For the latest installment of Archinect's live podcasting series, Next Up, we're focusing on the L.A. River, and the wide swath of urbanist concerns within its ongoing master planning efforts.
It could be the project that makes, or breaks, Los Angeles. With a complex historical legacy and an often-misunderstood ecology, the L.A. River’s 51-mile stretch is at once a huge urban opportunity, and to many, an even bigger eyesore. Thirty years ago, nonprofit Friends of the Los Angeles River was founded to protect and advocate for the river, and shortly after, the City of L.A. began looking at ways to take better advantage of the immense resource. Since then, many more communities and stakeholders have joined the conversation, raising concerns of ecology, sustainability, gentrification, public space, affordable housing, social equity—a wealth of complexities that testifies to what a lightning rod of urbanist discourse the River has become.
While conversations about the L.A. River’s future have been percolating for decades, not until only a few years ago did the plans become a divisive topic for the general public—in no small part due to the appointment of Frank Gehry’s office as a leader in the city’s master planning initiative. Reporting on the public’s first peek at the firm’s plans, Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, wrote, “as the river takes on new shades of economic and political meaning—becoming a magnet for attention and investment after decades of near invisibility—the race to reimagine it is growing more crowded.”
Loaded with passion and ambition, the public dialogue rages about the river, and stokes the debate over what L.A. is becoming overall. Archinect’s live podcasting event, Next Up: The L.A. River will be a dynamic platform to gather and discuss the river within current urbanist discourse. Through a series of short-form interviews and guided group discussions with participants Frances Anderton (KCRW’s DnA), Steven Appleton (LA River Kayak Safari), Marissa Christansen (FOLAR), Catherine Gudis (Play the L.A. River game), Deborah Weintraub (Chief Deputy City Engineer Bureau of Engineering), Christopher Hawthorne (Los Angeles Times), Mia Lehrer (Mia Lehrer & Associates), Julia Meltzer (Clock Shop), Alexander Robinson (Office of Outdoor Research), Elizabeth Timme (LA-Más), Renee Dake Wilson (L.A. City Planning Commission) and others, Next Up will be a place for airing dreams, concerns, plans and ideas for the River’s next phase, and its identity in a changing L.A.
Next Up: The L.A. River will take place on Saturday, October 29, beginning at 5pm at the A+D Museum in Los Angeles’ Arts District. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit Next Up on Bustler.