Posts tagged Friday Five

Choose another tag?

Rendering: Herzog & de Meuron, courtesy of Berggruen Institute

Think Tank Reveals Renderings For Sprawling ‘Monastery’ On Top Of Santa Monica Mountains: “The 447-acre development is set just north of the Getty Center on a hilltop near the Mountain Gate Country Club overlooking the 405 freeway. The project, designed by architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron is scheduled to open in five years “if we don’t run into too much trouble,” Berggruen told the Los Angeles Times.”

From Landscape Architect to Fashion Designer: “He literally takes the drawings out of my hands. All of the adults are sitting together planning everyone’s future and talking about the community. He was like, ‘This girl is not going to be a doctor. She needs to be an architect. She needs to go into something like this.’ So of course, he says it and everyone trusts him and they say, ‘Amal, you’re now going to be an architect.’”

Walter Hood’s (Extra)ordinary Witness: “The site of this protest is now home to a commemorative public art and landscape installation by Walter Hood: Witness Walls, for the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, completed in April. It’s the city’s first civil rights-themed piece of public art, according to The Tennessean, and cost $300,000. In an existing park next to the Metro Nashville Courthouse, a group of concave and convex concrete arcs forms a series of outdoor rooms. Two concrete cylinder-shaped fountains burble along, and popular music from the civil rights era plays intermittently.”

Is re-introducing steelhead trout into the Arroyo Seco another fish tale?: “The list of humans who made Pasadena famous starts with the Tongva, the native people who settled near the Arroyo Seco, followed by your Eatons, Wilsons, Huntingtons, Greenes, etc. As for the animal that put the city on the map, the answer may surprise you. Many say that creature was the Southern California Steelhead, a salmon-like species that between 1850 and 1940, attracted fisherman from across the country to the San Gabriel, Los Angeles and Arroyo Seco rivers.”

“The Blue Line’s future: 5 ways Metro plans to fix its oldest rail line: Opened in 1990, the Blue Line has been operating continuously for 27 years. By now, much of the rail line’s infrastructure is simply worn out or obsolete. It’s also prone to delays—about 16 percent of trains arrive behind schedule, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.Transit officials say the huge investment will improve the old rail line’s reliability, reduce the travel time between LA and Long Beach, and restore train cars to like-new condition.”

Image by Dan Hubig for CALmatters

A tale of two regions: In California’s economy, North trumps South — for now: Ouch! “How Los Angeles wound up eating the Bay Area’s dust, at least in economic terms, is a tale of civic and political decisions, demographic circumstance and even global politics. And with the two regions accounting for most of the state’s population and the economic output that makes it a global powerhouse, whether the stark differences widen or narrow will have a huge impact as California meanders further into the 21st century.”

City-Wide Study Shows How Much Water Urban Landscaping Really Uses: “University of Utah scientists have conducted the first study to document landscape water use on a city-wide scale. Among other findings, trees are shown to be an excellent water-saving tool in grassy landscapes.”

White Supremacists Are Waging a War Against Public Space: “The attack also threatens public space, an amenity that is both scarce and necessary for democracy. The idea of the public square is under attack. And the extremist alt-right is waging a campaign to shut down the public square, using both violence and intimidation, especially under open-carry laws.”

Plan for San Joaquin Valley Reservoir to Recharge Groundwater Draws Concern: “The Semitropic Water Storage District proposes building a new reservoir on part of an ancient lakebed, then using it to capture flood flows to recharge groundwater. But others in the region fear it will deprive them of water.”

Artist at Work: Maya Lin: “I went to architecture school because I got labeled as an architect. The architecture professors were having a horror of time because I kept spending more and more time over in the sculpture department, and I don’t tend to think analytically as an architect. I analyze more like a scientist; I’m exploring the Earth, but not necessarily finding meaning and symbolism. Whereas I think with architecture, you get to codify, you understand why you do what you do. In a way, I’m much more interested in that I have no idea what it is or where it will lead to. So I got labeled as an architect…”

Pholisma sonorae (sand food) is a rare plant found in the deserts of southeastern California, Arizona, and El Gran Diesierto in Sonora, Mexico.
This parasitic plant has a long stem that reaches about 6 feet below the surface where it attaches to the root of a nearby host plant such as desert buckwheat. Photo by USFWS/Jim A. Bartel (CC BY 2.0)

The Most Bizarre Wildflower In The United States: “One of the most interesting of all dune plants, and certainly one of the most bizarre wildflowers in North America is ‘sand food’ (Pholisma sonorae). This amazing parasitic flowering plant grows in the Algodones Dunes of southeastern California and adjacent Arizona, and in the sand dunes of El Gran Desierto in Sonora, Mexico (north of Bahia Adair in the Gulf of California). Within this area, the plants grow on sand dunes produced by wind transport of sand from the beaches of ancient Lake Cahuilla and the Colorado River delta.”

L.A. is park poor. So why is one of the most beautiful green spaces in the city locked behind a fence?:  “DWP isn’t in the parks business,” Adams points out. “But we are open to opportunities to use our properties in different ways.” In other words, the Rowena Reservoir isn’t a lost cause. City Council District 4, which contains it, could take it on. So could the Los Feliz and Silver Lake neighborhood councils. And if study and retrofitting are what’s required, why not consider larger possibilities as well?

How Driverless Cars Could Be a Big Problem for Cities: “To assess how vulnerable cities’ budgets could be, Governing conducted the first national analysis of how city revenues might be affected by autonomous vehicles. For the 25 largest U.S. cities, we requested and obtained revenues for parking collections and fines, traffic citations, traffic camera fines, gas taxes, vehicle registration, licensing and select other fees. In all, these 25 cities collectively netted nearly $5 billion in auto-related revenues in fiscal 2016, or about $129 per capita.”

Disrupting the Park Bench: “Data-collecting street furniture is one of the first areas where the smart city concept has spilled over from buildings and infrastructure into green space, though one could argue that features such as free Wi-Fi in parks, GPS-guided interpretive walks, interactive light and water installations, and computerized controls of lighting and irrigation systems—increasingly common in the urban environment—also fit the bill.

A happy 115th birthday to Trenton’s Cadwalader Park: “The beauty of Trenton’s Cadwalader Park endures. And as this sylvan oasis — designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture — marks its 115th birthday, people who treasure the city’s biggest park are working hard to make sure it not only survives but also thrives.

The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet: “With each edition, the Copenhagen­ize Design Company’s Index of the most bike-friendly cities in the world evolves. In 2011 we ranked 80 global cities; in 2013 we ranked 150. This year, we considered cities with a regional population over 600,000 (with a few exceptions because of their political and regional importance, and to keep things interesting). We ranked 122 cities. The top 20 are presented here.”

Understanding What Makes Plants Happy: “The big shift in horticulture in the next decade will be a shift from thinking about plants as individual objects to communities of interrelated species. We think it’s possible to create designed plant communities: stylized versions of naturally occurring ones, adapted to work in our gardens and landscapes. This is not ecological restoration, it’s a hybrid of ecology and horticulture.”

Construction to Begin On New Lincoln Heights Park After a Costly Environmental Cleanup: “The triangular shaped park will stretch from Spring Street on the north to nearly Main Street on the south, helping expand the existing Downey Recreation Center. The project will not only provide more green and recreation space to the area, it will also help improve water quality. Runoff from storm drains will be collected, filtered and treated using a variety of techniques before the water flows into the L.A. River and eventually the ocean, according to a project summary.”

The Future of Transportation is Already Here: “Builders and urban planners have learned to limit their thinking because existing regulations and clunky political processes have made it nearly impossible to innovate without years of negotiations. As a result, we’re laying the foundations for a transportation future that carries forward the problems of the past…But there can be another way forward, a new vision of transportation that upsets the four-wheel chariot mode.”

Young Architect Guide: 5 Ways to Tell Your Story Through Drawings Alone: “As all architects know, your project proposal is only as convincing as the drawings and models that you use to represent it, whether for your client, the planning committee of a town council or the judging panel of a design competition. While your ideas may be brilliant, they are only of value if you can communicate them convincingly to all of those different audiences, crafting an architectural narrative in a clear and compelling manner.”

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.”