communities following the river. Jiani Shen, a masters student at LSU, and Estevan Castenada, a bachelor’s student from Cal Poly Pomona, are both AHBE summer interns. They’ve been both tasked to gather information about this section along the Los Angeles River, asked to research upon open space recommendations, as well as report about connections to the adjoining communities. Both summer interns will share their observations about living within the Los Angeles landscape, this being our second post of the series from Jiani:

Our current relationship to the natural environment

We’ve long been capable of manipulating our natural environment to make our surroundings more beneficial for human activities and safety. People have always wanted to tame natural environments and make them predictable. The Los Angeles River is an example, a channelized river with a concrete bottom and sides. Because the river used to overflow its bank and intermittently flood the Los Angeles River basin, the city’s citizens and political leaders contained its flow within an approximately 450 feet wide channel.

The channel tames the river’s course and flow, stabilizing its velocity, and preventing flooding into surrounding neighborhoods.The construction of the channel took 22 years to complete. The stark concrete levee and concrete channel now manages the entire length of the Los Angeles River, from Valley to the ocean. However, this construction comes at a price: it prevents the river’s natural behavior and destroyed much of the ecological systems along the river.

The current flow of the Los Angeles River.

The original Mississippi River is another example of a waterway that frequently overflowed its banks. The river brought sediment down into the Delta during flooding, thus shaping the land. In the last 100 years humans constructed levees all along the river; the US Army Corp of Engineering built a levee to prevent the water directly flowing into Atchafalaya Basin area. The goal was to direct the river’s flow down toward New Orleans, supporting commercial river activities like shipping. As a result, the Mississippi River now has a longer river commercial route, which in turn helped New Orleans become a metropolitan city.

This map of an area just north of the Atchafalaya River shows a slice of the complex history of the Mississippi. The modern river course is superimposed on channels from 1880 (green), 1820 (red), and 1765 (blue). Even earlier, prehistoric channels underlie the more recent patterns. An oxbow lake—a crescent of water left behind when a meander (bend in the river) closes itself off—remains from 1785. A satellite image from 1999 shows the current course of the river and the old oxbow lake. Despite modern human-made changes to the landscape, traces of the past remain, with roads and fields following the contours of past channels.”

Our future relationship the natural environment
The Los Angeles River is now no longer a natural recreational area in the city’s citizens’ daily lives. However, we need to reconsider the resilient relationship between our city’s river and the urban environment that surrounds its entire length. We should find new ways to bring the LA River back into people’s life while preserving the cultural heritage that sprung forth from its existence. I believe there are three strategies Los Angeles needs to do to accomplish this goal of making the LA River an integral part of our city:

  • First: transform abandoned waterfront industries by renovating under-utilized land to improve the quality of life of neighboring communities.
  • Second: increase water front accessibility. For example, connect the bike trail from the upper river to the lower river, and enhance public transportation to river access points.
  • Third: facilitate ecological recovery, including enhance flood prevention capacity; restore LA River water quality and wildlife habitat.

Humans are naturally attracted to water and nature. When the Los Angeles River becomes a safe and ecological public recreational space it could become a new landmark instead of just an ideal place to shoot crime films.

A significant amount of investment and accompanying interest has focused across the section of the Los Angeles River located north of Downtown Los Angeles. Some of that attention has been directed toward Long Beach where the LA River empties into the Pacific Ocean, but very little public awareness exists about the sections located between the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which include Cudahy [KUD-ə-hay],  Maywood, and South Gate.

AHBE Lab wanted to find out more about these stretches of communities following the river. Jiani Shen, a masters student at LSU, and Estevan Castenada, a bachelor’s student from Cal Poly Pomona, are both AHBE summer interns. They’ve been both tasked to gather information about this section along the Los Angeles River, asked to research upon open space recommendations, as well as report about connections to the adjoining communities. Both summer interns will share their observations about living within the Los Angeles landscape, with a first post from Estevan:

Graphic by Estevan Castaneda

Is there a link between housing values and the geographic elevation levels across Los Angeles?

The answer to this question may not have a direct answer. From personal experience, I’ve associated houses on higher elevations with a higher value because of the seclusion from noise and their inclusion of beautiful views. But this is not always the case. When does elevation become a valuable feature and when does it devalue a location?

Downtown Los Angeles from behind the Hollywood Sign” by James Gubera. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

My theory is that a combination of components come into play: the neighborhood’s average income, the availability of transportation, and the elevation of one’s home. Income level would likely play a role in the possibility of the home occupants owning a car. If a family can buy a car, their need for public transportation diminishes. But when families cannot afford a car, then access to public transportation becomes a top priority.

This ties closely with the availability, or lack thereof, of other transportation modes. Let us consider two cities, Beverly Hills and Boyle Heights. These cities exist at the opposite levels of income and public transportation spectrum and present different values in relation to their similar elevations. In the case of Beverly Hills, where the top fifth percent earns up to $660,000 per year, public transportation options are sparse. This has little to no effect on the high-income communities in Beverly Hills, but it does affect the low-income communities that live there. Some families in Beverly Hills earn as little as $14,000, and public transportation is their only option for getting to and from their jobs.

“Hollywood and Beverly Hills” by Aito Aguirregabiria. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In the case of Boyle Heights, the public transportation system is not sparse, but the amount of high quality transportation is lacking. The highest quality mode of public transportation in Boyle Heights is the Gold Line, which opened in 2009. This neighborhood’s average income is around $33,000, while the Los Angeles County average is about $58,000. Thus, the need for proper public transportation to connect these neighborhoods to the larger city of LA exists.

“Hollywood and Beverly Hills” by Aito Aguirregabiria. Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Elevation ties both factors if average income and available transportation together, creating value. Usually when homes are put on a higher elevation, they are separated from main streets and the nuisances such as noise, pollution, and trash that comes with living in close proximity of other citizens. In Beverly Hills, this results in an idealized neighborhood with a higher average housing value. But the opposite can be true when higher elevation separates people from proper public transportation. In Boyle Heights where a car is not always as readily available, this can mean a walk down or up steep slopes,which is not a desired everyday route for older and disabled citizens.

There are other variables that ultimately affect property values, but this is just my theory…

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