101 things to love about Los Angeles: “Yes, the weather is perfect. But there are so many more under-the-radar reasons why people love the City of Angels—moments, places, and experiences that make living here so pleasant and unbelievably magical that sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re still alive or have died and gone to heaven. Let’s count the ways we love LA.”
Coded Geographies: “What if the stories L.A. told about itself relegated you to the margins? This episode explores two underground guidebooks — The Negro Travelers’ Green Book and The Address Book — that reveal the hidden geographies many Angelenos had to navigate, exposing Los Angeles as a place of coded segregation and resistance.”
Not Gone. Yet.: “In a time of great upheaval for the United States, it is hard to keep track of the many risks to our national landscapes. Even our nationally recognized and federally protected sites are under threat from privatization or lax oversight, making them vulnerable to destructive practices that place monetary gain over equitable enjoyment of parkland. Open Season on Open Space, this year’s Landslide program from the Cultural Landscape Foundation, minces no words on this subject, calling out municipalities, states, and the federal government for undermining a century’s worth of progress for our public lands, parks, and national monuments.”
This great L.A. walk takes in architectural gems, and fine city views: “An important L.A. architectural artifact and a small public green space, hidden in the heart of East Hollywood, are the backdrop for this short stroll in the Barnsdall Art Park. It’s mostly flat, but involves several staircases. Shady on a hot day, this 36-acre park offers fine views of the city and a lovely lawn for picnics.”
City approves final plan for education center at Deukmejian Wilderness Park: The 26-year-old vision for an education center at Deukmejian Wilderness Park in north Glendale is one step closer to reality, following a vote by the Glendale City Council Tuesday. The 709-acre park near the San Gabriel Mountains has 7 miles of recreational trails. About 12 of those acres are home to a park center and the historic Le Mesnager Barn, built between 1914 and 1918, according to city documents.
As 2017 year comes to a close, the AHBE LAB contributors are taking time to look back at our year’s worth of posts. We are each identifying the most memorable post and sharing what we found interesting, informative, and inspiring. Enjoy the flashback, and let us know which post you thought was most memorable.
I remember my colleague Clarence Lacy offered an excellent post in July chronicling his visit to the Salton Sea. His post’s title, Is the Salton Sea a Temporal or Failed Landscape?, asks an important and specific question about this fascinating oddity of the California landscape.
The Salton Sea is a manmade anomaly born out of our thirst for water and a consequence of creating the state’s water infrastructure. The Salton Sea is both a living monument to Southern California’s historic water-grab in the early 20th Century, and also an example of how our natural environment adapts to humankind’s follies.
Clarence’s photos are memorably beautiful, haunting, and disturbing. His post represents what I consider to be the best of what the landscape architecture profession aims to accomplish, asking the questions that help us understand our relationship with the earth and our place in it.
The original post here: Is the Salton Sea a Temporal or Failed Landscape?
New renderings released for Pershing Square redesign: “Highlights of the redesign include a reflection pool meant to capture the image of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel and new landscaping features that designers promise will give the park a “welcoming ecology with gardens, grasses and lawns.”
Current Wildfire and Smoke Conditions: 2017 Statewide Fire Map offers live updates of the ongoing fires impacting numerous communities across Southern California this week. Locals and visitors to Los Angeles seeking information on related closures or possible visitor impact can find relevant information on this page, which will be updated frequently.
Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles: I thought I understood what he was saying, that L.A. was diffuse, disorganized, that the center did not hold. It took me years, perhaps a decade, to recognize that this was, in itself, the point. Los Angeles was a chaotic landscape, a collage in three dimensions, “America’s first postmodern city.”
Top 10 architecture and design movies of 2017: Design site lists the best of their videos dedicated to architecture and design for the year 2017. Our favorite: Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s concealed stone statue of the buddha hidden within a hill covered in lavender plants.
Uncovering a buried movie sphinx in California: “Archaeologists uncover a sphinx from a nearly century old movie set built by legendary director Cecil B. DeMille on the Central Coast of California. The sphinx was one of over twenty that once adorned one of the largest movie sets ever built. “
Why cities are full of uncomfortable benches: When designing urban spaces, city planners have many competing interests to balance. After all, cities are some of the most diverse places on the planet. They need to be built for a variety of needs. In recent years, these competing interests have surfaced conflict over an unlikely interest: purposefully uncomfortable benches. Enter the New York City MTA. They’ve installed ‘leaning bars’ to supplement traditional benches & save platform space. But designs like this carry an often invisible cost: they rob citizens of hospitable public space. And the people who experience this cost most directly are those experiencing homelessness.
Los Angeles Is Ready for the Next Mobility Revolution: “Seventy percent of Los Angeles commuters still drive to work, but the civic zeitgeist is shifting—and the city is positioning itself as a laboratory for transportation startups.”
An animated map of every Los Angeles commute: “Stuck in traffic on the freeway, drivers’ angry first thoughts are probably, “Where are all of these people even coming from?!” Now, thanks to these lovely commute maps, we can see the answer for ourselves. The maps, created and provided to Curbed by “data enthusiast” Mark Evans, use US Census data from the American Community Survey to plot the commutes of workers who travel between 20 and 100 miles to work in various counties across the US, cays CityLab.”
Narrow Streets Do More With Less: “Narrow streets confer aesthetic benefits too, not just safety benefits. You can have a canopy of trees overhanging the entire street. In Florida in June, let me tell you, that “jungle” feeling in older neighborhoods like mine is a godsend. With narrow streets and generous foliage, you can pack in quite a bit of population density, too, in a way that doesn’t feel “dense” and “urban” to people, and is thus perhaps less objectionable to aesthetic sensibilities.”
What if everything you know about the suburbs is wrong?: “Infinite Suburbia, is built for an alternative discourse that can open paths to improvement and design agency, rather than condemning suburbia altogether. Our goal? To construct a balanced, alternative discourse to architecture and urban planning orthodoxy of “density fixes all,” and in doing so ask: Can suburbia become a more sustainable model for rethinking the entire urban enterprise, as a vital fabric of complete urbanization?”
Our editorial staff is not writing this week in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. We wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.