Posts tagged Long Beach

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.

Image: Jenni Zell

I’ve begun to notice a sense of urgency and focus surrounding coastal resiliency planning in Southern California lately. Scientists at institutions like NOAA, USGS, Scripps, and many other organizations have been sifting through data, modeling, mapping and making projections. All the while interest in this type of research amongst the science community and public also seems to be increasing.

At AHBE Landscape Architects, we recently partnered with Cal Poly Pomona landscape architecture students, to work together focused upon the goal of resiliency strategies for the coast of Long Beach. I have also been attending a class at the Aquarium of the Pacific , a course with the pessimistic title, “Can We Make our Coastal Cities Resilient to Climate Change or Are They Doomed?” Research from scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSB, UCLA, and the National Academy of Sciences have resulted in a variety of proposals: complete coastal retreat (let nature do her inevitable thing), reduce our collective carbon footprint, and generate durable and dynamic sustainability planning efforts.

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Welcome to the first of our Cal Poly Pomona Coastal Resiliency posts featuring 4th year undergraduate students in the Landscape Architecture program. 

Julie Elise and SCMI's Adriana taking H2O quality readings.

Julie, Elise, and SCMI’s Adriana working together to take H2O quality readings offshore in Long Beach.

The students are barreling toward mid-terms (such is the student life in a quarter system), having completed their initial research and visited the project area in Long Beach. As these students learn and process the problems of sea level rise to a coastal community, their first impressions of the class are ones of almost awe and reverence at the issues at hand:

Student Elise A. writes:

“When I think of Long Beach, I think of the bright sun light and the spectacular cityscape along the seashore, and that is pretty much it. Even though I have been aware of the issue of sea level rise, it is still hard to imagine some local and historic parts of the city submerged in water in less than 100 years.

Even though regretful, I am excited at the same time to see what landscape architects, along with urban planners, civil engineers, architects and other professionals can do to mitigate this inevitable situation in a regional if not global scale. I can already see the more sustainable and responsive shore of Long Beach, transformed by innovative designs and renewable energy sources.”

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Photos by Seth Babb

A continuation of trips to the landscapes of Ralph Cornell takes us to Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach. Rancho Los Cerritos is already an interesting site due to its deep historical significance in Southern California; the changes that Rancho Los Cerritos has gone through are representative of the development of the region as a whole. What seems like a somewhat typical older Southern California residential landscape contains layers of history and subtle design, a surprisingly distinguishing site representing the work of Cornell throughout Southern California that illustrates his ability to elevate the landscape into an experience worthy of a historic site.

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AHBE is currently working with the City of Long Beach to deliver entry improvements to the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach, California. In additional to new pedestrian walking paths, native landscaping, and an outdoor classroom – a new pedestrian bridge and signature boulder will welcome visitors to the site and provide a transition from the urban environment to a more natural experience. The park is scheduled to open in early-2017.