Posts by AHBE LAB

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Las Pilitas Nursery: Planting Guide for California Native Plants: With arrival of spring, gardening is on the mind of many. But unlike many non-native plants cultivated to thrive with amended soil and additional water delivered by sprinklers or drip irrigation, California natives require some forethought about placement and care to establish their growth. Here’s a helpful (and short) how-to establish California native plants.

Los Angeles: Focus on Urban Design (Not Just Urban Planning): “Los Angeles’ suburban context presents rich opportunities for better urban design, precisely because so much land is underutilized. Ample circumstantial evidence points to L.A. using more than 60 percent of its land for cars. Roads and parking lots consume vast amounts of potential open space—around buildings, between roads and other roads, and even between roads and parking lots. Very little of this land is usable for humans or a valuable contribution to the urban environment.”

Nature Without Biodiversity – Urban Climate Adaptation Has a Blind Spot: “In a study published in the journal Geo: Geography and Environment, researchers led by Natalie Butt, an ecologist at the University of Queensland, reviewed climate adaptation plans from 80 cities around the world. Greenery is ubiquitous in them, but “just 18 percent of the plans assessed contained specific intentions to promote biodiversity,” they found.”

U.S. sets a nationwide goal to end traffic deaths by 2050: “Traffic deaths continue to plague U.S. streets, with pedestrian deaths reaching a 33-year high last year. Now, federal safety agencies are stepping in with an ambitious strategy to completely eliminate road fatalities nationwide by 2050.”

Paving the Way For Iconographic Landmarks: “These places have become landmarks, and their bold, concrete entryways sidewalks, and courtyards have quite literally paved the way for their iconography…see how the creative and innovative use of Stepstone pavers have elevated quintessential Los Angeles locations, both old and new, turning them into emblematic memorials.”

Modern Hiker at the L.A. Breakfast Club
Modern Hiker’s Casey Schreiner is VERY happy to be speaking at the famous The Los Angeles Breakfast Club on April 25th, delivering a lecture on some of the best hikes all around Los Angeles. If you haven’t been before, you are in for a treat — the meetings are full of wonderful people who are into all sorts of history, the Club’s weekly meetings feature a variety of L.A. historians and enthusiasts, you get a tasty breakfast, AND you’ll be a part of one of the most interesting pieces of Los Angeles history that’s still active!
When: April 25th, 7 AM – 9 AM
Where: The Los Angeles Breakfast Club, 3201 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles 90027

Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece
Writer and artist Michael Benson speaks in conjunction with the publication of his new book chronicling the creation of 2001: A Space Odyssey, from the initial conception and brainstorming between Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke in New York through production and postproduction in the United Kingdom and continuing with the film’s rocky release. The talk includes many behind-the-scenes images and clips from the film. In reviewing the book, filmmaker Martin Scorsese noted, “Michael Benson’s lively, exciting and exhaustively researched book expands our understanding of what is truly one of the greatest films ever made.” Benson’s last book, Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time (Abrams, 2014) was short-listed for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the Science and Technology category.
When: April 23rd, 7:30pm
Where: LACMA l Bing Theater

Every Picture Tells A Story
Every picture tells a story; and while a photograph may be worth a thousand words, often it also demands them. A history of California can be told, not only from historical images, but from modern landscape views. Richard White, Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University and the Rogers Distinguished Fellow at The Huntington, uses images shot by landscape photographer Jesse White to explore California’s story. Free; no reservations required.
When: April 25th, 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Huntington, Rothenberg Hall

Downtown Modernism
Modernica‘s biannual Downtown Modernism market for vintage modern design will be returning to Los Angeles on Sunday, April 29th. Collectors, connoisseurs, and treasure hunters will once again have the chance to peruse countless mid-century, modernist, and vintage artifacts from Modernica’s hand-picked group of modern dealers. Adults $8, Children 12 and under Free, pet friendly
When: April 295th, 8am-2pm
Where: 2901 Saco Street Los Angeles, CA 90058

Conserving Biodiversity and Bird Habitat When Land Is Developed
Opportunities exist to conserve biodiversity in cities and neighborhoods. This workshop introduces participants to the key principles and practices required to conserve biodiversity across cities, both for green infrastructure development and retrofitting areas. Participants will also learn about an online evaluation tool, called “Building for Birds.” This tool allows decision makers to manipulate amounts of forest fragments (urban/rural) and tree canopy (in residential areas) and determine the best designs for conserving bird habitat. In addition, participants will learn about strategies to protect birds from collisions with glass, trends in urban forest canopy in Los Angeles, and resources to understand patterns of bird diversity across the City.
When: April 25th, 12:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Where: Los Angeles Environmental Learning Center at Hyperion, 12000 Vista Del Mar, Gate C, 90293

Can Dirt Save the Earth?: “But the newer model stressed the importance of living plants. Their rootlets are constantly dying, depositing carbon underground, where it’s less likely to go airborne. And perhaps more important, as plants pull carbon from the air, their roots inject some of it into the soil, feeding microorganisms and fungi called mycorrhiza. An estimated 12,000 miles of hyphae, or fungal filaments, are found beneath every square meter of healthy soil. Some researchers refer to this tangled, living matrix as the “world wood web.” Living plants increase soil carbon by directly nourishing soil ecosystems.”

Gardening as a Kid Indicates that You’ll Eat Fruits and Veggies as a College Student: “A new study performed at the University of Florida sought to understand the connection between gardening as a kid and habits later in life—specifically, during the part of life when kids are most likely to eat gigantic plates of bad fried food while drunk, i.e. at college. The study was part of an initiative from eight American universities with the frankly bizarre name of Get Fruved, which apparently stands for fruits and vegetables.”

What You’re Getting Wrong About Inclusive Design: “Take the curb cut. It’s a great example of inclusive design that wasn’t universal. In the early version of those curb cuts, there was no indicator for someone who was blind that they were coming to the street corner. It was really bad! They had no indicator they were walking into the street. The tension with universal design is how you design something that works for everyone in all scenarios, with every contingency. That’s one of the challenges of understanding inclusive design when we look at the object, saying, “This design is inclusive design.” In those cases, often what we mean is universal design.”

Computational Ecosystems: As argued in his March 13 LAM Lecture (and in his recent book Responsive Landscapes, written with Justine Holzman, ASLA), the future of landscape architecture is one of designing protocols for how natural systems behave, and tuning these algorithms and eventually the land itself, thus loosening the stranglehold static and monofunctional infrastructure has on the planet. “It’s not about us controlling every aspect,” he says. “It’s about us setting a range of ways those behaviors can act within.”

What the Meadow Teaches Us: “Such an experience of the harmony between a landscape and its lifeforms is probably not the result of objective analysis. But this is precisely the point: If you let the calyxes and grasses slide through your hands amid the firefly flurries, celebrating the coming summer, you don’t just perceive a multitude of other beings—the hundred or so species of plants and countless insects that make up the meadow’s ecosystem. You also experience yourself as a part of this scene. And this is probably the most powerful effect of experiences in the natural world. When you immerse yourself in the natural world, you wander a little through the landscape of your soul.”

City Council approves long-awaited people mover to LAX: “To applause from a City Hall audience, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved up to $4.9 billion to design, build, operate and maintain an elevated train that will whisk passengers in and out of LAX’s central terminal area and carry them to a car rental facility, a ground transportation hub and a station on the Metro Crenshaw Line.”

Explore an Interactive Aerial Map of the Past: “While there are all kinds of online mapping tools that allow you to place filters, overlays, and other information on aerial and satellite imagery, this map tool makes time a variable, so you can see what a location—roads, buildings, forest, and more—once looked like. You can then add all the modern overlays we’re used to—like opening a portal across decades. “We refer to it as a virtual time machine.”

Nice shades: 7 Fast growing shade trees to slash your electric bill: “Trees that can serve to cast shade come in all shapes and sizes, and for many different climates and planting zones, so there are plenty of options to choose from. However, because most of us are very impatient, one of the most common requirements that people have in choosing varieties is that they be fast growing shade trees. Here are 7 of the most popular fast growing varieties of trees that can add shade to your property.”

The Myth That Everyone Naturally Prefers Trains to Buses: “Paraphrasing a former mayor of Los Angeles, Hensher tells CityLab there’s an overwhelming perception “that buses are boring and trains are sexy.” That mindset complicates the discussion of mass transit plans in growing metros: though advanced bus systems can perform as well or better than streetcar or light rail systems for less money, people would rather have trains.”

Here’s what the first blooms of spring look like, according to California and U.S. maps: “Many plants in Southern California had their first bloom before Groundhog Day on Feb. 2. While the East has been hit by winter storm after winter storm, it’s been planting season in Southern California for a month. The map above from the National Phenology Network shows the number of growing degree days (days with temperature high enough to grow plants) since January 1st.”

Stormwater Capture, Treatment and Recharge for Urban Water Supply: Traditionally, the approach to stormwater management viewed urban runoff as a flood management problem in which stormwaters need to be conveyed as quickly as possible from urban areas to waterways in order to protect public safety and property. Consequently, stormwater has been seen as a problem, and not a resource…But what if we could capture that stormwater, treat it, and use it to recharge groundwater?

Construction on LA River’s Atwater Village-Griffith Park bridge to start in April: “Construction on a striking and expensive bridge to connect Atwater Village and Griffith Park is about to get underway. Preparation for the $16-million bridge’s construction is beginning this week, with major construction starting in mid-April, says city engineering bureau spokesperson Mary Nemick. The work is slated to wrap up next fall.”

Why Working Long Hours Won’t Make You A “Better” Architect: “I don’t believe great architects are born but rather through years of consistent, focused work can develop the skills and connections required to succeed. This is why long hours are often associated with younger architects. Not only do they feel the need to “prove themselves” but also they haven’t seen many of the design problems before. Therefore they need to learn each solution for the first time.”

Bijlmer (City of the Future, Part 1): When the first few buildings were finished in the late 1960s, advertisements depicted a paradise with modern apartment towers, surrounded by lush green grass and trees. De Bruijn and his wife moved into the complex in 1969. “I lived on the 9th floor,” he recalls, and “I had a four-room apartment: three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, beautiful bathroom, and a balcony that was two meters wide and twelve meters long. It was a paradise of a balcony.”