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LA River Urban Revitalization Panel
The Los Angeles River is the center of a massive restoration plan. Community leaders, environmentalists, and officials all have ideas about how the river should interact with natural habitats and the many diverse communities that surround it. Barbara Romero, deputy mayor of Los Angeles, Jill Sourial, The Nature Conservancy urban conservation director, and Richard Ambrose, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor, join moderator Mark Gold, UCLA associate vice chancellor of environment and sustainability, to discuss this urban revitalization.
When: Thursday, April 12th, 7:30pm
Where: Hammer Museum

Hammer Museum Conversations: Kanishk Tharoor and James Cuno
Journalist and author Kanishk Tharoor and president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust James Cuno discuss the role of museums and curators in piecing together cultural history from artifacts. Tharoor is the presenter and writer of the BBC radio series The Museum of Lost Objects and author of the fictional audio tour to Stories of Almost Everyone. A noted scholar and art historian, Cuno has authored several books, including Whose Culture?: The Promise of Museums and the Debate over Antiquities.
When: Tuesday, April 10th, 7:30pm
Where: Hammer Museum

The Great LA River Clean Up 2018 – Upper River
Great LA River Clean Up / La Gran Limpieza is back! The largest urban River cleanup in America starts April 2018.
For 29 years, FoLAR and our fellow Angelenos have cleaned the Los Angeles River and protected our oceans from trash and refuse. In 2017 we mobilized 10,000 volunteers to remove 100 tons of trash. Help us make 2018 even bigger. Join the movement this Earth Month as we come together to restore habitat, protect nature, and build community through the power of collective action.
When: Saturday, April 14th, 9 am – 12 pm
Where: Two locations: Sepulveda Basin / Balboa Sports Complex and Glendale Narrows Riverwalk

Just Say Oui! Supporting the Paris Climage Change Accord
Supporting the Paris Climate Change Accords at the Local Level
ASLA Southern California is joining with the Southern California Planning Congress (SCPC), the American Planning Association (APA) LA Chapter, and All Saints Church (ASC) coalition, in partnership with the AIA, Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP), The Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona, Climate Resolve, Path to Positive Los Angeles, Pando Populus is hosting a day-long summit aimed at bringing together planning and design professionals on the topic of climate action.
When: Saturday, April 14th, 9 am – 4 pm
Where: 132 N. Euclid Avenue, Pasadena, California 91101

Phantasma Gloria: Discover a glorious glasswork homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, hidden in Echo Park.
Phantasma Gloria is a sun-catching sculpture that creates a rainbow as the light refracts through “lenses” of colored bottles. Hosted by the creator and artist, Randlett “Randy” Lawrence, at his home, join Field Agent Robert Hemedes as we learn the history, science, and meaning of Phantasma Gloria.
When: Sunday, April 15th, 5 pm — 6:15 pm
Where: Los Angeles, California, 90026, United States

Sierra Club Zero Waste Fair-Expo
On April 7th the Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Zero Waste Team will be hosting an educational interactive Fair-Expo that will teach you how to get on the right path to becoming Zero Waste. Bring your whole family to this fun event at Grand Park, enjoy music, zero waste food, and meet wonderful organizations here in LA that are modeling what a zero waste lifestyle looks like. The Fair–Expo is FREE!
When: April 7th, 11am – 3pm
Where: Grand Park, 200 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, California 90012

Native Plant Celebration & Symposium
The annual Wildflower Show of the Los Angeles / Santa Monica Mountains chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is scheduled for April 7, 2018 at the Sepulveda Garden Center in conjunction with a simultaneous Native Plant Celebration & Symposium, plant and book sale. The Symposium will feature speakers throughout the day. Plants for sale will be available courtesy of our Symposium partner, the Theodore Payne Foundation. We welcome California native wildflower cuttings from your home gardens.
When: April 7th, 9am – 4pm
Where: 6117 Reseda Blvd Suite H, Reseda, California 91335

Intersection Luncheon: Dr. Lucy Jones with Congressman Adam Schiff
“Join Dr. Lucy Jones in conversation with Congressman Adam Schiff as they discuss the role of science in policy-making at the first Intersection Lunch presented by the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society.”
When: April 4th, 11:30am – 1:00pm
Where: Universal Studios Lot

Pasadena Transit to Trails Launch Party
Grab your TAP cards, wear your hiking boots and join us in celebrating the launch of the Pasadena Transit to Trails shuttle! Starting Saturday April 7th and into summer, the Pasadena Route 88 Shuttle bus will run from Memorial Park Gold Line Station to Sam Merrill Trailhead in Altadena, which is the access point for Echo Mountain and Inspiration Point. A one-way ride on the shuttle will cost $.75, and the fare can be paid in cash or with the balance on your TAP card.
When: April 7th, 9am – 12pm
Where: 85 E Holly St, Pasadena, CA 91103-3907

Creation Care at the Frontier of Missions
This event is for anyone with a missional heart who wants to deepen their understanding of environmental stewardship. Practitioners of environmental stewardship can deepen their understanding of the implications their work has for ministry to the unreached. Pastors, organizational leaders, and influencers can become champions of environmental missions.
When: April 6th – April 7th
Where: Frontier Ventures, 1605 E Elizabeth St, Pasadena, California 91104

Drawing Nature
Join Descanso favorite, artist R. Jay Ewing, for a brand new art series. Learn the foundations of drawing in this nature-based class for beginning and intermediate students. Please note: Advance registration required at http://bit.ly/2G6EBlG
When: April 7th, 10am-12pm
Where: Descanso Gardens

The Future of Preservation in Los Angeles: The Next 40 Years
What will historic preservation in Los Angeles look like over the next forty years? What’s the Conservancy’s role in addressing critical urban issues like density and housing? Who decides what to save? As we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Conservancy’s founding, we’re looking to the future and asking questions about preservation in Los Angeles. Our esteemed panelists (see below) will explore these questions and more as we discuss the role preservation will play in Los Angeles’ future. Moderated by Larry Mantle, host of KPCC’s AirTalk with Larry Mantle and a fourth-generation Angeleno, the panelists include:
Margaret Bach, founding president, Los Angeles Conservancy
Christopher Hawthorne, newly appointed chief design officer, City of Los Angeles; former architecture critic, Los Angeles Times
Luis Hoyos, architect and urban designer, former Conservancy board member, professor of architecture at the Cal Poly Pomona, College of Environmental Design, and member of the national ACHP – Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Michelle Magalong, executive director, APIAs in Historic Preservation (APIAHiP)
When: April 5th, 6pm – 7:30pm
Where: Los Angeles Public Library, 630 W 5th St, Los Angeles, California 90071

Extraordinary Estates
Pasadena’s Orange Grove Boulevard has long been known as “Millionaire’s Row” for the lavish mansions that once lined the street. Join Atlas Obscura Society Los Angeles for an in-depth tour of two famous estates that are still standing, The Gamble House & Fenyes Mansion, including access to secret doors and the maids’ quarters, not normally open to the public. The tour will include a full walkthrough of the home as well as the exclusive opportunity to see what’s behind some of the secret doors in the house. At the end of the tour, everyone will receive an assortment of postcards showcasing The Gamble House and/or Pasadena.
When: April 7th, 1:30pm – 4:30pm
Where: Fenyes Mansion, 470 W Walnut St, Pasadena, California 91103

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Image: AHBE Landscape Architects

Graphic: AHBE Landscape Architects

This month Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Los Angeles will be joining the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, revealing our first citywide Resilience Strategy. In addition, the mayor signed an executive directive to create Chief Resilience Officers, new positions for leading the way in taking steps to make Los Angeles a more resilient and stronger city. The Rockefeller Foundation has been taking charge in supporting governments, residents, agencies and designers to reimagine solutions to the complex problems facing our cities today.

By joining the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, the city of Los Angeles taps into the momentum of other places sharing common problems and solutions. After Hurricane Katrina, a strong partnership was forged between engineers, designers, and policy makers from the Netherlands to address water disaster issues and to plan in Louisiana. Similarly, The Bay Area Resilient By Design is forging new knowledge and solutions to strengthen the region’s resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding and earthquakes. AHBE submitted a proposal with Tetra Tech, Restoration Design Group, and Professor Barry Lehrman of Cal Poly Pomona (view our video here), working together to create small-scale implementable, testable, and scalable strategies for sea level rise.

A still from Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge by Evan Mather for AHBE Landscape Architects.

Southern California can learn from the research and site-specific design proposal generated by the Bay Area Resilient By Design initiative. These privately funded efforts and partnerships with local research universities are a force in creating a vision for mitigation and adaptation challenges facing our communities. We hope to see similar collaborations between the scientific and design communities addressing the issues specific to Los Angeles and Southern California coastal cities.

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Jessica, Jenni, Chuan, and Wendy searching for sea turtles along the San Gabriel River. Photos by Jenni Zell.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of exploring the Lower San Gabriel River and Los Cerritos Wetlands with colleagues, students, and Professor Barry Lehrman of Cal Poly Pomona. We abandoned our computers for the day to  set out to explore the waterways by kayak, bicycle, and on foot with the express purpose of direct and unmediated experience of this landscape, and also to collect primary perceptions to inform meaningful design.

I was there for adventure and to provide support AHBE’s collaborative studio with fourth-year landscape architecture students at Cal Poly Pomona. The students are spending their winter term exploring the speculative transformation of the AES Alamitos and the DWP Haynes power generating facilities from fossil fuel burning behemoths into something still yet unimagined (my colleague Brett Miller wrote about the collaboration).

Jessica and Chuan in the San Gabriel River channel. Photos by Jenni Zell.

The AHBE staff is playing a mentorship role again, collaborating with the senior Cal Poly Pomona studio to work together on a Long Beach remediation project exploring …

As we rode our bicycles along the levee of the soft-bottomed channel of the San Gabriel River we witnessed dozens of large silvery fish jumping out of the river with the seeming symmetry and choreography of a Busby Berkeley dance. Biologist Eric Zahn later informed me the fish were striped mullet, a species of fish commonly found in coastal estuaries and in the lower reaches of coastal streams.

Wendy and Chuan stopping to check out where the river channel transitions from a concrete lined waterway to a soft-bottomed flow.

But, why were these fish jumping? Striped mullet are known to feed on organic detritus like diatoms, bacteria, and micro-invertebrates. The fish were not trying to catch insects for food; and unlike topsmelt, which jump to avoid being eaten, the stripped mullet are about 18” and 3 pounds in size and had little need to jump to escape predators. According to Eric, we don’t really know why the fish jump.

During our bicycle ride we also observed several Pacific green sea turtles, a docile species occasionally found swimming in the San Gabriel River.

It is essential for landscape architects to know the occurrence and distribution of plant and animal communities in order to protect and restore critical ecosystem functions and to better understand how plants and animals respond to various conditions. The relationship between ecological science and design must be strengthened in our profession. AHBE’s collaboration with Cal Poly Pomona students is one effort to focus on the complex infrastructure of human modification and natural systems.

All photos: Brett Miller

The AHBE staff is playing a mentorship role again, collaborating with the senior Cal Poly Pomona studio to work together on a Long Beach remediation project exploring various solutions for an industrial site off the Los Cerritos Channel and the San Gabriel Channel. Our mutual goal: investigate long term site conditions spanning the next 100+ years.

The project began this month with a meeting and charette, with each student presenting their case study focusing upon interventions for our site. And this weekend, as part of the inventory/analysis phase of the project, the AHBE staff and students from Cal Poly took to the water together to kayak a stretch of the site.

Our visit gave our project partners a firsthand look at the site from the waterways/channels. While there are some main roads and paths skirting around the site, getting into the water and sharing space with the wildlife (both fauna and flora) offers a much more palpable and accurate experience versus simply scanning maps or even driving by/around the site.

Crossing under the Pacific Coast Highway bridge, the scenery dramatically changes to a barren industrial site (still featuring several functioning oil pump jacks). But even here amongst a landscape of industry can be found a thriving wetland in its center, an ecosystem only accessible by water. Our kayak tour concluded greeted by refineries, an industrial presence dominating the channel landscape.

Our Los Cerritos Channel excursion will play a valuable role in shaping our observations and work back within the studio, providing context for the students as they begin determining future interventions for the Los Cerritos Channel, San Gabriel River, and the surrounding environments.