Posts tagged Friday Five

Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities', Illustrated Isaura. Image © Karina Puente Frantzen

Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’, Illustrated – Image © Karina Puente Frantzen

Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’, Illustrated: Lima-based architect Karina Puente has a personal project: to illustrate each and every “invisible” city from Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel. The book, which imagines imaginary conversations between the (real-life) Venetian explorer Marco Polo and the aged Mongol ruler Kublai Khan has been instrumental in framing approaches to urban discourse and the form of the city.

Santa Monica Airport to become public park in 2029: “Marking an end to a years-long legal and political struggle, the Santa Monica City Council announced an agreement with the United States Federal Government last weekend that calls for the closing of Santa Monica Airport on December 31, 2028. Upon closing, the site will be converted into a public park.”

How much storm water is LA catching?: “I think this storm here has really demonstrated where the shortcomings are in our local water system. We’ve barely scratched the surface on what we can do in the eastern San Fernando Valley in trying to capture more of that precious rainfall from the sky and have it actually infiltrate into the ground and get into our groundwater supply.”

As Climate Change Accelerates, Floating Cities Look Like Less of a Pipe Dream: “An audacious plan to respond to climate change by building a city of floating islands in the South Pacific is moving forward, with the government of French Polynesia agreeing to consider hosting the islands in a tropical lagoon. The project is being put forward by a California nonprofit, the Seasteading Institute, which has raised about $2.5 million from more than 1,000 interested donors.”

Metro CEO hints at possible express train to LAX: “As construction continues on the Crenshaw/LAX Line and a long-sought rail connection to LAX gets closer to reality, Metro is already considering ways to speed up the trip from the airport to Downtown Los Angeles. During a panel discussion at Urban Land Institute’s Future Build conference, Metro CEO Phil Washington revealed the transit agency might explore adding an express train that would shuttle passengers between LAX and Union Station.”

Reimagined: Synthesized Soundscapes of California: “I visited the region from September through October 2014, on a soundscape ecology project purposed to create a sonic profile of California parks, their biophonies and geophonies.To my surprise, every park I visited was a ghost world. Many of the famous forests – Yosemite, Sequoia, Big Sur – were either scorched by wildfires or parched bone dry by the drought. I found no predominant biophonic activity. Throughout over 30 excursions into the wilderness, I was mostly only ever able to capture geophonic sounds – wind, small brooks, trees creaking, rain.


7 ugly urban underpasses now functioning as public parks: “Elevated highways and rail lines were long overdue for a makeover. While freeway cap parks—or removing freeways entirely—have become increasingly popular to reunite cities fragmented by urban highways, capping isn’t always feasible. Instead, many cities are turning transit underpasses into public parks, replacing trash, overgrown weeds, and dark passageways with art installations, funky lights, and pedestrian thoroughfares.”


"Artist Lauren Bon wants to create a new imaginative delta, where the wastewater that normally runs out to the Pacific Ocean will go back into the city, modeling a new way for L.A. to imagine managing its water more sustainably."

“Artist Lauren Bon wants to create a new imaginative delta, where the wastewater that normally runs out to the Pacific Ocean will go back into the city, modeling a new way for L.A. to imagine managing its water more sustainably.”

Artist Lauren Bon reimagines the L.A. Aqueduct: “Bon wants to ‘bend the river back into the city’ with La Noria, a grand piece of art that she sometimes calls ‘a device of wonder’ and at other times ‘avant-garde nostalgia.’ In the process, she has shaped her artistic practice to shake the foundation of L.A.’s relationship with the river and water by demystifying the Los Angeles Aqueduct, acquiring the first individual water right on the river in more than a century, and soon, penetrating the river’s concrete channel to reestablish a connection between the city and its source.”

Industrial scars: The environmental cost of consumption – in pictures: “Environmental artist J Henry Fair captures the beauty and destruction of industrial sites to illustrate the hidden impacts of the things we buy – the polluted air, destroyed habitats and the invisible carbon heating the planet.”

BIOVESSEL an Ecosystem Powered By Food Waste: “An indoor ecosystem that decomposes food waste the natural way. The significant elements to replicating a natural environment for decaying are earthworms and soil. The crawling creatures break down the food into miniature pieces which get mixed in the soil, dispersing the nutrients from the food waste.”

Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here: “Amazingly, Israel has more water than it needs. The turnaround started in 2007, when low-flow toilets and showerheads were installed nationwide and the national water authority built innovative water treatment systems that recapture 86 percent of the water that goes down the drain and use it for irrigation — vastly more than the second-most-efficient country in the world, Spain, which recycles 19 percent.”

2016 Los Angeles Voter Guide: Because we know we all need a little more information – “A breakdown of important neighborhood issues appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot”


This Floating Desalination Megastructure is Designed to Combat California’s Water Shortages: “Most recently, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) asked architects, artists and scientists to conceive sustainable infrastructure projects to improve Santa Monica’s water supply. The competition’s 4th-prize-winning team Bart//Bratke and studioDE developed a raft structure named “Foram” that illustrates the future of floating platforms in sustainable development.”

The Secrets of the Wood Wide Web: “The revelation of the Wood Wide Web’s existence, and the increased understanding of its functions, raises big questions—about where species begin and end; about whether a forest might be better imagined as a single superorganism, rather than a grouping of independent individualistic ones; and about what trading, sharing, or even friendship might mean among plants.”

Tujunga spreading grounds water project is launched: “Tujunga Spreading Grounds, a 150-acre tract of porous soil in the northeast San Fernando Valley, captures stormwater and allows the water to filter into a vast aquifer.”

One Step Closer to Walking and Biking from Canoga Park to Elysian Valley: “…the Mayor’s office has announced the selection of a design team that is tasked to figure out how to complete the Los Angeles River Valley Bike Path from Vanalden Avenue in Canoga Park to Forest Lawn Drive by Griffith Park. The Mayor’s Office has stated “once completed, the greenway will make it possible for Angelenos to walk and bike from Canoga Park to Elysian Valley.”

Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California: “Designs like The Pipe demonstrate how the provision of public services like these can be knitted into every day life in a healthy, aesthetically-pleasing way. A finalist of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Pier, the solar-powered plant deploys electromagnetic desalination to provide clean drinking water for the city and filters the resulting brine through on-board thermal baths before it is reintroduced to the Pacific Ocean.”