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Jordan Kessler M a s t e r ’s T h e s i s i n U r b a n D e s i g n U n i v e r s i t y o f Te x a s a t A u s t i n Advisors: Wilfried Wang & Dean Almy

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PREFACE

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PRIMER

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P R O B L E M AT I C S

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PROPOSALS

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PRODUCT


PREFACE In the postwar years of the 1950’s, a burgeoning American population had the opportunity to snag a piece of the fabled American Dream—to live quietly, removed from the city in a home with a white picket fence. In this dream every home had a lawn, an attached garage and a property line. Connecting each homeowner to their place of business was a vast highway network. With the rapid expansion of suburban development came further dependence on the automobile. Highways, embedded within the city to promote efficient transportation between the suburbs and the center became its defining elements. The pursuit of the American Dream and its ensuing approximations, have had vast impacts that, for the last sixty years, have accustomed millions of people to a lifestyle increasingly homogeneous and deeply unsustainable.

use zoning, low-density development, dependence on the automobile and issues of urban runoff—essentially, the pervasion of low-functioning urbanism. Decades of successive additions to the city fabric, enabled by the extensive highway system, has resulted in a pattern of urban growth that is sprawled out and disconnected—the polycentric metropolis. This growth structure is further reinforced by emergent urban processes and technologies which have allowed for the dispersal and decentralization of the traditional CBD. With increasing population densities, a higher number of automobiles continue to congest highway infrastructure and contribute to a growing state of degradation—of urban areas, of ecologies and of natural resources.

With the end of the twentieth century came the realization that clutching onto what was left of the American Dream was no longer feasible. The continued mass suburbanization of all open land outside the city center has obstructed any distinction between core and periphery. This diffuse landscape is characterized by single-

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Images (clockwise from left): EuraLille, Lille, France; www.fichman.fr Bjorvika, Oslo, Norway; www.bjorvikautvikling.no Orestad, Copenhagen; J. Kessler Amsterdam Zuidas, NL; W. Salet


PRIMER In his book on the growth of Zuidas Amsterdam, W. Salet makes the case for the development by stating that, “high grade urbanization [is] becoming less dependent on proximity, compactness and density— but more so on indicators of accessibility and interconnectivity.” As the intensity of global connectivity grows, physically and digitally, so does the pressure on existing infrastructural networks. The growth and decay of cities is the most common indicator of these processes. Just one hundred years ago, only ten percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas whereas today that number has grown to fifty percent and is expected to increase exponentially. With populations becoming increasingly urban, the strain placed upon cities to absorb demographic, economic and technological growth is immense. For Zuidas and other burgeoning developments, a position within an efficient transportation network enables growth that has a staggering effect on urban development and economic opportunity. The prosperity of a city is intrinsically linked to the efficiency of its transportation network. This network provides the structure for the processes of urbanization.

Zuidas and other developments like Euralille, Bjorvika and Orestad exemplify contemporary urban developments that exist in a mutually co-dependent relationship with high-speed rail. Megaprojects like these require large swaths of land and as such often acquire underutilized rail yards and abandoned industrial areas to accommodate the acreage needed for development. These projects not only have the potential to address qualitative environments through urban design but also to dramatically affect the surrounding urban context by stitching together and revitalizing disjunctions in the city fabric. In this sense, how can new urban development accommodate or exploit, new, existing or decaying infrastructures?

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WEST COAST MEGA-REGION CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED RAIL NETWORK 800 mile system Infrastructure investment: 45 Billion $1 billion in projected annual revenues 2008 Proposition 1A passed: provides $9.95 billion in state bond money

Sacramento

San Francisco Modesto San Jose Merced Gilroy Fresno Fre

Bakersfield

Palmdale

LOS ANGELES -HSR will add 2-4% to area’s economic growth each year operation. -Area household incomes will increase by $208 per person by 2020 and $328 per person by 2035 -L.A. County revenue generation increases $136 million by 2020; $408 million by 2035 -GDP growth of L.A. County will equal that of twenty California counties combined

Burbank City of Industry Anaheim

San Diego

1 Hour travel circle Metropolitan area

cahighspeedrail.ca.gov

CALIFORNIA GROSS STATE PRODUCT WAS 1.8 TRILLION IN 2007 EXPORTS ACCOUNTED FOR 12 PERCENT OF TOTAL U.S. EXPORTS FOR 2007

Secondary station

L.A. to San Francisco 2 hours 38 minutes L.A. to Sacramento 2 hours 17 minutes L.A to Irvine 28 minutes L.A. to San Diego 1 hour 18 minutes

Projected ridership 2030 : 88 to 117 million passengers annually


As per other global examples, the introduction of a comprehensive transportation network has significant potential to stimulate economic activity thus presenting opportunity for urban expansion and revitalization in the affected areas. For California’s defunct economy, this rail network would be a boon insofar as providing the motivation and financial support needed to spur a reconstitution of existing urban areas for the new millennium. The city of Los Angeles, as a nexus in the West Coast Mega-Region, will need to balance this growth and increasing population density with scarce open space, aging infrastructure and dwindling resources.

Where do we grow from here?

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G R E AT E R LO S A N G E L E S WAT E R S H E D 871 Square miles approximately 60 percent impervious surfaces 1

2 Los Angeles es Riv

abriel River v

3 5 Ballona C Crree eek

6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

San Gabriel Mountains San Fernando Valley Pasadena Downtown Area Santa Monica LAX Airport Long Beach

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Due to the highly urbanized nature of the Los Angeles watershed, periods of heavy rainfall place immense burdens on the rivers flood capacity.


THE LOS ANGELES PROBLEMATIC What future does the city of Los Angeles have? Since the time of its modern conception at the turn of the 20th century, the city has engaged in a parasitic relationship with the natural landscape. To feed a growing population, aqueducts extended hundreds of miles to drain Owens Lake and the Colorado River of precious fresh water. The Los Angeles River, prone to flooding was given a concrete makeover to more efficiently protect a growing downtown from flood waters--quickly moving water from the San Gabriel Mountains, past downtown and into the sea. Notably, in the 1920’s the extensive Pacific Electric trolley system was abandoned in favor of a grid of new roads designed for the automobile. This increased public desire for the personal convenience that came with mobility and modernization and thus, paved the way for

what would become a vast highway system. These massive civil engineering projects largely influenced the growth and form of Los Angeles that exists today. What future can a city have when it has reached the limit of its growth—when the patterns of its urbanization are no longer viable? In the highly dispersed metropolis of Los Angeles, there arises the opportunity to organize growth along the Los Angeles River. The river, as it exists now is more accurately described as a continuous 32 mile long concrete basin, which carries floodwaters from the San Bernardino Mountains through ten city districts and ultimately terminates in the Long Beach harbor. However, as an exemplar and catalyst for future development in the region, a reenvisioned LA river provides unprecedented opportunity to sustain cultural entities and public places within dense urban settings. New emphasis on ecological living and sustainable transit in a region known for the opposite would most effectively be demonstrated by exploiting the proximity of the river to proposed development along its edges.

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Burbank

Glendale

Atwater Village

Los Feliz Hollywood

Silverlake Elysian Park

CITY OF TERRITORIES...

Echo Park

Westlake

Koreatown/ Wilshire Center

Chinatown

Downtown

Pico Union Boyle Heights


Photo credit: David McNew/Getty Images Life.com

The difficulty that comes with imagining the river as anything other than a barren concrete basin is only reinforced by the fact that it rarely carries more than a trickle of water tainted by urban effluence. Reimagining the rivers presence is further complicated by its entangled and intimate relationship with rail tracks, industrial tracts and pre-existing right-of-ways; add to this the fact that the basin retains an inextricable and singular role as flood control mechanism and the problem is compounded. Given these complications, it is of little wonder why any talk of re-imagining, re-developing or re-naturalizing the river draws scorn and disbelief. As a counter to skepticism, the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan (LARRMP) offers crucial documentation that outlines the challenges associated with realizing the short and long term potentials of the river basin. These challenges are inclined to affect regional changes by improving water quality, flood storage and to position the river as a functioning ecosystem that encourages public access. Although restoring the river closer to its natural state would be near impossible, there are several opportunities to address natural processes at differing scales.

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SEPULVEDA BASIN Soft bottom 2.35 miles

Credit: Friends of the Los Angeles River GLENDALE NARROWS Soft bottom 5.77 miles

LA RIVER CHANNEL VELOCITIES Existing flow less than 15 ft./second Existing flow 15-19 ft./second Existing flow greater than 19 ft./second

SEPULVEDA DAM

Per LARRMP 4.6

Single purpose flood control est. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 1941 Used for temporary storage of flood runoff from uncontrolled drainage Stores and release flood water at rate that does not exceed capacity of channel downstream Resevoir capacity 17.425 acre-feet 50-year flood volume 59.746 acre-feet, peak inflow 54.863 cfs 100-year flood volume 71.663 acre-feet, peak inflow 82.516 cfs

160 ac 90 ac

.5 0

2 5

1

75 ac 15 ac 4110 ac

580 ac 1770 ac

1000 ac 590 ac

1700 ac


ATION MASTER PLAN REVITALIZE THE RIVER

LOS ANGELES RIVER REVITALIZATION MASTER PLAN REVITALIZE THE RIVER

RECOMMENDATIONS

Potential In-channel River Improvements

s for a revitalized

Recommendation #4.13:

IDENTIFIED RIVER REACHES

Create a continuous functional riparian corridor that provides habitat for birds, mammals,

OPPORTUNIT Y SITES

Potential Restoration Opportunities

amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, and fish within s

r involves

the channel bottom.

ng riparian

dor within the

Recommendation #4.14:

restoring riparian

Connect this corridor to other significant habitat

mammals, and

and migration routes along the tributaries and into

and riffle pools

the mountains.

ad trout habitat, and coordination

Recommendation #4.15: Legend Potential Regional Level Treatment Sites

re modified to

Potential Locations for Water Quality “Treatment Terraces” Potential Rubber Dam Locations

es for wildlife

and public

s and overlooks

vements will

cities and

will be achieved

torage outside

nd underground

River Channel Reaches 1: Confluence to Sepulveda Basin 2: Sepulveda Basin 3: Sepulveda Basin to Tujunga Wash 4: Tujunga Wash to Barham Blvd. 5: Barham Blvd. to Burbank Western channel 6: Burbank Western Channel to Taylor Yard 7: Taylor Yard 8: Taylor Yard to 1st Street 9: 1st Street to Washington Blvd. 1

Improve water quality and provide fish passages,

Base Info Legend Existing Open Space Limit of Geographical Data Set Metro Gold Line Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension Metro Red Line Metro Orange Line Metro Blue Line Station Symbol

ladders, and riffle pools that would support

POTENTIAL RESTORATION OPPORTUNITIES

desirable fish species, including steelhead trout if feasible.

2

Restoration of Riparian Corridor Within the River Channel (Assumes Restoration of Riparian Corridor in Approximately 1/3 of the Channel Bottom) Other Restoration Opportunities

Base Info Legend

Recommendation #4.16: Bio-engineer the River’s edge where feasible to create and restore wildlife habitat along the upper reaches of the River.

map credits: Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan

Existing Open Space Limit of Geographical Data Set Metro Gold Line Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension Metro Red Line Metro Orange Line Metro Blue Line Station Symbol

3: River Origin Park 15: Canoga Park River Park 29: Aliso Creek Confluence Park 36: Reseda Park 46: Encino Velodrome 49: White Oak to Balboa Lake Habitat Restoration and Riverwalk (Sepúlveda Basin Concrete Channel Removal) 54: Sepúlveda Basin Wetlands 56: Hjelte to Dam Wetlands Park 63: Castle Family Park 70: Hazeltine River Edge Park 75: Fashion Square River Park 77: Moorpark Park 96: Ventura Boulevard Water Quality Treatment 101: Weddington Park Expansion w/Pedestrian Bridge 113: Pollywog Park Renovation

114: Headworks 115: Spreading Grounds River Park 118: Griffith Park River Park Buffer 124: Ferraro Fields 129: River Glen Wetlands 130: River Glen River Park 145: N. Atwater Park -- River Vista Expansion 150: Legion Lane Park 165: Taylor Yard Parcel G2 183: Arroyo Seco Confliuence Park 196: Cornfields Wetlands Park 197: Chinatown/Cornfield River Park 204: Albion Dairy Park 209: Mission Yard River Park 219: Downtown Industrial River Park 232: 7th Street River Park 236: Rio Vista Blufftop Park

This map shows the potential restoration opportunities within the River Channel. The numbers on this map correspond to the potential River project matrix and maps at the end of this document. Note: Locations of habitat opportunities can be found more precisely in detailed reach maps presented in Chapter 10.

term, potential allow for channel

4

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Any short or long-term revitalization initiatives must maintain the rivers longstanding role of storm-water capture and flood control. Within the 32-mile stretch that comprises the planning area, the LARRMP outlines methods for flood control, both man-made and natural, as necessary objectives involved with re-imagining the river. These include restoring riparian corridors within the channel, introducing water treatment terraces and the placement of sub-channel box culverts to maintain flood capacity. However, the LARRMP has identified nine reaches along the rivers length that have variations in channel width, geometry and flow velocity. To accommodate the specific characteristics of each river reach, channel improvements will require differing engineering methods . An examination of issues affecting the revitalization plan reveals the overriding importance of questioning the rivers function and presence within the city. When considering the differing scales of interaction and dependency that define the relationship between the river and the city there emerges a vision for the future. A future where the river functions as a highly performing, highly integrated ecological mechanism that engages cyclical and regenerative natural processes.

As daunting as a reimagining of the LA River may be, its place within the city is part of a much larger arc. The question is less that of the rivers revitalization and more so of a principled change in the structure of Los Angeles urbanism. This change intrinsically links the rivers future to that of the city. The relationship between the river and the city is defined by the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP) which emphasize rainfall capture, retention and reuse to replenish the water table and reduce urban runoff. For a city that imports most of its water and faces increasing water demand, shortages and droughts will become an incessant reality of the future. The ultimate goal of BMP’s are to diminish the need for the LA river as flood control channel and thereby enable its reimagining as a riparian corridor through the city. For these issues affecting the river’s revitalization the LARRMP proposes the introduction of a River Improvement Overlay (RIO) that extends up to a half-mile on either side of the river. The RIO would introduce guidelines that address three aspects crucial to the success of the project: Watershed Management, Urban Design and Mobility.

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6,500 miles of streets Glendale Narrows Project

1/4 acre generates approximately 100,000 gallons of stormwater anually. Implementing Best Managment Practices (BMP), water capture, infiltration and new land use policy in L.A. County would save 74,600-152,000 acrefeet of imported water by 2030. Enough to equal the consumption by 456,300-929,700 people.1

Taylor Yard Project

Downtown Industrial Development Area


1 TOTAL ACREAGE FROM RIVER-ADJACENT PROJECTS: 1446 acres GRIFFITH PARK

1. RIVER GLEN OPPORTUNITY

x400,000 gallons of stormwater per acre equals approximately 1775 acre-feet of stormwater potentially intercepted by BMP’s and Low Impact Development from riveradjacent projects alone. Utilizing these water management practices over a larger, regional scale magnifies the interception potential ten-fold. These practices would significantly reduce the amount of runoff entering the channel. 2

96 acres Zoning: Industrial and residential 2. TAYLOR YARD PROJECT 247 acres Ten parcels formerly owned by Standard Pacific Railroad, brownfield site and opportunity for 57 acres of riverside restoration and water treatment wetlands.

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3. CORNFIELDS/ARROYO SECO PROJECT 660 acres Zoning: Industrial and residential 35 acres planned for Los Angeles State Historic Park in progress 4. SANTA FE RAILYARD OPPORTUNITY 120 acres Zoning: Industrial Potential for water retention/ detention/treatment site

4

5

5. DOWNTOWN/RIVER INTERFACE OPPORTUNITY 320 acres Context: Little Tokyo, Downtown Arts District River improvement overlay demonstration project. Regional HSR connector opportumity.

17 1. Chau, Haan-Fawn. Green Infrastructure for Los Angeles:: Addressing Urban Runoff and Water Supply Through Low Impact Development. April 2009


Taylor Yard Project

Cornfields/Arroyo Seco Project

Union Station

Mission Rail Yard Area

Downtown Industrial Project


PROPOSAL The year is 2030. In the two decades since the project’s inception, Angelenos have adopted new development policies intended to promote sustainable, regenerative and codependent urban systems. At the core of these policies are planning principles that emphasize the intersection of blue, gray and green infrastructures as part of smart urban growth.

URBAN DEVELOPMENT INTENTIONS: To reduce urban runoff by integrating rainwater capture mechanisms, infiltration basins and bioswales within the urban fabric. To promote a high quality of life enabled by quick access to efficient transportation networks and a variety of green/open spaces.

Coinciding with the construction of the California High Speed Rail, over the last two decades parcels and right-of-ways along the river have been negotiated and acquired by the River Development Corporation--an entity comprised of public/private partnerships tasked with coordinating, translating and implementing the piecemeal project areas into a cohesive urban whole. REGIONAL INTENTIONS: To exploit the revitalized Los Angeles River as a catalyst for new urban development. To re-imagine the river as a ‘green spine’ along which to organize urban growth. To embed this growth with both transportation infrastructure and green space within one continuous corridor.

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+cornfields river development

+school for arts

+correctional facility

+cathedral +amtrack station +union station +to disney +city hall concert hall

+city jail

+little tokyo +pico aliso station

+arts district

+sci-arc

+wholesale district/ skid row


P R E - D E S I G N A NNOTATIONS flow mechanism

1/2 m

ile

rad i

us

flow mechanism

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1

5 6

2 3

4

Photo c redit: Urban Land Institute


1

2

S ite constraint: elevated light rail track forms hardwal l boundar y for Nor th-western entr y

3

4 5

S ite Indust rial land use majorit y

6

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EAST / WEST CONNECTIONS

NORTH / SOUTH CONNECTIONS

1 1

2

2

3

3

4

DOWNTOWN CONNECTIONS 1. Ceasar E Chavez Avenue Chinatown Branch Library

Central L.A. HS #9 Union Station

2. E. First Street City Hall

L.A. Law Library Superior Court Walt Disney Concert Hall Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

3. E. Third to E. 4th Street

Japanese-American Cultural Center Museum of Contemporary Art

4. E. Sixth Street Pershing Square

L.A. General Library

Major thru-streets Secondary streets Underpass Area of study boundary

1. Alameda Street

Los Angeles State Historic Park Chinatown Union Station Arts District Little Tokyo

2. S. Mission Road Santa Fe Railyard proposal

Pico Aliso Metro Gold Line Station

3. Highway 101 off-ramp Site thru-connectivity potential


PEDESTRIAN CONNECTIONS

PUBLIC TRANSIT CONNECTIONS

Major river-adjacencies

HSR alignment

River connections

Amtrak/Metrolink/Freight

Potential river crossing locations

Eastside Gold Line Extension

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PRODUCT PROJECT AREA INTENTIONS: To integrate a new regional rail and intermodal transit center to replace the Union Station terminals which are at capacity. The historic Union station would be turned into a public amenity. To deploy BMP’s and Low Impact Development schemes throughout the site. To introduce a variety of building types and programs that support the Arts District. To increase pedestrian and vehicular circulation efficiency while promoting visibility and access to the river’s edge. To organize a hiearchy of public spaces scaled to public transit and river amenities.

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ZONES / SITE PROGRAMS

PUBLIC BUS TRANSIT AND TERMINALS

Union Station

101 FWY South access

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

3,423,727 SQ. FT.

COMMERCIAL MIXED-USE

3,034,768 SQ. FT

RESIDENTIAL MIXED-USE

2,007,370 SQ. FT

ACADEMIC INSTITUTION

460,413 SQ. FT

HSR COMPLEX

861,700 SQ. FT

LIGHT INDUSTRIAL

132,386 SQ. FT

RIVER INTERFACE HYBRID OPEN SPACE / PUBLIC FACILITY

1,009,240 SQ. FT 58,885 SQ. FT

VEHICULAR TRAFFIC BUS ROUTING LOCAL AND REGIONAL BUS TERMINAL


METRO AND HIGH SPEED RAIL CONNECTIONS

ACTIVITY CENTERS

Union Station

HSR TERMINAL (12 new tracks)

(E) SUBTERRANEAN METRO PROPOSED RE-ROUTING TO HSR STATION PROPOSED DOWNTOWN CONNECTOR (STREETCAR) (E) LIGHT RAIL GOLD LINE

MAIN PEDESTRIAN MOVEMENT PUBLIC SPACES / POINTS OF INTEREST RETAIL CORRIDORS

PROPOSED STOPS

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Organization diagram for transit center and circulation with river access. Gold line lightrail and downtown connector streetcar overlayed to show secondary transfer plaza at 1st street bridge level.


Phase one

Viewing this proposal through a 20 year lens would see the gradual phasing out of onsite structures in favor of condensing existing parcels into larger development zones. As the Master Plan is part of the River Improvement Overlay, it is subject to more stringent demands for integrated water management and overall standards of urban design.

Phase three

Phase two

Under the guise of growing economic revenues and increasing land values resulting from proximity to transportation infrastructure, overall site density is justifiably increased. Preserving the current urban structures would undervalue and underutilize the real estate and growth potential of this area east of downtown.

Phase four 31


N


This Master Plan attempts to marry the need for a new high speed rail terminal with perceived and desired intensities of movement through the site. The demands of the rail terminal are allied with a corresponding public space oriented North to South. This large public space serves multiple functions: to allow for the large volume of visitors and riders, to allow fluid circulation of vehicular traffic in a one-way fashion and to link the river entry plaza with light rail transit. Eight zones within the 320 acre development are optimized for proximity to multi-modal transit and public green/open spaces. These zones promote the integration of varied building types to facilitate the interaction of multiple user groups and activities.

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URB A N D E TA I L S

LO W IMPAC T DE VELOPMENT

GREEN ROOFS Extensive green roofs support low growing vegetation that can withstand drought conditions. Excess rainfall is captured within the system and stored in cisterns within each building. Additionally, the network of green roofing works to reduce the heat island effect during the summer months.

COURTYARDS Most of the development structures rely on podium construction to integrate parking onsite. As such, the roof of the parking garages form central courtyards for each building. This layer is thickened to include systems that accommodate soil depth for root growth , water capture and treatment.

images: Chau, Haan-Fawn. Green Infrastructure for Los Angeles:: Addressing Urban Runoff and Water Supply Through Low Impact Development. April 2009, p.9


PLAZAS AND PROMENADES These streetscapes provide the most crucial and effective means of Low Impact Development & Best Management Practices. permeable paving, curb cuts and water retention tree wells reduce runoff in addition to providing amenable aesthetics for pedestrian street life. PLANTED AND FORMAL LANDSCAPES This layer comprises the largest percentage of open and public space within the development. The use of formal versus planted landscapes varies depending upon the surrounding land use so as to articulate the transitions from one area to the next. A majority of plantings are native species and xeriscapes with the exception of the formal park spaces.

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VISION AT SEC TION C 37


WETLANDS / RIPARIAN HABITAT This layer is the most radical in that it re-introduces a landscape and habitat that has long since been lost to this area of Los Angeles. The etsablishment of this layer as a riparian corridor depends on the effective reduction of urban runoff; thereby reducing flood intensity and velocity. Wetlands in this expansive area allow for a widening of the channel and natural retention and detention of errant stormwaters.

A

new HSR and regional metro station

B

C

D


RE V I TA L I Z E D R I V E R S EC TIONS

section through wetlands at Mission Junction

A

naturalized width 383’

existing width 275’

B

C

518’

D 464’

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LO S A N G E L E S R E G I O N A L T R A N S I T C E N T E R


R I V E R I N T E R FAC E H Y B R I D

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transit-adjacent hotel 152, 230 sq. ft. residential tower 146,210 sq. ft. artist galleries and retail 27, 562 sq. ft.

planted gardens between residential towers rainwater retention, reuse and treatment

First Street bridge + 30 ‘ elevated plaza for hotel, galleries and residences single -level parking garages below residences 180, 544 sq. ft. ~601 spaces


RIVER INTERFACE HYBRID residential point towers 395, 780 sq. ft. courtyard residences 835,560 sq. ft. total 1,234,340 sq. ft. ~1,542 units/800 sq. ft. avg. planted enclosure over rail tracks with integrated water treatment terraces water retention/bioswale soccer field and related recreation

Fourth Street bridge Los Angeles River +35’ connection to 4th Street bridge

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70’

30’

20’

5’ 7’

11’

10’ 10’

10’ 7’

20’

V I E W F R O M 4 T H STREET BRIDGE INTO RIVER INTERFACE HY BRID


85’ - 125’

T YPIC AL STREET SEC TION WITH LIGHT RAIL EMPHASIS

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VISION AT TRANSIT STATION LOOKING SOUTH

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CO N C LU S I O N S Ultimately, if Los Angeles is to move into the future prosperous and with a high quality of life, it will have to drastically alter the habits which have inflicted so much dissonance over its urban expanse. This thesis explores the notion of new urban development and ecological living within the context of a revitalized Los Angeles River. As it exists now, the river is more accurately described as a barren concrete flood control channel that fissures the urban fabric. As it exists in the future, the revitalized channel could knit together disparate urban areas and encourage holistic urban design. To meet this challenge, Best Management Practices (BMP’s) will need to be implemented on a large, albeit piecemeal, scale to reduce the necessity and volume of floodwaters in the channel.

links the future of the city with that of the river. In this future, districts emerge with an added dimension, a thickness of embedded systems--ecological and hydrological, as well as infrastructural efficiency and interconnectivity along the river’s edge. In conclusion, the degree to which Angelenos and city officials face an increasingly uncomfortable future should be met with an equal level of commitment to evolving pieces of their city as part of a larger, regional plan. The River Improvement Overlay is an excellent beginning for setting standards in planning policy and urban design with regard to the river and watershed management. One would hope that, given due dilligence from piecemeal developments, it will eventually evolve into the Los Angeles Improvement Overlay.

As reimagined, the LA River improvements would create a continuous ‘green spine’ around which to organize growth and provide cohesion for areas long devoid of it. Therefore, this thesis is less about the river’s revitalization and more so about a principled change in the structure of Los Angeles urbanism. This structure intrinsically

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PIECEMEAL 2010 51


Piecemeal Los Angeles