Posts by Gregory Han

Cruising a Superhighway Built for Bikes: “Imagine a world where a safe, usable bike route between neighboring towns isn’t good enough because there are stoplights interrupting it. That world is the Netherlands, where such “inadequacies” are recognized and responded to with full-throated government support. That’s how they build projects like the RijnWaalpad, an 11-mile cycling highway that sails between the southeastern cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen without a single stop.”

Being Hear – Preventing the all-consuming sound pollution of modern life starts with listening to nature: “At once a profile, a guided meditation and a call to action, Being Hear follows Hempton as he records sounds on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula – a National Park that contains the continental United States’ only rainforest. Combining Hempton’s measured words with striking scenes and sounds of the park’s lush vegetation, rippling waters and diverse animal life, the film suggests that ensuring that parts of nature remain untouched by human sound starts with us listening attentively and with intention.”

Best Places To Be Alone In Los Angeles: “Los Angeles is a massive city, where millions of residents shuffle from one place to the next and hustle to pay exorbitant rents. The proliferation of health-oriented activities and services in the city is sometimes a huge help, but often they’re massively popular and packed with people—a.k.a. the opposite of relaxing. So where do you go when you need some time away from your hectic life and all the people within it?”

MVRDV transforms 1970s highway into “plant village” in Seoul: “South Korea’s answer to New York’s High Line, the 983-metre-long park occupies a stretch of the 1970s highway destined for demolition. It now contains 24,000 trees, shrubs and flowers set into cylindrical planters.”

Nick Hummingbird of Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery: The Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery, located in Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park is only two years old, but the watershed is ancient. “I utilize my culture to teach people. I don’t tell them all our secrets, because there’s always room for exploitation, [but] I teach them a little bit so that they bring the plant and put it in their yard, and it opens up a door. They see the hummingbird come, and then they may use that plant for a tea or something and it works for them, and then they want to learn more. I call it the gateway drug – the gateway plants to the rest of the plants.”

Image: Park 101

Downtown Freeway Cap Park Reemerges: “The proposal to build park space above the U.S. 101 freeway’s Downtown Slot has been quiet for some time, but don’t count the project as dead quite yet. Representatives of Park 101 have begun circulating updated information on the project, which would cap four blocks between Grand Avenue and Los Angeles Street.”

As the Public Realm Merges With the Workplace, How Will Our Cities Change?: “Parks, plazas, courtyards, and semi-public places like cafés are often full of people working. Knowledge workers require significant flexibility in where and how they conduct collaborative versus focused work, and they need spaces to recharge; the public realm may help meet these demands. While an understanding of the motivations that drive knowledge workers is best left to further research, their participation in the public realm is undeniable, reflecting its value in the creation of intellectual capital.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti Thinks A Monorail Might Be The Answer To L.A. Traffic: “On KNX-AM, Garcetti praised the efficiency of a new monorail system in China, pointing to evolving technology from BYD Motors—a Chinese electric car and bus company that opened a North American headquarter in Downtown L.A. in 2011—as an improvement that could make the future of the Los Angeles monorail more viable.”

An Ohio City is Turning an Unused Highway Into a Pop-Up Forest: “Akron, Ohio hopes to fight urban inequality by removing a divisive highway. Other cities across America are looking into doing the same.”

In Praise of June Gloom, L.A.’s Most Underappreciated Weather Event: “People may praise L.A.’s copious supply of sunshine or wax poetic about the Santa Ana Winds, but if there’s one weather event in Southern California that is woefully underappreciated, it’s June Gloom. It’s the calm before the summer swelter, the two or three months of moody and mild weather that precede the scalding months of July, August and September.”

Image: Verdenskortet Facebook page.

After 25 Years, Danish Man Finishes Incredible Walkable Map Of The Earth: “The map is 300 feet by 150 feet and 10 inches on it corresponds to a scale of approximately 69 miles. Each country on the map is represented by a flag and U.S. states are represented yellow bricks. Red poles mark the equator, and you can play a globe-trotting game of mini golf across the grass. The map is located in the center of a park where you can also have a picnic and enjoy a cup of coffee and pastries after your adventure.”

Why Are So Many Trees Dying in Griffith Park?: “Steve Dunlap, a supervisor at the Department of Recreation and Parks Forestry Division, estimates that as many as 20 percent of Griffith Park’s trees could be killed as a result of the two foreign pests, although he admits there’s no way of really knowing just how bad the carnage will be. Especially vulnerable are the sycamore trees, many of which have already died and have been hauled away.”

Google Maps is being used to track air pollution in Oakland and other cities: “The Google Maps that have this information show how pollution levels can change in Oakland based on specific locations, street activity, and more. The idea is that posting this data in an easy visual way will assist communities to campaign for better air quality standards in their neighborhoods to their local and state governments. Google has already announced that its Street View cars with Aclima monitoring devices are currently measuring air quality in the Los Angeles and Central Valley regions of California, but they have not yet released data from those metro areas.”

Metro’s Tough Choice: Which Neighborhoods Deserve Rail Stations?: “Early planning showed the north-south line connecting the Crenshaw District to Hollywood, possibly veering through West Hollywood on its way to the Red Line’s Hollywood/Highland station. What has received considerably less discussion than the WeHo/Hollywood route is how Crenshaw will connect to Wilshire Boulevard and how it will interact with the mid-city neighborhoods it traverses.”

Tour the Getty Center’s spectacular Central Garden: “One of the center’s most impressive features is the 134,000-square-foot Central Garden designed by artist Robert Irwin. The sprawling green space contains over 500 species of plants from around the world, but when Irwin began work on the living sculpture in 1992, he knew very little about landscaping or horticulture.”

Design Now, or Design for the Future?”
The climate is changing. Long predicted impacts of a changing climate are now beginning to manifest with impacts out to mid-21st century dependent on greenhouse gases already emitted. Shall we start to design for a future climate today? Presented by COTE-LA, and hosted by Gensler, Dr. Robert Kay, Principal at ICF on Climate Change, and Heather Rosenberg, USGBC Ginsberg Sustainability Fellow and Director of USGBC-Los Angeles’s Building Resilience program, will address these questions in their work consulting, analyzing and shaping the future of cities like Los Angeles under the forces of climate change and rapid urbanization.
When: May 24th, 6.30 p.m. – 8.00 p.m.
Where: Gensler – 500 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California 90071

Activate the Rio Vistas with River LA & Broccoli City
Broccoli City satellite event with an emphasis on bringing diversity to celebrate nature along the River.Top LA based DJ playing music, selected food options and local vendors, speaking from select stakeholders, participatory activities highlighting the LA River.
When: May 27th, 12pm-3pm
Where: LA River

Nordic: A Photographic Essay of Landscapes, Food and People
Curated photographs from world renowned chef Magnus Nilsson will take you on a culinary journey through Sweden through his original travelogue photography with accompanying narratives that he wrote while conducting research for the project. The large-scale photographs transport visitors to the landscapes Nilsson encountered, the communities he visited, and personalities he met along the way. Admission is free.
When: Until May 31, from 8:00 am – 10:00pm
Where: Daily in Union Station’s Historic Waiting Room

Traction on Traction
A Reception Celebrating LA’s Social Change Makers. Past guests have included advocates from community-based organizations, elected officials’ and agency staff, philanthropy partners, and community members from across Los Angeles County.
When: May 25th, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where: Impact Hub LA, 830 Traction Ave. Third Floor

Will Farmed Fish Save Our Oceans?
Speakers will discuss recent studies by conservation scientists, the economics and sustainability of offshore aquaculture, how aquaculture could serve the restaurant industry, and the details of running an aquaculture operation. Speakers include: Jerry Schubel of the Aquarium of the Pacific, Halley Froehlich of UCSB, Sam King of King’s Seafood, Don Kent of Rose Canyon Fisheries, Kyla Wilson of UCLA; moderated by Peter Kareiva of UCLA.
When: May 25th, 7:00-8:30pm
Where: Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

Climb inside the massive tunnel 60 feet below downtown L.A.: “No hardhat or miner’s light required: A 360 video tour of a Los Angeles subway under construction. Look up. Look down. Look all around as you bore under the city of Los Angeles, 60 feet below the brew pubs and poke shops with a crew of hardhats and the mechanical gopher of a machine that’s clawing out a new subway route.”

Soil Microbes May Be Orchestrating Tree Migrations: “As the climate warms and some tree species shift toward cooler, more hospitable habitats, new research finds soil microbes could be playing a crucial role in determining where young trees can migrate and how well they survive when they arrive.”

The Future Of Cities Is Hidden Beneath Their Streets: “As many urban centers attempt to make themselves safer and greener, more cities are turning to history to rediscover their older selves–digging into a time before the car reigned supreme, when cities were more walkable, bikeable, and livable.”

It’s Already Happening: “Coastal erosion is undoubtedly related to rising sea level. As a consequence of the relative rise in the temperature worldwide, the icecaps are melting, bringing about a rise in the ocean level. In low altitude areas, like Saint Louis, these phenomena cause an overflowing called marine flooding.”

How Singapore Is Creating More Land for Itself: “Twelve percent of the island is occupied by roads. What’s above roads? Nothing! If you put roads under buildings, you free up some land.” Sky bridges and midair concourses are already a part of some public-housing estates. As Wang told me: “In the future, you might see a little town or offices above the expressways. We might create space above our container ports.”