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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles Dakotah Bertsch Mike Boucher Eran James Abby Jones June 2011

All images, unless otherwise indicated, produced by the 606 Design Team

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles Design Team Dakotah Bertsch Mike Boucher Eran James Abby Jones Faculty Advisors Prof. Karen Hanna, MA, FASLA, FCELA, Primary Advisor Dr. Lee-Anne Milburn, MLA, PhD, ASLA Dr. Susan Mulley, MA, MLA, PhD

606 Design Studio Department of Landscape Architecture California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Acknowledgements The Red Fields to Green Fields Team would like to thank the many individuals and agencies that helped contribute to this document. Without their guidance and support this book would not have been possible. Our Steering Committee: Jessica Gudmundson Occidental College Urban and Environmental Policy Institute Tori Kjer The Trust for Public Land Carrie Sutkin Verde Coalition Stephanie Taylor Verde Coalition & Green LA Coalition Additional Partners: Carol Armstrong Kevin Caravati Edith de Guzman Ben Feldmann Joseph Goodman Joy Kwong Mia Lehrer Jason Neville Simon Pastucha Carol Teutsch Enrique Velasquez

Los Angeles River Project Georgia Tech Research Institute TreePeople Mia Lehrer + Associates Georgia Tech Research Institute USC Graduate Student Mia Lehrer + Associates Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles Los Angeles Department of Urban Planning Urban Design Studio TreePeople Los Angeles urban planner

Our classmates who have been a great source of inspiration and support.

Executive Summary Overview

Los Angeles Park Inequality

Although the average American has not benefited from the recent recession, this slump presents an opportunity for revitalizing neighborhoods and improving the quality of life of United States cities. Inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted, Michael Messner of the Speedwell Foundation introduced the idea of Red Fields to Green Fields (R2G) as a plan for taking distressed properties (red fields) off the real estate market and turning them into parks and green space (green fields). The recent recession presents a timely opportunity to acquire and develop these distressed properties at reduced prices.

As the second-largest city in the United States, Los Angeles is an important and influential city. However, compared to other large cities in the United States, Los Angeles’s parkland falls short both in terms of its percentage of the City’s land area and in terms of park acres per resident (Trust for Public Land 2010). While a few large tracts of parkland do exist, such as Griffith Park (4,310 acres), parks are not distributed equally throughout the City, being especially deficient in lower income neighborhoods (Sherer 2003). Many communities lack a park within walking distance, which is a significant factor contributing to park usage (Giles et al. 2005). In Los Angeles only 30% of the City’s four million residents live within ¼ mile of a park, compared with 80% and 90% for residents in Boston and New York, respectively (Sherer 2006).

Converting distressed properties into parks will help stimulate economic recovery as well as improve the environmental and social health of communities. Several studies have shown that parks tend to increase home values (Anderson and West 2006, Crompton 2004, Nicholls 2004, Lutzenhiser and Netusil 2001, Ridell 2001, Bolitzer and Netusil 2000, Correll et al. 1978). In addition, parks attract tourists and residents who contribute to local commerce, and parks increase public health by creating more walkable neighborhoods, enhancing community identity, and providing opportunities for mental relaxation and physical recreation. Furthermore, parks can perform vital environmental services such as treating stormwater, reducing heat island effect, and improving air quality.

Los Angeles Real Estate The recent economic recession had drastic consequences for Los Angeles’ real estate market. From 2007 to 2008, home prices in Los Angeles fell by almost 26% (SCAG 2009). While Los Angeles’ economy will gradually improve, the 2011-2012 Economic and Industry Report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LACEDC) forecasts that major sectors will continue to suffer, particularly in the construction and real estate industries (Sidhu, Ritter, and Guerra 2011). Non-residential real estate is expected to experience low construction activity, high vacancy rates, declining lease rates, and falling property values (Sidhu et al. 2011). Implementing Red Fields to Green Fields in Los Angeles (R2G-LA) would improve this situation by creating jobs and increasing real estate values.

Without parks nearby, many people do not have adequate facilities to exercise, relax outdoors, connect with nature, or congregate with friends and family. The expected population growth of the city puts further pressure on the Los Angeles’ limited park resources (Ganga and Lin 2007). Coupled with the fact that there is little land remaining to develop (NLCD and NED 2010), it is imperative to provide innovative solutions to providing park space. Red fields to green fields addresses other issues that affect the social and ecological health of Los Angeles in addition to park inequality and a glut of vacant commercial properties. These issues include polluted waterways and threatened water sources, increased temperatures due to the heat island effect, poor air quality, lack of alternative forms of transportation, and lack of healthy food options.

606 Method The R2G-LA method involved inventory and analysis at different scales, from the regional scale of the City of Los Angeles to the neighborhood scale to the site scale, each informing the next. At the regional scale, large issues facing the City such as water pollution, the heat island effect, and air pollution were investigated. Three neighborhoods were then chosen from within a 126 square mile zone of greatest need, comprised of park-poor,

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economically disadvantaged communities (the City of Los Angeles is 498 total square miles). Demographics, land use, circulation, red fields and other characteristics were inventoried in each neighborhood. In each of the three neighborhoods, the 606 team identified red fields. Characteristics of the red fields were noted such as size, slope, and proximity to commercial corridors, and red fields were analyzed for their suitability to different green field types based on these characteristics. The final scale was the site scale, or individual red fields. At this scale, four red field sites were chosen for example green field designs. Data gathered at each of the three scales, along with additional site scale inventory, analysis, and programming development, was used to develop design concepts and illustrations for each of these sites. Expanding again to the regional scale, site scale designs provided the opportunity to envision and quantify the regional-scale benefits that would result from the transformation of numerous site-scale red fields throughout the City.

Area of Need The focus of R2G-LA was on the most park-poor and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Los Angeles. A park-poor area was defined as having three acres or less of parkland per 1,000 people based on census tract data. An economically disadvantage area was defined as census tracts with a median household income 80% of the state median household income. These two guidelines were based on Prop 84 funding standards (California Department of Water Resources 2006). This proposition has been instrumental in providing funding for parks and nature facilities in California. Mapping was done in ArcMap using census data from 2000 and land use data from Esri and SCAG. Most of the city was deemed park poor. Economically disadvantaged areas were found surrounding downtown, south along the harbor freeway, in the San Fernando Valley, and scattered in smaller pockets throughout the city. Therefore, the boundary of economically disadvantaged areas, which was also typically the most park-poor, defined the area of need for this study.

Red Fields Red Fields in Los Angeles come in various forms. These are parcels of land that, for various reasons, are not functioning at their highest civic capacity -- especially given the increasing demand for public use and environmental services for the growing urban ii

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

population (Ganga & Lin 2007). In order to locate and document red fields, the 606 team ground-truthed three neighborhoods within the area of need: Lincoln Heights, Westlake, and Florence. Field work consisted of site visits in which the three neighborhoods were traversed by car and foot in order to identify and document potential red fields. Prior to ground-truthing, commercial real estate information was provided by CoStar, a Washington, D.C. based provider of commercial real estate information and analysis. This data showed the location of commercial properties in the neighborhoods. However, while groundtruthing, many vacant lots and distressed properties were identified which were absent from the CoStar data. Documentation of the sites included photography, notes, mapping in Google, and GIS mapping. In order to record land-use as well as assessed land values, economic and ownership data for these properties was researched using Zimas, a Los Angeles City web site. GIS modeling using parcel data from the City of Los Angeles Assessor’s Office (2010) gave information about red field parcel sizes. Eight square miles were ground-truthed in the neighborhoods of Lincoln Heights, Florence and Westlake. The total number of red fields found in all the neighborhoods was 138 sites, with a total area of 67 acres. Each neighborhood had a set of red fields of varying sizes and quantities. The average red field size was 0.5 acres.

Green Fields Green field solutions were developed based upon social and ecological objectives determined by inventory and analysis at the regional and neighborhood levels. The four broad categories of green fields include urban agriculture, recreation, community, and ecology. Most green fields were found to be capable of the four broad categories. Further refinement created suitability of red fields to each green field solution which was then mapped over the three neighborhoods. This established the most suitable sites for each green field type. However, green field categories are not exclusive, as green fields are meant to be multifunctional, and although one green field solution may dominate a site, a site can typically contain a mixture of several green field solutions.

Suitability

Extrapolation

Information about the red field sites was then gathered in order to understand the general characteristics of red fields and their suitability for different green field types. This inventory included relative sun exposure, size, average slope, buildings present, land-use designation, proximity to network of planned bike lanes, and proximity to Metro stations and major commercial intersections (nodes). Much of this inventory was conducted using GIS modeling.

Red field inventories that were collected from the neighborhood study areas via ground-truthing and other means were averaged and extrapolated to the rest of the area of need. Because the neighborhoods were selected to represent a variety of land development patterns commonly found in the area of need, they were able to serve as proxies for other parts of the area that had not been ground-truthed.

Design Examples In order to understand how the conversion of red fields to green fields might work on the ground, site designs were created to serve as examples of the diversity of applications of R2G-LA on red field sites throughout the City. This process involved first the selection of individual sites, then inventory, analysis, program development, synthesis and conceptual design. Finally, design renderings were produced to illustrate the concepts and designs that were developed. Care was taken to ensure that the designs were appropriate applications of green field solutions to the specific site conditions, as well as to the neighborhood context and regional objectives. However, the designs shown in this report are meant as sample park projects; they are included to give ideas for what is possible, not examples of what is intended. When the relevant agencies have sought and received funding, a public involvement program will be utilized while selecting parcels and developing park designs for implementation. Due to the fact that these designs are meant for illustrative purposes, specific opportunities and constraints related to acquisition and property ownership were not included. The properties chosen for design examples may not presently be available, and the designs specified would be modified in response to community input.

Based on the red fields found within the three neighborhoods, it was estimated that within the area of need 17.25 red fields would be found per square mile. Therefore, the 126 square mile area of need would contain 2,174 red fields or 1,087 acres of red fields (the average red field size is ½ acre). The existing park acreage in the area of need is 557.6 acres. If all the area of need’s red fields are converted to green fields under R2G-LA, park space would nearly triple in disadvantaged communities of Los Angeles.

Benefits The cumulative impact of converting red fields to green fields is anticipated to be transformative for Los Angeles in multiple ways. First, green fields could create an estimated 1,087 acres of park space in 2,174 small parks in disadvantaged communities of Los Angeles by converting small underutilized properties into green fields. As stated above this may increase parks by nearly 50% within the area of need. Implementing R2G-LA will dramatically improve the quality of life and health of the City’s residents by increasing opportunities for physical and mental health. In addition, numerous environmental services could be provided by green fields, such as improving water quality, reducing the heat island effect, improving air quality, and increasing native vegetation. These improvements to social and environmental health are believed to have direct economic benefits with potential for increasing neighborhood property values and stimulating the economy of the city.

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City of Los Angeles

Figure i–1.  Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles (R2G-LA) seeks to transform park-poor and economically disadvantaged communities throughout Los Angeles by converting underutilized urban sites (red fields) into parks and public spaces (green fields).

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Table of Contents 1. Introduction

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2. R2G Background

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1.1. Vision

171

References

182

List of Figures

193

List of Tables

197

Appendices

198

10.1. Extrapolation 10.2. Benefits

2.1. Red Fields to Green Fields 2.2. Case Studies

3. Method

10. Conclusion

19

3.1. Method Stages

4. Regional Investigation

25

5. Neighborhood Investigation

55

6. Red Field Investigation

73

7. Green Field Analysis

83

4.1. Overview of Los Angeles 4.2. Regional Inventory & Objectives 4.3. R2G-LA Goals and Objectives 4.4. Neighborhood Selection

5.1. Neighborhood Inventory 5.2. Ground-truthing

6.1. Red Field Inventory

7.1. Green Field Categories 7.2. Capability Analysis 7.3. Suitability Analysis

8. Site Design

107

9. Implementation

159

8.1. Site Selection 8.2. Site Design Process 8.3. Site Designs

9.1. Prioritization Recommendations 9.2. Phases of Development 9.3. Design Considerations 9.4. Green Initiatives

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Introduction

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Red Fields to Green Fields (R2G) is a contemporary parks initiative with the goal of taking advantage of the current real-estate downturn by transforming foreclosed and underperforming commercial properties into parks and open space. In cities across the country case studies were developed to build support and test the viability of the R2G concept. Los Angeles was one of eleven cities selected. The Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles (R2G-LA) case study is being developed by The Verde Coalition with the help of several agencies including the Trust for Public Land, Occidental College’s Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, Parks for People and the Cal Poly Pomona’s Landscape Architecture Department 606 Studio. In addition to helping to develop the case study the 606 studio created this document which documents the background, inventory, analysis, design and implementation of the R2G-LA project.

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1.1 Vision Red Fields to Green Fields (R2G) is a national initiative with the goal of taking advantage of the current real estate downturn by transforming foreclosed and underperfomring properties into parks and open spaces that improve the quality of life for urban residents and simultaneously jump-start the economy (Red Fields to Green Fields 2011). R2G-LA identified four ways that green fields can improve the quality of life for Los Angeles residents: increasing access to recreational opportunities, enhancing community connections, providing healthy food options, and augmenting environmental function in the urban environment. The vision of R2G-LA is to transform underutilized urban sites into green fields throughout the City of Los Angeles to create cumulative, far-reaching improvements to the City’s social, ecological, and economic health. The focus of this study is on disadvantaged communities, but effects will potentially extend to all parts of the City. Underutilized sites in Los Angeles, or red fields, come in various forms. They are parcels of land that, for various reasons, are not functioning at their highest civic capacity -- especially given the increasing demand for public use and environmental services from the growing urban population (Ganga & Lin 2007). As Los Angeles continues its rapid pace of growth and development, few large pieces of accessible land

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

remain undeveloped (Envicom Corporation 1995). The majority of red fields in the City are comprised of small parcels, often only ¼ acre in size, which are interspersed throughout the urban fabric. The landscape of these small urban red fields is a shifting one, as parcels change hands and develop over time. However, during an economic recession the pace of development slows and the cost of real estate is lower. This presents a real opportunity to acquire and transform small urban red fields into public parks and green spaces of various kinds. Through the examination and analysis of red fields in Los Angeles, various context-appropriate solutions can be developed to transform the sites from red fields to green fields. Green fields benefit the neighborhood’s health, environment, and economy. They can provide space for recreation, education, community gathering, local food production, and ecological function. While the amount of green space created from a single ¼ acre red field might be insignificant in the context of the entire City of Los Angeles, the net impact of transforming myriad red fields to green fields throughout the City will be profound. The quality of life for residents would improve, especially for those who reside in the many park-poor neighborhoods of the urban core. The benefits of R2GLA include economic stabilization, more walkable and desirable neighborhoods, improved mental and physical public health, and increased environmental services such as stormwater treatment, reduced heat island effect, and improved air quality.

Figure 1–1.  The vision of R2G is to transform underutilized properties (top) into parks (bottom).

Introduction

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R2G Background

Image: NASA Photojournal

R2G-LA exists within the broader context of Red Fields to Green Fields (R2G), a national initiative spearheaded by The Georgia Institute of Technology and the Georgia Tech Research Institute, with funding from the Speedwell Foundation and support from a host of other organizations (Red Fields to Green Fields 2011). This section explains the theoretical framework of Red Fields to Green Fields, as well as the case studies that have been produced up to this point, which serve as precedents for R2G-LA.

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2.1 Red Fields to Green Fields R2G Idea The current recession, when viewed with an understanding of the many benefits of parks, can be seen as an opportunity for transformation. Michael Messner, the founder of the Speedwell Foundation, introduced the idea of R2G as a plan for taking distressed properties (red fields) off the real estate market and turning them into parks and green space (green fields). Messner was inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., who created many urban parks, such as Central Park (Figure 2–2) in New York (Messner 2011). These parks were instrumental in improving surrounding neighborhoods and providing economic stimulation (Messner 2011). According to Messner, “Parks and managed green space are vital pieces of urban infrastructure that not only improve the quality of life for millions of people but also drive economic growth” (Messner 2011, n.p.). Past economic stimulus ventures such as Roosevelt’s New Deal projects from 1933-1941 and Eisenhower’s Federal Highway-Aid Act of 1956, are both examples of how big ideas can offer stabilization of the economy (Kennedy 2009, McNichol 2006). In a similar way, R2G would leverage today’s particular economic climate to transform distressed properties into vital neighborhood assets. Converting red fields to green fields would stimulate the economy by replacing under-performing real estate into community assets with the potential for increasing neighborhood property values. At the same time, parks would improve the quality of life in American cities by improving public health and the environment.

Recession Background The United States’ economy is slowly recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression (United States Congressional Budget Office 2011). Triggered in 2007 by a significant rise in mortgage delinquencies and followed by a sharp drop in housing prices in certain

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Figure 2–1.  Vacant commercial property in Los Angeles

parts of the United States, the recession slowed economic activity and employment around the world (Bernanke 2009). Although the U.S. recession officially ended in June of 2009, the nation’s economy continues to struggle, with the Congressional Budget Office predicting that “production and employment are likely to stay well below the economy’s potential for a number of years” (2011, n.p.). Faulty lending practices for real estate were the root causes of the recession and crippled the real estate market. A glut of vacant and foreclosed properties remain on the market with “continued poor fundamentals [underlying economic forces] for most types of commercial real estate” (Bernanke 2011, n.p.) (Scott 1990).

Figure 2–2.  Central Park, in New York, was an inspiration for Red Fields to Green Fields.

R2G Background

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Benefits of Parks and Green Space Economic Health Parks and other publicly owned lands are not traded on the real estate market like homes or commercial property and therefore the actual value of parkland can be difficult to gauge. Several methods have been used to estimate their economic worth. One, known as hedonic pricing, links the ecological and recreational value of parks to something that is traded on the marketplace -- usually nearby home values (Shoup and Ewing 2010). Estimating a park’s worth helps local leaders justify new acquisition costs and debt obligations that are associated with new park creation. Although economic modeling techniques have become more sophisticated, the concept of hedonic pricing is not new, and it has been used since the formative years of park development in the late nineteenth century (Crompton 2004). In 1873 Central Park Commissioners in New York City reported that after paying off the acquisition and development costs of Central Park the City received a net profit of $4.4 million in incremental tax revenue related to the park (Crompton 2007). Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., who designed and developed Central Park, was well

aware of the economic benefits of parks, and his firm advocated to developers the value of leaving land aside for park development (Crompton 2007). As statistical tools and economic models have become more robust in the twentieth century there has been a series of studies examining the economic benefits of parks, most done within the past thirty years (Crompton 2004). Several studies have shown increases in home values associated with park proximity (Anderson and West 2006, Crompton 2004, Nicholls 2004, Lutzenhiser and Netusil 2001, Ridell 2001, Bolitzer and Netusil 2000, Correll et al. 1978). A study in Portland, Oregon in 2000 found that a park located within 1,500 feet of a home increased its sale price by $845 to $2,262 (in 2000 dollars) (Bolitzer and Netusil 2000). The study also found that the size of the park was a significant factor in raising the home’s sales price (Bolitzer and Netusil 2000). A study done in Boulder, Colorado, in 1978 found that for every foot one moves away from the greenbelt (a ring of parkland surrounding a city), the price of a residential property decreased by $4.20 (Correll et al. 1978). The same study

Figure 2–3.  Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA; parks provide space for recreation.

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

found that the greenbelt increased the aggregate property values of an adjacent neighborhood by $5.4 million resulting in $500,000 extra annual property tax revenue (Correll et al. 1978). The purchase price of this greenbelt was roughly $1.5 million and therefore the accrued tax revenue over three years could pay back the initial cost (Correll et al. 1978). Premiums for homes near parks can vary, and depend on several factors beyond proximity, including the size of the park, the amenities found there, and the density and land use of the surrounding neighborhood. In rural or suburban areas where supply of outdoor space is high, whether in the form of a private yard or easy access to wildlands, demand for park space is low compared to dense urban settings (Crompton 2004). Thus, residents in dense urban areas put a higher value on park proximity than residents in suburban or rural areas (Andersen and West 2006). In addition, the size and type of park are factors influencing home premiums. Large natural area parks had the largest effect on home sale prices in comparison to small urban and specialty parks (Crompton 2004, Lutzenhiser and Netusil 2001). Busy active parks or parks that are poorly maintained have been shown to decrease home values (McConnell and Walls 2005, Crompton 2004).

Hedonic pricing is a helpful method in estimating the economic value of parks; however, it is unable to provide more specific information about how much residents value certain park amenities (McConnell and Walls 2005). Another method to estimate the economic value of parks is contingent valuation (Breffle et al.1998). In this method, people are surveyed and asked how much they are willing to pay for a park or open space. In Boulder, the amount that residents were willing to collectively spend to purchase a 5.5 acre undeveloped parcel for park creation was $174,000 more than the amount that a construction company had recently paid for it (Breffle et al.1998). In general, studies using either contingent valuation or hedonic pricing show the high value of preserving parks and open space (McConnell and Walls 2005). In addition to the value that parks add to nearby real estate, parks also have other economic benefits. City parks, such as San Antonio’s Riverwalk Park or New York’s Central Park, often become important tourism draws that contribute to local businesses (Waits 2005). The availability of parks and recreational facilities can be significant factors for companies in deciding where to relocate (Crompton 2000). And, according to a 3-year Chicago Urban Forest Climate Project, increasing tree cover by 10% can lower total energy use for residential heating and cooling by 5-10% annually, saving $50-$90 per dwelling unit (McPherson 1994).

Figure 2–4.  Parks provide habitat.

R2G Background

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Social Health Parks play an important role in improving physical health. Exercise and diet are important factors in physical health, and people are more likely to exercise when they have access to parks (Gies 2006). People who engage in regular physical activity have a reduced risk of premature death; reduced risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and non-insulin-dependent diabetes; improved muscle strength, joint structure, and joint function; reduced body weight; and healthier cardiovascular, respiratory, and endocrine systems (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 1996). Obesity is a serious public health issue in the United States, with associated medical costs of over $100 billion, and 300,000 premature deaths per year attributed to it (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2001, Allison, Fontaine, Manson, Stevens, and VanItallie 1999). Physical health, especially related to obesity, is also closely tied to diet (Gies 2006). Parks with community gardens provide healthy, inexpensive or free produce to gardeners and the community at large (Gies 2006). Additionally, parks provide a place for children to play outdoors, which has many positive effects on children’s health, both short and long term (Louv 2005). Physical benefits of children playing in nature include improved balance, coordination, and blood pressure (Louv 2005, Cole-Hamilton, Harrop and Street 2002). Studies have shown that children who play outdoors are more likely to engage in physical activity when older, which can help prevent obesity, alleviate stress and depression, and decrease risk-taking behaviors such as drug use (Louv 2005, Cole-Hamilton et al. 2002). The popularity of playgrounds with natural settings and elements has risen as a response to the growing issues of obesity, nature deficit disorder, learning deficiencies, and behavioral problems that children now face (Jansson 2010, Jost 2010, Shackell, Butler, Doyle, and Ball 2008). Having nature in public landscapes is essential to psychological health as well. It is well established that plants have a role in mental health (Frumkin 2001). Public green spaces improve mood, effectiveness, social behavior, cognitive functioning, and work performance (Kuo 2001). Any amount of access to parks, even if only a limited view of trees or grass, has been shown to decrease the stresses and fatigue that are associated with living in an urban environment (Kuo 2001). In fact, the field of horticultural therapy, which is in use today, has evolved as a form of mental health treatment based on the

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

therapeutic effects of gardening (Gies 2006). Parks and green space settings are especially important for child development. Children in urban environments tend to suffer from “nature-deficit disorder”, which means that, because of lack of access to green spaces, they miss out on growth opportunities (Louv 2005). Play is necessary for cognitive development throughout childhood (Isenberg and Quinsenberry 2002, Moore, Goltsman and Iacofano 1987). Physical activity has been shown to positively influence alertness, grades, and behavior, as well as brain development and capacity for learning (University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center 2007, Louv 2005, Cole-Hamilton et al. 2002, Praag 1999). Outdoor play is necessary for children to learn about nature, the larger world, and the connection of people to place (Stephens 2007, Louv 2005). Furthermore, children’s ability to deal with stress, manage risks, and interact socially without conflict decreases when they are deprived of play in nature (Louv 2005, Cole-Hamilton et al. 2002). Some researchers hypothesize that the recent rise in ADD and ADHD stems from children having less access to optimal outdoor play environments (Louv 2005). Activity in park settings has been shown to improve the ability of children with ADD to concentrate (Taylor 2001). Independent play also promotes selfesteem, self-awareness, and responsibility (Chancellor 2007, Cole-Hamilton et al. 2002). While streets have historically been used for play in urban environments, the importance of parks as play areas has risen as increased automobile use has reduced the number of streets that are play-friendly and safe (Staempfli 2009, Chancellor 2007). Parks can also be important community centers and strengthen the bonds between local residents. Green common spaces lead to stronger social ties (Kuo 1998). Community gardens especially contribute to social stability and sense of community (Englander 2001). When people work together toward shared goals, such as working in a community garden or creating a park from a vacant lot, they get to know one another, trust one another, look out for one another, and feel invested in their neighborhood... [this] lead[s] to concrete community improvements such as fewer homicides and other violent crime; fewer property crimes, including graffiti; reduced juvenile delinquency; higher educational achievement; lower rates of asthma and teen pregnancy; and better response to the community’s needs by central governments because they see a united front. (Sherer 2004, p.18)

Figure 2–5.  Hudson River Greenway, New York City; exercise is important for physical health.

R2G Background

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Furthermore, research supports the idea that social capital is increased through community involvement in neighborhood parks (Gies 2006).

Environmental Health Parks and green spaces significantly improve environmental conditions in urban areas. Trees and plants improve air quality by producing oxygen and absorbing pollutants (Nowak and Crane 2006). Parks and green space also have the potential to benefit urban water by treating stormwater and increasing infiltration. Green surfaces are more permeable than pavement, and this has the effect of reducing stormwater runoff and increasing the amount of water that infiltrates the soil to groundwater basins and aquifers (Davis 2005). In addition, vegetation is important for removing pollutants from runoff, improving the quality of stormwater before it reaches waterways (Davis 2005). Numerous best management practices are available for implementation in parks and public spaces, which are directed at managing runoff and improving water quality (Davis 2005). These solutions can be of significant benefit to cities by helping to meet water quality standards and improving the safety and availability of public waters. Trees and green space also reduce the heat island effect by reducing the amount of urban surfaces that store solar heat, and by cooling the air through evapotranspiration (United States Environmental Protection Agency 2009). Tree canopies can reduce mid-day air temperatures above ground by 1.26 to 2.34 degrees F (Souch and Souch 1993).

Providing habitat for native species can also be an important function of parks and green space. Urban development displaces native species of plants and animals, many of which have become endangered or extinct (Murphy 1986). In southern California, whole ecosystems are now marginalized and endangered that once thrived in the lowlands, riparian corridors and coastlines where cities have developed (Haslam 1990). According to the field of landscape ecology, patches and corridors in the urban matrix such as parks and greenbelts can play an important role in providing habitat connectivity, thereby increasing the chances of survival for native species (Snep, Opdam, Baveco, Wallis, DeVries, Timmermans, Kwak and Kuypers 2006). Global warming is expected to threaten human health with more frequent and more intense heat waves and increased prevalence of infectious diseases (National Assessment Synthesis Team 2000, Patz 2000, Epstien 2000, Patz et al. 2000). Current measured environmental impacts of global warming include ice melting, especially at the poles; decline in arctic species populations; increase in sea level rise; increase in precipitation; and outbreaks of certain pest insect species (National Geographic 2011). Predicted impacts include continued sea level rise and ice melting, more erratic and catastrophic weather, floods and drought, less available fresh water, as well as extinctions and ecosystem changes (National Geographic 2011). Vegetative growth in parks and other green infrastructure counteracts global warming by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it as woody tissue and soil organic matter (Billups 2001).

Figure 2–6.  Rio de Los Angeles State Park, Los Angeles; parks contribute to social and environmental health.

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Figure 2–7.  El Pueblo, Los Angeles; parks strengthen communities.

R2G Background

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2.2 Case Studies The Speedwell Foundation has partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Georgia Tech Research Institute to create case studies for major cities and metropolitan areas throughout the United States (Red Fields to Green Fields 2011). Developed in conjunction with local organizations, these case studies are the ground work for obtaining funding for implementation. The case studies show visions of how green fields would impact each city by creating jobs, increasing property values, and improving the quality of life for residents. Each case study is different and responds to the unique condition of each urban area. The following six case studies were produced in 2010 in the first round of the Red Fields to Green Fields project.

Denver

Philadelphia

Cleveland

Wilmington

Atlanta

Miami

Figure 2–8.  First round of Red Fields to Green Fields case studies

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Figure 2–9.  Image from Atlanta case study

Figure 2–10.  Image from Denver case study

Atlanta, GA

Denver, CO

“Parks Solve the Urban Real Estate Crisis”

“Parks Redefine and Transform Commercial, Industrial and Residential Real Estate”

The Atlanta Case Study was the first to be developed. It puts forth the original model of Red Fields to Green Fields, wherein under-utilized residential and commercial real estate assets are transformed into public parks. The benefits are perceived to be two-fold: improve the quality of life for residents of the City by addressing the issue of park-poverty, while also improving the City’s economy by taking distressed commercial properties off the books of failing banks and increasing property values in communities surrounding parks. For more information, see “Red Fields to Green Fields: Atlanta” (Georgia Institute of Technology 2010a). rftgf.org

Denver has experienced rapid population growth in recent years. However, while the population is increasing, jobs and park space per resident are declining. The Denver case study focuses on the real estate crisis by targeting the oversupply of housing and declining housing sales, as well as high commercial vacancy rates and high bankruptcy rates. The Denver strategy is to concentrate green fields in two opportunity areas: the South Platte River Corridor and Transit Oriented Developments. For more information, see “ Red Fields to Green Fields: Denver” (Georgia Institute of Technology 2010b). rftgf.org

R2G Background

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Figure 2–11.  Image from Miami-Dade case study

Figure 2–12.  Image from Cleveland case study

Miami-Dade, FL

Cleveland, OH

“Parks Rescue and Restore Economic, Environmental and Public Health”

“Parks Transform Neighborhoods and Waterfronts”

Miami-Dade County is a very large metropolitan area with a host of issues. The population is growing as urban centers densify, putting neighborhood green space at a premium. The area ranks high in troubled real estate, bank failures, and unemployment rates. This case study concentrates on the Miami-Dade County Parks and Open Space System Master Plan initiative, which is a 50-year plan for a connected park system. For more information, see “ Red Fields to Green Fields: Miami” (Georgia Institute of Technology 2010c). rftgf.org

In contrast to cities like Los Angeles or Denver, the population of Cleveland has declined by 53% from 1950 to 2008. In response to its population decline and the loss of manufacturing jobs, Cleveland is diversifying its infrastructure and revitalizing its downtown. The case study highlights a series of existing proposals for parks, park systems, and redevelopment projects that are mostly along major riparian corridors and abutting the waterfront. This includes planned parks, extensive trail extensions, relocation of the port to open up the waterfront, public square redesign, a regional park system plan, and downtown redevelopment. For more information, see “ Red Fields to Green Fields: Cleveland” (Georgia Institute of Technology 2010d). rftgf.org

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Figure 2–13.  Image from Philadelphia case study

Figure 2–14.  Image from Wilmington case study

Philadelphia, PA

Wilmington, DE

“Creating Jobs and Investments for Philadelphia”

“Urban Greening Program Revitalizing Neighborhoods into Vibrant, Healthy Communities”

Much like Cleveland, Philadelphia has suffered from population decline due to the loss of manufacturing jobs since the 1950s as well as migration to the suburbs. The percentage of jobs in the manufacturing sector has shrunk by 90% since 1950. There has been a resurgence in downtown living over the last decade; however, much of the City still suffers from neglect, poverty and segregation. Industrial properties are increasingly unoccupied. Furthermore, some areas of the City are drastically under-served by parks compared to other areas. The case study for Philadelphia focuses on conversion of those “stranded” industrial lands left behind by the shift in the economy as a way to leverage existing park plans. Park proposals such as a regional trail and a riverfront park are used as examples of projects that could be stimulated by Red Fields to Green Fields For more information, see “ Red Fields to Green Fields: Philadelphia” (Georgia Institute of Technology 2010e). rftgf.org

The Wilmington case study looks at the West Side’s southeast quadrant. Problems include high rates of foreclosures, vacancies, low property values, a cycle of disinvestment, limited parks and open space, and poor public health. The case study highlights existing components of the West Side’s community development strategy, including support for housing rehabilitation and home ownership, providing quality rental housing, and redeveloping commercial districts. The case study also includes a summary of various components of an existing network for park restoration and greening, including public-private partnerships, City programs, grassroots leaders, and volunteers. For more information, see “ Red Fields to Green Fields: Wilmington” (Georgia Institute of Technology 2010f ). rftgf.org

R2G Background

17

3

Method

The R2G-LA method was informed by the work of James A. LaGro Jr. (2001), John T. Lyle (1999) and Ian McHarg (1969). These landscape architect scholars set the precedent of using layers of mapped information and various scales to examine important biological and social factors (LaGro 2001, Lyle 1999, McHarg 1969). The R2G-LA method began with inventory and analysis at the regional scale, which resulted in regional objectives. Then inventory and analysis were conducted at the neighborhood scale in order to better understand red fields and their conditions on the ground. Individual sites were then investigated for design at the site scale. This allows for appropriate solutions at the neighborhood and site scales of design, based on inventory and analysis at broader scales. Finally, expanding to the regional scale after site scale design provided the opportunity to envision and quantify the regional-scale benefits that would result from the transformation of numerous site-scale red fields throughout the city.

19

3.1 Method Stages 1. Regional Inventory and Analysis A series of citywide maps were created in GIS to better understand the different social and environmental factors affecting the city of Los Angeles. These included hydrology, transportation, topography, pollution, land use, and population density maps. In addition, economically disadvantaged communities and parkland per 1,000 people were mapped to identify the areas of the city most in need of economic stimulus and additional parkland. Literature research was also performed on these and other regional topics in Los Angeles such as park inequality, real estate, heat island effect, food options, native vegetation, and green initiatives. See Chapter 4.2: Regional Inventory and Objectives for more information.

site scale

2. Neighborhoods Selection In order to conduct more refined inventory and analysis, three Los Angeles neighborhoods were selected for further study. The neighborhoods were selected from within the focus area of communities that had been identified as both low in parkland per resident and economically disadvantaged. In addition, the steering committee provided recommendations on neighborhood choices based on politics and ongoing projects. A typology map of the focus area was created to ensure that the selection of neighborhoods would be representative of the diverse conditions within focus area communities. Boundaries for neighborhoods were based on the Los Angles Times’ Neighborhood Map of Los Angeles County (LA Times 2011). See Chapter 4.4: Area of Focus for more information.

20

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

neighborhood scale

regional scale

Figure 3–1.  Scales of investigation

Inventory Inventory of each neighborhood was conducted using GIS maps to identify important features, including: parks, schools, bike routes, bus routes, metro stops, land use, water flow, and topography. Information about demographics and existing park services was also researched for each neighborhood. In addition, for-sale real estate data from CoStar, a commercial real estate information company, was mapped to identify potential red fields. Analysis of this information led to decisions about where to focus ground-truthing efforts. See Chapter 5.1: Neighborhood Inventory for more information.

Ground-truthing Ground-truthing is the process by which the Studio 606 team inventoried each neighborhood on foot and by car to further identify red fields and to understand neighborhood characteristics. Ground-truthing consisted of verifying CoStar data on the ground and identifying additional vacant lots and abandoned buildings not listed by CoStar. Notes were taken and sites were photographed. Additionally, driving and walking routes were mapped and the red field locations were recorded in Google Maps and using GIS. See Chapter 5.2: Ground-truthing for more information.

3. Red Fields Inventory Ground-truthing provided additional red field data that was georeferenced in GIS using parcel data provided by the Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor. Parcel data for each red field was then transferred from GIS to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and the overall distribution and average size of red fields was calculated for each of the neighborhood study areas. See Chapter 6.1: Red Field Inventory for more information.

Capability In order to understand the opportunities and constraints of each red field site, a list of site characteristics was developed based on the requirements for four basic green field types: urban agriculture, recreation, community, and ecology. Red fields were then mapped according to their characteristics. Additionally, criteria for capability were determined for each category of use, and red fields were

mapped according to their capability using GIS models. See Chapter 7: Green Field Analysis for more information.

Suitability The suitability of each site was refined by using additional criteria including, size, vacancy, proximity to bike lanes, and proximity nodes, to prioritize red fields for each use category. Using GIS models, all red field sites were assigned priority levels in each of the four categories of use. The result was a series of neighborhood maps for each category of use, in which red fields are ranked by priority level. See Chapter 7.3: Suitability Analysis for more information.

Site Selection Four red field sites were then selected for further inventory, analysis and design. These four sites were chosen to represent a broad range of conditions and possible programming, including the four green field types established in the suitability stage. All of the sites were chosen from among the most suitable sites identified previously. See Chapter 8.1: Site Selection for more information.

4. Site Design Site designs were produced to illustrate concepts, design possibilities, and benefits of the R2G-LA vision at the site scale. Designs for each of the four selected sites were developed based on additional site inventory, analysis, program development, and synthesis. Schematic designs produced included 3D models, axonometric views, elevations and perspective renderings. See Chapter 8: Site Design for more information.

5. Extrapolation Extrapolation was used to understand the regionalscale benefits of transforming red fields to green fields. An estimate of the number of red fields that one would expect to find in the entire focus area was calculated by extrapolating average acres of red fields in the neighborhood study areas to the larger area of disadvantaged communities. From this, anticipated environmental, social, and economic benefits were estimated. See Chapter 10.1: Extrapolation for more information.

Method

21

1

2

Regional Regional

Regional Neighborhoods

Inventory

Selection

Park inequality Food options Transportation Water Native vegetation Heat island effect Air pollution Real estate

Area of need: economically disadvantaged and park-poor communities Typologies: land use and population density Three representative neighborhoods Westlake Lincoln Heights Florence

Goals & Objectives Environmental health Social health Economic health

Inventory Demographics Parks Schools Bike routes Bus routes Metro stops Land use Water flow Topography CoStar data

Ground-truthing Toured neighborhoods : Mapped walking and driving routes Identified red fields vacant lots abandoned buildings Documented each red field site

Figure 3–2.  R2G-LA method diagram

22

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

3

Regional Red Fields

Site Selection Four sites chosen from most suitable red fields

Inventory Mapped in GIS Number of parcels Site characteristics slope sun commercial zoning size vacancy proximity to bike lanes proximity to nodes

Site Design

4

Site Analysis Programming Schematic Designs

Capability & Suitability Analysis Green Field Types Urban Agriculture Recreation Community Ecology

5

Extrapolation

Red Field Characteristics slope sun commercial zoning size vacancy proximity to bike lanes proximity to nodes

Method

23

4

Regional Investigation

As the second-largest city in the United States, Los Angeles is an important and influential city. The City of Los Angeles was selected as one of five cities for the second round of R2G case studies because of its regional and national presence. An understanding of the unique aspects and issues of the City was necessary to develop appropriate objectives. In this section the city of Los Angeles and the City’s major issues are documented. Additionally, goals and objectives for R2G-LA are developed based on a broad understanding of these regional issues and opportunities in the City.

25

4.1 Overview of Los Angeles Landscape and People Los Angeles is a large metropolis with a population of 3.8 million people (Perry and Mackun 2001). The City has been growing since the late 19th Century, expanding rapidly through the 20th Century (Gumprecht 1999). From 2000 to 2010 the population grew by 2.7% (Perry and Mackun 2001). With people from 140 different countries speaking up to 92 different languages, the City is quite ethnically diverse (LAUSD Human Resources Division 2004). While the urban areas surrounding Los Angeles are characterized by sprawling development patterns, Los Angeles has a relatively high density among U.S. cities, with an overall population per square mile of 7,877 (Census 2000). Table 4–1 shows the nine largest U.S. cities in 2000 (population over 1 million) by population density (Census 2000). Today Los Angeles covers approximately 470 square miles (LADOT 2009). It is situated primarily in the Los Angeles Basin, although the city boundary extends north to include parts of the Santa Monica Mountains and San Fernando Valley. To the south, a narrow corridor of the boundary also extends to include the Los Angeles Harbor at San Pedro. Steep mountain ranges, including the San Gabriel, Santa Monica, Santa Susana, and Verdugo Mountains, surround the urban area on all sides except to the southwest where the land and the ocean meet (Given Place Media 2011a). See figure 4–1. The urban area itself is highly developed. Approximately 76% of the area within the City boundary is developed land (Figure 4–9). Of the 24% of undeveloped land, only 1.4% is able to be developed and the rest is open space such as the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Griffith Park (Envicom Corporation 1995). Various land use types occupy the developed land area. Approximately 40% is residential, while 8% is industrial and 4% is zoned commercial (Envicom Corporation 1995). In fact, the predominant land use found in the city is single family residential (Envicom Corporation 1995).

26

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Los Angeles is located in an area with a Mediterranean climate, resulting in a long hot, dry season and a short cool and wet season (Wolch, Joassart-Marcelli, Pastor, and Dreier 2005). The mean rainfall for the city is a little under fifteen inches per year (Given Place Media 2011b). Although the average rainfall is low, the winter wet period includes intense storms that frequently cause flooding, debris flows, and, historically, drastic changes of course for rivers and streams in the area (Wolch, JoassartMarcelli, Pastor and Dreier 2005, Gumprecht 1999). The City straddles three primary watersheds: The Los Angeles River, Ballona Creek, and the Dominguez Channel. The Los Angeles River runs through the City for 32 miles, almost all of which is channelized (City of Los Angeles 2007).

Table 4–1.  Population density of nine largest U.S. cities (Census 2000)

U.S. City

Population per sqr. mile

New York

26, 403

Chicago

12,749

Philadephia

11,233

Los Angeles

7,877

San Diego

3,772

Dallas

3,470

Houston

3,372

San Antonio

2,808

Phoenix

2,782

Angeles National Forest

Santa Susana Mountains

118

210

San Fernando Valley

San Gabriel Mountains

5

405

Verdugo Mountains 170

101

Los A

nge

les R

iver

Griffith Park

5 2

Santa Monica Mountains

110

101

405

Downtown Los Angeles 10

10

110

Los Angeles Basin

90

710

Los Angeles City Boundary

105 5

Pacific Ocean

405

110

0

2.5

5

10 Miles

San Pedro Los Angeles Harbor

Figure 4–1.  Map of Los Angeles (adapted from ESRI 2004 and Google 2011)

Regional Investigation

27

12%

10%

8%

6%

4%

2%

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Figure 4–2.  California’s unemployment rate has risen over the past decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011)

Economy The Los Angeles metropolitan region has one of the largest economies in the world. The estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of the Los Angeles metropolitan region for 2008 was $792 billion, putting it ahead of nations such as Australia and Poland (PricewaterhouseCoopers 2009). Leading economic industries in Los Angeles County (2007) include: tourism and hospitality, with 456,000 workers; professional and business services, with 288,000 workers; international trade, with 281,000 workers; entertainment, with 244,000 workers; and wholesale trade and logistics, with 199,000 workers (LACDC 2011). Los Angeles County is also the largest manufacturing center in the United States, with 376,500 workers in that sector, which produces apparel, fabricated metals, food products, aerospace products, and navigation products (LACDC 2011). The City of Los Angeles is known for its high standards of living. However, the City as a whole includes a large economically disadvantaged population. In 2000 the

28

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

percentage of persons living below poverty level in Los Angeles was 22.1%, which was higher than both the County, at 15.3%, and the State, at 14%, and double the national level of 11.3% (Census 2000). The recession has had a serious impact on employment in the Los Angeles region (Figure 4–4). In December of 2006, Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate was at a low of 4.3%, and by July 2010 it had soared to 13.4% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011). The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) reports that 9,237 jobs were lost in Los Angeles between the years of 2006 and 2008 (SCAG 2009).

4.2 Regional Inventory & Objectives 12

10

8

6

4

2

Park Inequality Compared to other large, dense cities in the United States, Los Angeles parkland falls short both in terms of its percentage of the City’s land area and in terms of park acres per resident (Trust for Public Land 2010) (Figure 4–3). While a few large tracts of parkland do exist, such as Griffith Park (4,310 acres), parks are not distributed equally throughout the city, being especially deficient in lower income neighborhoods (Sherer 2003). In Los Angeles, low income neighborhoods tend to be occupied by people of color (Pincetl 2003). On average, while white neighborhoods have 31.8 acres of park space for every 1,000 people, African-American neighborhoods have only 1.7 acres per 1,000 people, and Latino neighborhoods have only 0.6 acres per 1,000 people (Pincetl 2003). Many communities lack a park within walking distance, which is a significant factor contributing to park usage (Giles et al. 2005). In Los Angeles only 30% of the

Sa

i m

go

ia M

k

ica

Ch

w

Yo r

es el

Ne

co

An g

cis

Lo s

Fr an

st on n

Bo

at tl Se

to n ng hi W as

Social Health

e

0

DC

Improving real estate conditions and providing a more equitable distribution of parkland are hallmarks of the R2G initiative. This project also presents an opportunity to target other social and environmental challenges in the City of Los Angeles. The challenges identified by the 606 team that R2G-LA is able to address include the city’s lack of open space, distressed real estate market, environmentally unsustainable water management strategies, auto-centric transportation system, urban heat island effect, limited healthy food options in disadvantaged communities, and decimated native vegetation. Additionally, there is an opportunity to align with and support current green initiatives in the City. In order to achieve the vision of improving environmental, social, and economic systems, objectives have been developed for each issue, which will guide the design of green field solutions. A description of each issue and the related objectives follows.

Figure 4–3.  Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents (Trust for Public Land - City Park Facts 2010) Total park acres includes city, county, metro, state, and federal acres within the city limits.

City’s four million residents live within ¼ mile of a park, compared with 80% and 90% of residents in Boston and New York, respectively (Sherer 2006). Without parks, many people do not have adequate facilities to exercise, relax outdoors, or congregate with friends and family. In addition, as the City’s population is expected to grow well into the 21st century, this puts further pressure on the city’s limited park resources (La Ganga and Lin 2007). Coupled with the fact that there is little land remaining to develop, it is imperative to provide innovate solutions to providing park space. Objective: •

Improve equitable access to green space

Regional Investigation

29

Convenience Stores 32% Fast Food Restaurants 49%

Super Markets 12%

Farmers Markets 1%

Produce Stores 6%

Figure 4–4.  Food sources in low income areas in Los Angeles (California Center for Public Health Advocacy 2007)

Figure 4–5.  Fast food restaurant in South Los Angeles (image: Google 2011)

Food Options Los Angeles County was the most productive agricultural county in the United States until the 1950s, when urban development began to out-compete agriculture for land (Gumprech 1999). This has lead to issues of access to healthy, nutritious food in inner city communities (Gies 2006). Inner city grocery stores tend to get the lowest quality vegetables and meat (Eisinger 1998). Grocery stores in disadvantaged areas often sell spoiled meat and vegetables, suffer from broken refrigerators, and do not consistently stock their shelves with healthy options (Chung and Myers1999). A 1995 study in the City of Los Angeles found that, on average, there were less than half as many full service grocery stores per resident in low income urban communities than in the City as a whole (Cotterill and Franklin 1995). Many of these communities experience higher prices for lower quality produce because of the lack of competition between stores (Shaffer 2002). Lack of access to healthy food options results in health issues such as obesity. In general, overweight people are more likely to die prematurely than people who maintain a healthy weight. Research directly links obesity to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer (Krupa 2001). Recent increases in cases of Type II diabetes can be

30

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

attributed largely to consumption of too many high-fat, high-protein foods, which are cheap and readily available, and not enough fruits and vegetables, which are expensive and can be scarce in low income areas (Los Angeles County Public Health Services 2004). Studies show that a change in diet to include more fruits and vegetables and fewer high calorie processed foods could prevent as many as 35% of the annual deaths attributed to cancer (Los Angeles County Public Health Services 2004).

Objectives: •

Increase equitable access to healthy food options

Provide opportunities for local agriculture

Transportation Transportation in Los Angeles has been dominated by automobile use since the early twentieth century (Starr 2005). As the City’s population has ballooned over the years, the reliance on cars as the main form of transportation has resulted in congested freeways and some of the highest levels of air pollution in the nation (American Lung Association 2011). Furthermore, the prevalence of automobiles and auto-centric street design does not contribute to a pedestrian-friendly environment (Lewyn 2008). Unfortunately, an autocentric transportation system creates inequality for residents without cars and limits the ability of residents to chose alternative transportation modes such as walking, bicycling, and mass transit. In order to address the current issues and anticipate future challenges, it is imperative that the City develop a more equitable transportation system. Public transportation in Los Angeles has a history that dates back to 1873 (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority 2011). At that time many private owners of public transit were in operation, and transit systems included horse cars, cable cars, incline railways, steam trains, electric streetcars, interurban cars, trolley buses, and gas or diesel powered buses. At the beginning of the twentieth century Los Angeles still had a fairly extensive trolley system, but it reached its peak use in 1924 and steadily declined with the rise of automobiles (Starr 2005). Trolley ridership had halved by 1933, and the trolley system was completely dismantled by 1960

(Wolch et al. 2005). By 1919, more automobiles were owned by Los Angeles residents than in any other city in the United States (Wachs 1984). This was due largely to the good weather in Southern California since cars in the early 1900’s were open to the elements. According to Boehle (2010), after World War II the use of automobiles increased because of attractive advertising, inexpensive gasoline and an increase in suburban living. The auto-centric transportation system in Los Angeles is inefficient. Annual vehicle miles traveled in the City of Los Angeles have increased by 13% from 1999 to 2009 (Census 2010). The percentage of commuters who traveled more than an hour to work increased by 4% from 1990 from 2009 (Census 2010). In Los Angeles County, annual hours of delay per capita increased from 31 in 1982 to 56 in 1999, which resulted in more than 1.1 million gallons of wasted fuel and a total delay-related cost of $12.5-billion (Wolch, Pastor, and Dreier 2004). The transportation sector in California is responsible for the greatest fossil fuel consumption and highest levels of air pollution compared to other sectors (California EPA Air Resources Board 2010, SCAQMD 2008).

Objectives: •

Improve connectivity for alternative forms of transportation

Figure 4–6.  Traffic on the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles

Regional Investigation

31

Environmental Health Water The hydrology of the Los Angeles Basin is based on dynamic physical processes. Water flow is dominated by the slopes of the Transverse Mountain Ranges surrounding the Basin, which are relatively young mountains that experience a high rate of uplift and erosion (LACDPW Water Resources Division 2006). The steep mountain slopes promote rapid concentration of runoff once soils are moistened to capacity (LACDPW Water Resources Division 2006). River systems such as the Los Angeles River historically served to transport eroded sediment from these mountains to valleys below, forming the coastal plains on which the majority of the Los Angeles urban area is now located (Given Place Media 2011, LACDPW Water Resources Division 2006, Gumprecht 1999). Therefore, most soils in Los Angeles are composed of highly porous rock, sand, and silt deposits, which in some areas are as deep as twenty or thirty thousand feet (Given Place Media 2011, LACDPW Water Resources Division 2006, Gumprecht 1999). The permeability of alluvial soils ensures that most streams often flow underground (LACDPW Water Resources Division 2006). Despite the intermittent nature of streams, concentrated storms frequently have resulted in floods and debris flows, especially when mountain

Figure 4–7.  Los Angeles River after a heavy rain

32

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

slopes have been denuded by forest fires (LACDPW Water Resources Division 2006, Gumprecht 1999). These dynamics make the rivers of the area erratic and unpredictable (Gumprecht 1999). In fact, before being channelized, the Los Angeles River was a wide braided stream, which would variably drain to the Santa Monica Bay or join with the San Gabriel River, while for most of the year it disappeared underground before reaching the Pacific Ocean (LACDPW Water Resources Division 2006, Gumprecht 1999). Since the Los Angeles urban area has developed extensively on and around natural drainages such as the Los Angeles River, enormous effort has gone into protecting the built environment from flood and debris damage (Gumprecht 1999). Most of the Los Angeles River and its tributaries have been constricted to concrete channels or underground pipes, while numerous dams and debris basins have been built to catch and control sediment (LACDPW Water Resources Division 2006, Lewis 2006). This extensive storm drain system was designed to convey a specific amount of water away from urban areas in a certain amount of time (LADPW Watershed Protection Division 2009). However, as

Figure 4–8.  Los Angeles River at low flow

imperviousness due to urbanization has increased, the volume of run-off has increased, and the concentration time of urban runoff has decreased -- factors that stress the capacity of the original system and increase the likelihood of flooding (Water Environment Federation 1996). In most cases the storm drains convey runoff directly to the Los Angeles River and the Pacific Ocean, and nonpoint-source pollutants are carried to the sea without an opportunity for natural biofiltration or bioremediation (LADPW Watershed Protection Division 2009, Gumprecht 1999). This results in waterways that are impacted by toxic pollutants as well as lack of vegetation, providing little opportunity for wildlife habitat and riparian vegetation that might otherwise take advantage of natural drainages (LADPW Watershed Protection Division 2009, Paul and Meyer 2001). Contact with vegetation, soil, and permeable surfaces is an important way to improve the quality of stormwater runoff (LADPW Watershed Protection Division 2009). Furthermore, in addition to being very costly, this channelized system impedes the recharge of groundwater aquifers. It is estimated that only 16% of precipitation in the Los Angeles Region currently percolates to groundwater, while 50% flows directly through the stormwater system to the ocean as urban runoff (LASGRWC 2010). Coupled with impeded groundwater

recharge, extraction from the groundwater basins due to population demands has led to saltwater intrusion from the Pacific Ocean, which is currently stalled by injecting fresh water into the ground (Johnson 2007). Los Angeles is experiencing fresh water shortages, and the supply is at risk. Currently, only 11% of the city of Los Angeles’ water supply comes from local groundwater, while 35% comes from the Owens Valley via the Los Angeles Aqueduct, and 53% is purchased from the Metropolitan Water District which primarily sources its water from the Colorado River, Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the California Aquaduct, which in turn gets its water from reservoirs in the Sierra Nevada (Villaraigosa 2008).The City’s Plan, put forth by Mayor Villaraigosa in 2008 responds to water shortages and indicates a number of factors that put the City’s water supply at risk, including: a large and growing population; the State Water Resources Control Board Mono Lake decision, along with the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Project and other mitigation and restoration projects that limit the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s ability to export from the Eastern Sierra; a Federal Court ruling to protect the delta smelt, which may limit the ability of the Metropolitan Water District to take from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by as much as one third; contamination of the San Fernando Valley groundwater supply; and the potentially destabilizing factor of climate change (Villariagosa 2008).

Regional Investigation

33

118

210

5

405

Verdugo Mountainss

170

101

Griffith Park

5 2

Santa Monica Mountains

110

101

405

Downtown Los Angeles 10

10

110 90

105

Open Space

110

Developed

0

2.5

5

10 Miles

Figure 4–9.  Developed and undeveloped land in Los Angeles (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection 2005)

34

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Upper Los Angeles River

Ballona Creek

Los Angeles River Ballona Creek Garapito Creek - Frontal Santa Monica Bay Frontal Santa Monica Bay - San Pedro Bay Dominguez Channel Big Tujunga Creek Rivers and Streams

0

2.5

5

10 Miles

Figure 4–10.  Los Angeles watersheds and rivers (USGS 2002)

Regional Investigation

35

The City’s Plan proposes numerous water conservation strategies including prohibiting certain uses of water, public outreach, reducing outdoor water usage, water recycling, stormwater capture, cleaning up groundwater basins, and expanding groundwater storage. Additionally irrigation guidelines that limit the amount of water used in landscapes were issued by the City of Los Angeles to ensure compliance of landscape plans to California Assembly Bill 1881’s water conservation requirements, which went into effect in 2010 (LADCP 2011). The city’s attitude toward stormwater and the river is changing. According to the Water Quality Compliance Master Plan for Urban Runoff, “The City now looks at its rivers, lakes and coastal waters as essential for the quality of life in Los Angeles” (LADPW Watershed Protection Division 2009, p.1). Instead of considering urban runoff a nuisance, the City is beginning to value it as a resource for fresh water (LADPW Watershed Protection Division 2009). In 2004 the citizens passed Proposition O, indicating their resolve to improve the City’s water. Proposition O provides funding for projects that would clean up pollution and improve water quality in the City’s watercourses and waterfronts, reduce flooding, and decrease polluted runoff using neighborhood parks. This proposition authorized the City to issue bonds for up to $500 million for land acquisition and improvements, including planning and design, to be paid for by property taxes (City of Los Angeles Bond Measure O 2011). Legislation and guidelines are now in place to ensure that urban runoff in Los Angeles meets standards for pollution levels. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits are mandated by the Federal Clean Water Act. In 2010 the Los Angeles River was declared “navigable” by the EPA, which means that, according to recent Supreme Court rulings, it is eligible for full regulatory protection under the Clean Water Act (Quinlan 2010). In addition, there is now increased enforcement of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), which set limits to the amount of pollution a water body can receive and still meet standards (LA Stormwater, LADPW Watershed Protection Division 2009). Over 60 TMDLs affecting Los Angeles are expected to be adopted by 2012 (LA Stormwater, LADPW Watershed Protection Division 2009). For this reason, the City created the Water Quality Compliance Master Plan for Urban Runoff (LADPW Watershed Protection Division 2009) as a 20 year strategy to reduce pollution from urban runoff in Los Angeles using green infrastructure and other means. The City is also currently working on a Low Impact

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Development Ordinance (LA Stormwater). Low impact development, including green infrastructure, stormwater best management practices and permeable surfaces, can improve water infiltration and water quality (Chau 2009). Capturing and infiltrating the first three quarters of an inch of rainfall throughout the region could triple the amount of water that percolates to groundwater basins each year (Chau 2009). Objectives: •

Improve runoff water quality by increasing vegetated surfaces and low impact development

Improve groundwater infiltration and recharge with green infrastructure, low impact development and permeable surfaces

Native Vegetation California’s topography and climate create one of the planet’s most biodiverse hot spots (Keator and Middlebrook 2007, Holland and Keil 1995), with nearly 6,000 species and subspecies of plants, and as many cultivars (Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, Inc. 2009, Holland and Keil 1995). However, in Southern California, many of the plant communities that have evolved to take advantage of the unique microclimates, soils and slopes, are now endangered by widespread development (Keator and Middlebrook 2007). Coastal sage scrub, or southern coastal scrub, is the endangered plant community which makes up the majority of the historical vegetation that dominated the Los Angeles Basin before urban development replaced it (Keator and Middlebrook 2007). Coastal sage scrub is influenced by ocean air and is adapted to dry summers by being drought tolerant and often drought deciduous (Holland and Keil 1995). In addition, coastal sage scrub as well as many other plant communities in Southern California are adapted to fire regimes as some species depend on heat for seed germination (Holland and Keil 1995). Fire also provides niche opportunities for colonizing species in coastal sage scrub that are outcompeted by longer living species over time (Holland and Keil 1995). The structure of the coastal sage scrub community includes shrubs less than six feet in height and a rich understory layer of herbaceous

Figure 4–11.  Native California plant community In the San Gabriel Mountains

perennials, grasses, annuals and bulbs (Landis 2011). The predominant species of coastal sage scrub are low, fragrant shrubs with soft stems and thick leaves such as California sagebrush, black sage, purple sage, and white sage (Keator and Middlebrook 2007). Other prominent shrubs include lemonade berry, laurel sumac, chaparral yucca, coyote brush, coffeeberry, California buckwheat, encelia sunflower, and prickly pear (Landis 2011, Keator and Middlebrook 2007, Holland and Keil 1995). Coastal sage scrub communities in southern California are a major component of a complicated mosaic of grasslands, coastal scrub, chaparral, coastal live oak woodlands, and riparian woodlands (Holland and Keil 1995). Riparian woodland communities occur along streams and waterways which course through the drier sage scrub (Keator and Middlebrook, 2007, Holland and Keil 1995). Western sycamore, white alder, black walnut, cottonwood and willow species are often found in riparian habitat (Landis 2011, Keator and Middlebrook 2007). Moving inland, the ocean influence is weaker, temperatures

are higher, the weather is drier, and coastal sage scrub gradually gives way to chaparral (Holland and Keil 1995). Chaparral species tend to be taller and woodier evergreens with smaller, harder leaves than sage scrub (Landis 2011, Holland and Keil 1995). Common chaparral species include chemise, manzanita, scrub oak, ceanothus, toyon, coffeeberry, live oak, sugarbush, poison-oak, and yerba santa (Landis 2011, Holland and Keil 1995). Unlike the overlap between coastal sage scrub and chaparral, the divide between coastal sage scrub and grassland is usually pronounced, separated by a bare unvegetated zone, likely a combination of allelopathy and rodent and bird foraging (Holland and Keil 1995). Grasslands occur from sea level to approximately 4000 feet in dry mountain regions, commonly on terraces and flat areas (Holland and Keil 1995), whereas sage scrub is more often found on slopes (Landis 2011, Holland and Keil 1995). Grasslands native to Southern California tend to have perennial grasses with deep root systems (Emory 2011). Native grasses include needle grasses,

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37

California fescue, and California oatgrass (Emory 2011). The transitional zone between hot, dry grasslands and moist, cool upland forests is dominated by southern oak forests with trees 15-70 feet tall (Holland and Keil 1995). Oak forests, typically dominated by coast live oak, blue oak, Engelmann oak, valley oak, or other oak species, are most dense where water is adequately available and more openly structured in drier areas (Holland and Keil 1995). Using native vegetation has many benefits. One of these is creating a unique sense of place that speaks to location, microclimate, soils, and species co-evolution (Keator and Middlebrook 2007). Because native plants are adapted to the hot, dry summers and wet winters of Los Angeles, they require less water, and may therefore be more affordable to maintain (Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, Inc. 2009, Keator and Middlebrook 2007). In addition, native vegetation offers diversity and aesthetic beauty as well (Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, Inc. 2009). Some of the best foundation shrubs and trees, most appealing foliage plants, and longest blooming flowers are native to California (Keator and Middlebrook 2007). Native vegetation also attracts native animal species such as butterflies and hummingbirds, that enhance the user’s experience of nature.

Coastal Sagebrush Coastal Saltmarsh Mixed Hardwood Forest Southern Oak Forest

Objectives:

Southern Seashore Communities

Enhance peoples’ connectivity to nature to enhance the sense of place

0

Reincorporate native plants and habitat into the urban environment

Figure 4–13.  Coastal sage scrub in the Transverse Mountain Range

38

Chaparral

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

2.5

5

10 Miles

Figure 4–12.  Historic native plant communities of Los Angeles (adapted from MPGIS U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid Pacific Region 1996)

Figure 4–14.  Heat island effect in Los Angeles is exacerbated by overdevelopment.

Heat Island Effect The rise in temperatures in urban areas compared to nearby rural surroundings is known as the “heat island effect” (U.S. EPA n.d.). This urban climate condition is the result of the high thermal mass of concrete and asphalt, trapped air between tall buildings, and heat emitted from cars and air conditioners (U.S. EPA n.d.). Los Angeles is a large, expansive city with hundreds of miles of roadway and thousands of buildings. Most of the wild land and vegetation that was originally here, except for some inaccessible hills and protected lands, has been paved over for development. Figure 4–9, pg. 34 illustrates the extent of development in Los Angeles by mapping the amount of impervious surfaces, such as sidewalks, buildings, and roads. All this development has raised the average temperature in the City. High temperatures in the summer have increased from 97°F in the 1930s to 105° in the 1990s (U.S. DOE 1996). Areas of the city with limited trees and green space are particularly vulnerable to temperature increases. Average summer temperatures in downtown Los Angeles, for instance, are 5°F warmer than surrounding suburban and rural lands (Brasuell 2007). Heat islands have significant physical health implications. The resulting higher temperatures increase the number of heat-related deaths and illnesses in summer months (Reid, et al. 2009). As temperatures increase so does smog, resulting in poorer air quality. The United States Department of Energy (1996) reports that every degree of temperature rise above 70°F in Los Angeles results in a 3% smog increase. Los Angeles has also been listed as one of the top United States cities most vulnerable to health problems from temperature rises (Reid et al. 2009). Mitigation measures to reduce urban heat islands focus on

105° F

100° F

95° F 1930

1950

1970

1990

Figure 4–15.  Yearly high temperatures in Los Angeles (US Dept. of Energy 1996) Yearly High Temperatures in Los Angeles

two solutions: increasing urban vegetation increasing source: Heat Island Project, Berkeley National and Laboratory the reflectivity of man-made surfaces (Rosenthal, Crauderueff and Carter 2008). Roughly one third of Los Angeles is covered by tree canopy or grass and soil (McPherson, et al. 2011), but distribution is uneven. High density residential, commercial, and industrial areas are low in tree canopy cover. Increasing the amount of parks and green space throughout the City, especially in districts currently low in trees, can reduce the heating of Los Angeles and improve the health and quality of life for residents. Objective: • Reduce the heat island effect by increasing parks and open space for areas in need.

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Figure 4–16.  Air pollution over downtown Los Angeles

Air Pollution The South Coast Air Basin, the air quality monitoring region in which Los Angeles is located, has the poorest air quality in the U.S. (SCAQMD 2008). The main source of air pollutants is the burning of fossil fuels (USEPA 2011, SCAQMD 2008). Air pollutants that are regularly monitored and controlled in California include particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5), ozone, sulfur dioxide, sulfates, carbon monoxide, and lead (SCAQMD 2008). Most of these pollutants cause respiratory damage and impairment or cardiac problems, and the effects range from fatigue to death (California EPA Air Resources Board 2009). Diesel fuel emissions are responsible for the greatest toxic risks in Southern California (SCAQMD 2008). According to national ranking of 277 metropolitan areas by the American Lung Association (2011), Los Angeles ranks highest in ozone pollution levels throughout the year, second highest in year-round particle pollution, and fourth highest in short-term particle pollution. Additionally, the burning of fossil fuels is the largest source of greenhouse gases and accounts for 79% of global warming potential (EPA 2011). In Southern

40

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

California carbon dioxide, particulate matter from fossil fuels, and land use changes have the greatest impact on global warming (Electric Power Research Institute 2003). California emits 54 million tons of carbon dioxide annually from fossil fuel burning (California EPA Air Resources Board 2010). Compared to commercial, industrial, residential, and electrical sectors, the transportation sector of California uses the most fossil fuels and accounts for 36.5% of greenhouse gas inventories (California EPA Air Resources Board 2010). Global warming in Southern California is predicted to intensify weather extremes and storm events, increase temperatures, increase potential for wild fires, and negatively impact agriculture (Electric Power Research Institute et al. 2003). Furthermore, climate change and associated temperature and pollutant increases exacerbate air quality (Iacobellis, Norris, Kanamitsu, Tyree, Cayan and Scripps Institution of Oceanography 2009). The topography of southern California, with valleys surrounded by mountain ranges, produces regularly occurring temperature inversions and chronic air quality problems (Iacobellis et al. 2009).

Figure 4–17.  Air pollution can be mitigated by trees.

Temperature inversions inhibit vertical air movement, increasing the concentration of smog and pollutants near the ground (Iacobellis et al. 2009). Particulate matter from the burning of fossil fuels has been shown to increase the length of time of these inversions and the concentration of pollutants in the air (Iacobellis et al. 2009).

Objectives: • Improve air quality and sequester carbon by increasing vegetation •

Promote and accommodate alternative forms of transportation

Enhance the walkability of neighborhoods

There are a few strategies that R2G can use in Los Angeles to decrease air pollution. Primarily, the conversion of red fields to green fields provides trees and vegetation that help improve air quality, sequester carbon, and reduce fossil fuel consumption by reducing cooling demands (Rowntree and Nowak 1991). According to Akbari (2002), “Each shade tree in Los Angeles prevents the combustion of 18kg of carbon annually and sequesters an additional 4.5–11kg of carbon per year” (p. 119). Another way that R2G can decrease fossil fuel consumption is by promoting alternative forms of transportation such as biking, walking, and taking public transportation.

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Transaction Volume $6,000,000

3500

Average Price Per Acre

3000

$5,000,000

2500 Price per Acre ($)

$4,000,000 2000 $3,000,000 1500 $2,000,000 1000 $1,000,000

$0

500

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

0

Figure 4–18.  Los Angeles County commercial property transaction volume and average price per acre (CoStar 2010)

Economic Health Real Estate The recent economic recession had drastic consequences for Los Angeles’ real estate market. From 2007 to 2008, home prices in Los Angeles fell by almost 26% (SCAG 2009). While Los Angeles’ economy will gradually improve, the 2011-2012 Economic and Industry Report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LACEDC) forecasts that major sectors will continue to suffer, particularly in the construction and real estate industries (Sidhu, Ritter, and Guerra 2011). Non-residential real estate is expected to experience low construction activity, high vacancy rates, declining lease rates, and falling property values making it difficult for developers to roll over existing loans (Sidhu et al. 2011). In addition, real estate troubles have a ripple effect on other industries: “Large regional and small community banks have built up large concentrations of commercial real estate loans, and delinquencies are high” (Sidhu et al. 2011 pp 85). Because of these delinquencies, credit markets remain tight and there is no clear forecast for funds to begin flowing again (Sidhu et al. 2011). Commercial real estate is experiencing much greater

42

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

vacancy rates than other sectors such as industry. In the fourth quarter of 2010 office vacancy rates were 17%, a 1% increase from the same quarter in 2009, which is the highest vacancy rate for office real estate in LA county since 1996. The real estate market has been flooded by millions of square feet of office space dumped by financial institutions (Sidhu et al. 2011). Red Fields to Green Fields can help the local and regional economy by transforming some of these commercial properties into useful open space. The effect of this can be to help free up capital, stimulate lending, encourage development, create jobs, and help improve a lagging sector of the economy. Objectives: •

Remove distressed properties from the real estate market

Improve property values

Figure 4–19.  Farmers’ market, Los Angeles; an example of local economic activity that contributes to healthy food options.

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4.3 R2G-LA Goals & Objectives Three goals have been developed in association with the vision of R2G-LA: Restore Environmental Health, Increase Economic Health, and Improve Social Health. Each goal has specific objectives, which form the foundation of green field solutions discussed in Chapter 7.1. Goals and objectives were developed based on the City’s issues and regional objectives that were presented in Chapters 4.1 and 4.2 and the benefits of parks outlined in Chapter 2.1. The following is a consolidated list of R2GLA’s goals and objectives:

The vision of R2G-LA is to transform underutilized urban sites into green fields throughout the City of Los Angeles, resulting in cumulative, far-reaching improvements to the City’s environmental, social, and economic health.

Goal: Restore Environmental Health

Goal: Improve Social Health

Objectives:

Objectives:

Improve air quality and sequester carbon by increasing vegetation

Reincorporate native vegetation into the urban environment

Reduce the heat island effect by increasing trees and green space in the urban environment

Improve runoff water quality by increasing vegetated surfaces and low impact development

Improve infiltration and the recharge of groundwater basins with green infrastructure, low impact development and permeable surfaces

Goal: Increase Economic Health Objectives:

44

Vision

Increase property vaues

Provide communities places for meeting and exchange

Remove distressed properties from the real estate market

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Provide places for residents to exercise

Provide places for children to play

Enhance the walkability of neighborhoods

Provide place-based educational opportunities

Accommodate alternative forms of transportation

Increase equitable access to healthy food options

Provide opportunities for local agriculture

4.4 Neighborhood Selection 118

210

5

405

170

101

5

2

110

Lincoln Heights

101

405

Westlake

10 90

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Florence

710 105 5 0

2.5

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Area of need

10 Miles

1. Areas of greatest need identified

2. Study neighborhoods selected based 405 on need and typologies

Figure 4–20.  Investigation diagram 110

In order to obtain a 0more in-depth understanding10of red 2.5 5 fields, their conditions, and their community context, Miles the scale of inventory was narrowed from the City of Los Angeles to specific neighborhoods. First, the area of need was identified as those parts of the City that are economically disadvantaged, which are also the most park-poor. Then, three study neighborhoods were chosen as a sample of the diverse development patterns (typologies) found within this area of need. The process of neighborhood selection proceeded in three stages: determination of the area of need, development of

typologies, and selection of representative neighborhoods from among the typologies. This process evolved from extensive discussion with the steering committee and faculty over the course of many meetings and conference calls. The 606 Studio team was guided by the expertise of the steering committee at all stages, especially in the development of typologies and selection of neighborhoods. The knowledge of the steering committee about existing development patterns in Los Angeles, as well as existing and proposed park projects from various partners, was invaluable to the decision-making process.

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Area of Need With the help of the steering committee it was decided that the area of need on which we would focus our investigation would include those communities of Los Angeles that were most in need of green fields. In order to concentrate R2G-LA efforts on areas with the most need, communities were included that are disadvantaged and park poor according to Proposition 84 funding standards (California Department of Water Resources 2006). These communities currently recieve the least benefits from parks described in Chapter 2.

Park Poverty Park poverty is a measure of the amount of available park space per resident within a given community. For the purposes of this study, this was calculated by Census block group as accessible parkland acres per 1,000 people. Accessibile parkland was defined for each block group as all parks and open spaces whose border is within a quarter mile of the block group. The total acreage of these parks and open spaces was then divided by the total population of the block group and multiplied by 1,000. Park-poor communities are those block groups that contain less than 3 acres of accessible parkland per 1,000 residents, as indicated by the requirements of Proposition 84, the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006 (California Department of Water Resources 2006).

46

Disadvantaged Communities In Proposition 84, disadvantaged communities are defined as having a household median income that is 80% or less of the state’s median household income (California Department of Water Resources 2006). Additionally, severely disadvantage communities have a median household income that is 60% of the state’s median household income (California Department of Water Resources 2006). Median household income for the State of California was $47,493 in 1999 (Census 2000). Thus, in 1999 a severely disadvantaged community was one with a median household income of $28,140 or less, and a disadvantaged community’s median household income was $28,141 to $37,520. The total area of disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles, calculated by Census block group, is about 130 square miles and includes a population of 3 million people (Census 2000) (Figure 4-22). In Figure 4–22 the majority of disadvantaged communities are found near downtown and south along the Harbor Freeway (I-110), with pockets scattered throughout San Fernando Valley and other parts of the City.

Overlay of Park Poverty and Disadvantaged Communities

Figure 4–21 shows three categories of park accessibility to give a more refined picture of park poverty in Los Angeles. As shown, much of the City of Los Angeles has block groups with less than 3 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, qualifying them as park poor, and in many cases communities have less than 1 acre per 1,000 residents. In fact, some communities have no parkland at all.

Figure 4–23 shows an overlay of the disadvantaged communities mapped in Figure 4–22 (dashed outline) with the Park-poor communities that were mapped in Figure 4–21 (red). This shows that nearly all disadvantaged communities fall within the parkpoor areas of Los Angeles, and that many of the most park-poor areas of the City are also economically disadvantaged.

In Los Angeles, the development pattern is such that many single and multi-family dwellings have their own small yards. Therefore, the lack of open space may not be as much of an issue as it would be in more dense residential areas with high-rise apartments, such as New York or Shanghai. However, if neighborhoods are park poor, and have a significant number of multi-family units without private, outdoor space, the need for neighborhood green space becomes even more critical. As will be shown in the following discussion of typologies, this is the case in many of Los Angeles’ park-poor neighborhoods.

Figure 4-24 shows park-poor areas from within the boundary of economically disadvantaged communites. This is the area of greatest need, in terms of being both economically disadvantaged and park-poor. However, since nearly all of the economically disadvantaged communities are park-poor, and there is strong correlation between poverty and park-poverty, the disadvantaged community boundary is a good representation of need. Therefore, economically disadvantaged communities are the focus of this project, as this is where green fields can make the greatest improvements to quality of life.

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

0 - 1 acres/thousand 1 - 3 acres/thousand

Below 60%

3 - 10 acres/thousand

60% - 80%

0

2.5

5

0

10

2.5

5

10 Miles

Miles

Figure 4–21.  Accessible park acres per 1,000 people by Census block group (adapted from Census 2000 and ESRI 2004)

Figure 4–22.  Percentage of State Household Median Income (adapted from Census 2000 and U.S. Census Bureau 2002)

0 - 1 acres/thousand 1 - 3 acres/thousand 3 - 10 acres/thousand Disadvantaged boundary 0

2.5

5

10 Miles

Figure 4–23.  Park poverty combined with economically disadvantaged community area boundary

0

2.5

5

10 Miles

Figure 4–24.  Area of greatest need; park-poor areas from within the disadvantaged community area boundary

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Typologies Because the area of need covers 126 square miles of Los Angeles, further refinement was needed in order to select manageable study areas. Communities included in the area of need have a broad array of development patterns and densities, from high-rise apartments to suburban-style neighborhoods. Conversations with the steering committee led to the idea of selecting three neighborhoods that would represent the diversity of communities within the area of need. A method for neighborhood selection was developed that uses typologies to represent different combinations of land use types and population densities. This method is described below.

Population Density Population density varies greatly among communities in the area of need. Many neighborhoods within the area of need have high population densities, at over 20,000 people per square mile, in comparison to the average population density for the City of Los Angeles, which is 7,828 people per square mile (Census 2000) (Figure 4–27). The areas of Los Angeles with the highest population densities are primarily west of downtown, including such neighborhoods as Westlake and Koreatown (Census 2000) (Figure 4–27). Although these areas often have a greater number of parks than some of the other park poor neighborhoods, the acreage of parks is still relatively low for the high number of residents, making these areas park poor as well. Many of the residents within these areas live in apartments without private outdoor space, which exacerbates the need for green fields.

Land Use Land use policy establishes the basic type and intensity of uses permitted for each parcel in the city, including the overall maximum density for residential development and maximum intensity of development for commercial and industrial uses (Los Angeles County Dept. of Regional Planning 2009). Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) land use data from 2005 was mapped over the city, presenting a broad view of the land use types throughout the city (Figure 4–26). SCAG divides land use into thirtyeight categories. However, in order to improve legibility, similar land uses were combined into nine categories (Figure 4–25).

48

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Land use patterns also vary among communities within the area of need. Industrial areas are concentrated along the Los Angeles River corridor, as well as in South Los Angeles and along rail lines. Residential areas within the area of need also tend to be predominantly multi-family, while single-family residential tends to be more common outside of this area.

Commercial (Retail Stores and Commercial Services, Hotels and Motels, Commercial Storage, General Office Use, Commercial Recreation) Single-family residential (Single Family Residential) Multi-family residential (Multi-family residential, Mixed Urban, Mixed Residential) Industrial (Light Industrial, Utility Facilities, Wholesaling and Warehousing, Heavy Industrial) Vacant Parkland (Open Space and Recreation) Institutional/civic (Schools, Government Offices, Police Stations, Fire Stations, Hospitals) Transportation/ Railroad Water Figure 4–25.  Consolidated land use categories

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More than 30,000 20,000 - 30,000

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Figure 4–26.  Land use (SCAG 2005)

2.5 2.5

5 5

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Miles Miles

Figure 4–27.  Population per square mile (Census 2000)

Figure 4–28.  Westlake has more than 30,000 people per square mile.

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5

405

170

101

118

210

Typology Mapping 5

The previous inventories were used together with expert input from the steering committee and partners to develop 405 three typologies: 5 • • •

101

405 Multifamily

110

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Industrial Fringe

90

In order to map these typologies over the city, the density 405 and land use maps were first combined (see Figure 4–29). 170 Then, a grid of ¼ mile by ¼ mile squares was place over this map. Next, based on analysis of this map, each square of the grid was colored one of three colors representing the three typologies. Whether a square became one of the three typologies was based on which specific land type filled the majority of the grid cell or its adjacency to an industrial area. It proceeded in three phases, as follows. First, squares containing residential land use within ¼ mile of industrial land use were colored purple for “Industrial Fringe.” Next, if a square contained a majority of high density population (greater than 30,000 people per square mile) and was not already colored for “Industrial Fringe,” the square was colored pink for “High 90squares that contained a Density.” Finally, uncolored majority405 multi-family land use were colored yellow for “Multifamily.” Areas that did not meet these conditions were left blank. Figure 4–30 shows the completed typology map for the City of Los Angeles.

101

1. Land Use + Density map 101

High Density

High Density includes residential, commercial and mixeduse development types characterized by a population 210 density of 30,000 people per square mile or greater (SCAG 2005, Census 2000). Multifamily includes multi-family residential, commercial and mixed-use development types characterized by a population density below 30,000 people per square mile (SCAG 2005, Census 2000). Industrial Fringe consists of residential, commercial, and mixed-use development types 5 within ¼ 405 mile of industrial land use (SCAG 2005).

118

2

In general, within the disadvantaged communities, areas along the Los Angeles River and to the north and east of downtown fell into the Industrial Fringe category. The area directly west of downtown was primarily High Density. Areas farther west and to the south of downtown, and areas in the San Fernando Valley, were designated with the Multifamily category.These typologies cover most of the area of need as well as a few other parts of the City.

10 5 2

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2. Quarter mile grid placed over map 110

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Figure 4–29.  Typology method diagram

90

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

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10 Miles

Figure 4–30.  Typologies mapped over Los Angeles

Source: ESRI, Census 2000, SCAG Land Use 2005

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Neighborhood Selection Within the area of need, three neighborhoods were selected for ground-truthing, further analysis, and site design. These neighborhoods were selected based on input from the steering committee along with analysis of the typology map so that they represent the range of urban typlologies that are found in park-poor, disadvantaged communities. Each neighborhood has a different pattern of land use and population density, and is dominated by a different typology. In this way the diversity of disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles is investigated in order to achieve a better understanding of the red fields that are scattered throughout the City. The three neighborhoods selected were Lincoln Heights, Westlake, and the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Florence. Boundaries were based on neighborhood maps by The Los Angeles Times (2011). Figure 4–31 shows the location and boundaries of each neighborhood. While each neighborhood study area is roughly the same size, approximately 2.5 square miles, and considered economically disadvantaged, there are marked differences between them.

Lincoln Heights, northeast of downtown, is the least populated and least dense of the three neighborhoods (Census 2000). Lincoln Heights is an irregularly shaped neighborhood that is bounded by the Arroyo Seco channel and the 110 Freeway on the northwest side, the Los Angeles River on the west side; Mission Road, Valley Boulevard, and Soto Street on the southeast side; and steeply rising slopes to the northeast.

Westlake Westlake has the highest population density and highest total population (Census 2000). Pedestrian and commercial activity is focused on the part of the neighborhood that surrounds MacArthur Park and its nearby Metro stop. Buildings near the park often have multiple stories of commercial or mixed use. In addition, street vendors are usually present on sidewalks in and around the park. The boundaries of Westlake are the 101 Freeway on the northeast side, Glendale Boulevard and the 110 Freeway on the southeast side, Olympic Boulevard on the southwest side, and Westmoreland Avenue, Wilshire Place, and Virgil Avenue on the west side.

Square Miles

Lincoln Heights

2.51

Westlake

2.72

Florence

Florence

2.80

Florence has flat terrain, suburban-type development characterized by a mixture of multi-family and singlefamily residences. Numerous major commercial boulevards run linearly through the community, and it lacks a central hub. Many of the properties along the commercial boulevards show signs of neglect and appear underutilized. Florence is bounded by Slauson Avenue to the north, Central Avenue to the east, Manchester Avenue to the south, and Broadway to the west.

Table 4–2.  Neighborhood Areas

52

Lincoln Heights

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

118

210 118

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5 2 2

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Boundaries of selected neighborhoods 405

Disadvantaged community boundary

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0

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Figure 4–31.  Neighborhoods were selected based on typologies and need.

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5

Neighborhood Investigation

In In order order to to understand understand the the actual actual conditions conditions on the ground, inventories on the ground, inventories of of the the three three neighborhood neighborhood study study areas areas were were conducted. conducted. These investigations illuminated These investigations illuminated various various factors factors that define the context of the neighborhoods, that define the context of the neighborhoods, including including demographic demographic and and economic economic information, existing parks information, existing parks and and facilities, facilities, land land use patterns, transportation routes, topography, use patterns, transportation routes, topography, hydrology, hydrology, and and properties properties for for sale. sale. Additionally, Additionally, ground-truthing the neighborhoods ground-truthing the neighborhoods for for red red fields fields provided rich data on the distribution and sizes provided rich data on the distribution and sizes of of vacant vacant and and underutilized underutilized properties properties that that had had not been previously identified. not been previously identified.

55

5.1 Neighborhood Inventory CoStar 101

The Georgia Institute of Technology provided the first set of data on the location of potential red fields in Los Angeles. The source of this data was CoStar (2010), a Washington, D.C. based provider of commercial real estate information, analysis, and current availabilities. Figures 5-1 to 5-3 show the location of commercial properties for sale in each neighborhood as identified by CoStar (2010). This data was the starting point for identifying red fields in Los Angeles. However, after review by the steering committee, it was concluded that there were potentially many more red fields that CoStar had not identified.

Tem p

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Bev erly

rad o

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ic 110

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Figure 5–1.  Westlake CoStar sites

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dena

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Figure 5–2.  Lincoln Heights CoStar sites

56

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

0.5

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Figure 5–3.  Florence CoStar sites

0.5

1

Miles

One reason that some of the red fields may not have been identified by CoStar is that R2G-LA takes a broad view of what constitutes a red field. CoStar provides only an inventory of properties that were publicly for sale at the time the data was gathered in 2010. The steering committee believes that many properties that may be considered red fields are not currently for sale, but could be “land-banked” by the property owners. In addition, CoStar data focuses on commercial buildings, to the neglect of vacant or derelict parcels. R2G-LA includes vacant lots (including brownfields) and abandoned buildings in the definition of red fields. Over the course of the project it became apparent that each neighborhood had a significant number of vacant and derelict properties that were not reflected in the CoStar data. In order to make the neighborhoods more appealing for investment and increase property values, as well as to provide adequate green space for the residents, vacant and derelict properties needed to be addressed as well as the properties listed by CoStar.

Demographics The following four tables compare demographic information for each neighborhood. The three neighborhoods share several similarities. Latinos, which make up roughly 70% of each neighborhood, are by far the largest ethnic group (Los AngelesTimes 2011) (Table 5-4). The median household income, around $30,000 dollars, is also nearly the same (Los Angeles Times 2011) (Table 5-3). Additionally, the distribution of age groups is similar for each neighborhood (Los Angeles Times 2011) (Table 5-5). However, the neighborhoods do have a few distinct differences. While the physical size of each neighborhood is roughly the same, the amount of people living in each neighborhood varies, creating a different population density. Westlake is the most populous and densest neighborhood with two times the population of Florence and four times the population of Lincoln Heights (Los Angeles Times 2011) (Tables 5-1 and 5-2). The second largest ethnic group after Latino also varies for each neighborhood. In both Lincoln Heights and Westlake, Asians are the second largest ethnic group at 25.2% and 16.5%, respectively, while in Florence Blacks are the second largest group at 28.1% (Los Angeles Times 2011) (Table 5-4).

Population

Lincoln Heights

26,616

Westlake Florence

103,839 43,815

Table 5–1.  Neighborhood Populations (Los Angeles Times 2011)

Population per Square Mile

Lincoln Heights

10,602

Westlake

38,214

Florence

15,661

Table 5–2.  Neighborhood Population Densities (Los Angeles Times 2011)

Median Household Income

Lincoln Heights

$30,579

Westlake

$26,757

Florence

$29,447

Table 5–3.  Neighborhood Median Household Incomes (in 2008 dollars)(Los Angeles Times 2011).

Latino

White

Black

Asian

Other

Lincoln Heights

71%

2.5%

0.5%

25%

1%

Westlake

73%

4%

4%

17%

2%

70% 0.5%

28%

0.5%

1%

Florence

Table 5–4.  Neighborhood Ethnic Distributions (Los Angeles Times 2011)

≤10

11-18

19-34

35-49

50-64

≥65

Lincoln Heights

21% 13%

26%

20%

10%

10%

Westlake

20% 10%

34%

20%

8%

8%

Florence

26% 15%

27%

19%

7%

6%

Table 5–5.  Neighborhood Age Distributions (Los Angeles Times 2011)

Neighborhood Investigation

57

Parks Inventory of existing parks within each neighborhood was collected using the Los Angeles Parks Foundation web site (2011), Google Maps (2011), and the 2009 Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Community Needs Assessment (LA City Rec & Parks 2009). Table 5-7 lists the parks and community centers in each neighborhood and the amenities in each. It should be noted that the only existing park in Florence is a public pool which is part of a local high school. In 2009 The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks released the Citywide Community Needs Assessment (2009). The purpose of the Needs Assessment was to gather information about the current and future recreational needs of Los Angeles. The Needs Assessment compiles results of an intensive process conducted by The Department of Recreation and Parks that included 26 key leadership interviews, 24 focus groups, 23 community workshops, as well as facility analysis, demographic analysis, and a citywide survey mailed to 14,000 households.

and Griffith Park, which covers over 4,210 acres, is the largest in the city. (City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks 2011). One important part of the Needs Assessment that can elucidate recreational needs is the citywide survey that was mailed to 14,000 households. The survey was returned by 2,925 respondents for an accuracy level of +/- 1.8%. Respondents were asked if anyone in their household had a need for any recreational facilities or programming. This survey would be helpful as a supplement to community outreach for program development, which was beyond the scope of this R2G-LA project, but should be included in the implementation phase.

While the focus of the Needs Assessment was citywide, it is useful in understanding the needs of the three focus neighborhoods of the R2G-LA project. The Needs Assessment categorizes parks into one of four sizes: mini park (less than 1 acre), neighborhood park (1 to 10 acres), community park (10 to 50 acres), and regional park (50 acres or more). The Needs Assessment also establishes guidelines for the amount of acres for each park type that should be available throughout the City. For each neighborhood the total acreage of park space was tallied and compared to the Needs Assessment guidelines. The following are the results for each neighborhood (Table 5-7). Florence needs all three park types as it lacks any existing park space. Lincoln Heights does not need a community park but lacks mini parks and neighborhood parks. And while Westlake does have a number of parks of various sizes due to its high population, it is still in need of parks in each category. Table 5-6 compares the total number of parks of each type by neighborhood. Table 5-8 further identifies specific park amenities in each neighborhood. No regional parks are present in any of the three neighborhoods. However, the City of Los Angeles is not without regional parks. Elysian Park is 600 acres,

58

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Figure 5–4.  Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles

Volleyball

Tennis

Swimming Pools

Splash Pads

Skateparks

Re. Center

Playgrounds

Picnic Areas

Multi-Purpose Sports

Dog Parks

Com. Center Space

Basketball

Baseball

Community

Neighborhood

Mini

Table 5–6.  Existing and recommended park acres in study neighborhoods (City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks 2009)

Lincoln Heights Downey Park Downey Pool East LA Park LA Youth Athletic Club Lacy Street Park Lincoln Heights Rec Center Lincoln Park Westlake Beverly Park Echo Park Deep Pool Hope and Peace Park Lafayette Park Lake Street Community Cent. MacArthur Park Occidental Parkway Rockwood Comm. Park Valencia Triangle South LA Fremont HS Pool Table 5–7.  Neighborhood parks and facilities (City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks 2009)

Neighborhood Investigation

59

en

110

ue

le

t

. N. Broadway

St.

R am

par

Rd

101

Bev erly

NM iss ion

Hoover

26

Virgil

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101

Alv a

7th

ire

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ain

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NM 6th

N Soto

rad o

5

3rd

110

8th 9th

Oly

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ic 110 110

10

0

0.25

0.5

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Figure 5–5.  Westlake parks

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–6.  Lincoln Heights parks

Parks Slauson

110

Central

Broadway

The three study neighborhoods of Westlake, Lincoln Heights, and Florence were chosen in part because they are under-served by parks. Figures 5-4 to 5-6 show the distribution of parks in these neighborhoods. As shown, Florence is completely lacking parks within its neighborhood boundary. While it may appear that Westlake and Lincoln Heights have significant park space within their boundaries and in close proximity, this is offset by the high population densities of these areas. Furthermore, barriers such as highways, the Los Angeles River channel, railroad tracks, and steep terrain limit the ability of neighborhood residents to access many of these parks. 110

Manchester

Park

0

0.25

0.5

1

Figure 5–7.  Florence parks

60

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Miles

Avalon

Main

San Pedro

Florence

Av

ue

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en

110

Tem p

Pasa

dena

Ave.

101

26

. Rd Daly St.

do Alv ara

NM

ain

St.

Valley

s

6th Luc a

Wil sh

ire

St.

5

3rd

N Soto

NM iss ion

Hoover

N. Broadway

Bev erly

R am par t

Virgil

101

Blvd.

110

7th 8th 9th Oly

mp

0

0.25

0.5

ic

1

Miles

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–8.  Westlake schools

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–9.  Lincoln Heights schools

Schools Slauson

110

Central

Broadway

Figures 5-7 to 5-9 show the distribution of schools in each neighborhood. Each neighborhood has one or two high schools and several elementary schools, most of which are located on major thoroughfares. Schools are important indicators of pedestrian traffic, vehicular traffic, and the presence of youth. Westlake has the most schools, while Lincoln Heights has the least. School

Avalon

Main

San Pedro

Florence

110

Manchester

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–10.  Florence schools

Neighborhood Investigation

61

Av

Tem p

en

110

ue

le

Pasa

dena

Ave.

101

N. Broadway

ire

. ain

St.

Valley

Luc as

Westmoreland

Wil sh

110

8th 9th

Oly

mp

ic 110

10

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–11.  Westlake bike lanes

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–12.  Lincoln Heights bike lanes

Bike Lanes Slauson

Proposed Bike Lanes Proposed Bike Paths Existing Bike Lanes

62

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Central

Broadway

110

110

Manchester

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–13.  Florence bike lanes

Avalon

San Pedro

Florence

Main

The City of Los Angeles recently passed the 2010 Bicycle Plan (City of Los Angeles 2010). Building upon existing bike facilities and plans from 1996, the City Planning Department developed the plan with input from engineers, planners, city officials, and publicly attended meetings. The purpose of the plan is to “increase, improve, and enhance bicycling in the City as a safe, healthy, and enjoyable means of transportation and recreation” (City of Los Angeles 2010, p. 11). Adding 200 miles every five years up until 2045, the Plan proposes a 1,633 mile, interconnected system of bicycle network. The City’s goals for a “bike-friendly” city will be implemented using the “Six E’s” of bicycle planning: equity, engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, and evaluation. The proposed bike lanes will provide connections to destinations throughout the city including parks and recreational facilities.

Blvd.

St.

NM iss ion

Rd NM

6th 7th

Daly St.

Alv ara do

5

3rd

N Soto

t par Ram

Virgil

Hoover

26

101

Bev erly

ue en Av

Tem p

Pasa dena

Ave .

101

110

le

N. Broadway

ain

ire

7th

St.

Valley

Luc as

Wil sh

St.

NM iss ion

Rd .

NM 6th

Westmoreland

Daly St.

Alv ara do

5

3rd

N Soto

t par Ram

Virgil

Hoover

26

101

Bev erly

Blvd.

110

8th

Oly

9th

mp

ic 110

10

0

0.25

0.5

1

0

0.25

0.5

Miles

1

Miles

Figure 5–14.  Westlake commercial corridors

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–15.  Lincoln Heights commercial corridors

Commercial Corridors

Slauson

110

Central

Broadway

Each neighborhood contains several commercial corridors. These streets, typically lined with small shops and restaurants, are areas of heavy pedestrian activity and car traffic. Westlake is crisscrossed by a series of commercial streets running both east-west and northsouth (Figure 5-13). Lincoln Heights has two main commercial corridors along Broadway and Daly Street which intersect in the middle of the neighborhood (Figure 5-14). Florence has several long commercial corridors running north-south with a series of east-west corridors along Slauson, Gage, Florence, and Manchester (Figure 5-15).

Avalon

Main

San Pedro

Florence

110

Manchester

Commercial Zoning Commercial Corridors

0

0.25

0.5

1

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Miles

Figure 5–16.  Florence commercial corridors

Neighborhood Investigation

63

101

110

101

5

110

110

10

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–17.  Westlake Heights land use

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–18.  Lincoln Heights land use

Land Use There are similarities between land use patterns in each neighborhood (Figures 5-16 to 5-18). A grid of streets, several of which are major commercial corridors, divide parcels of residential homes and apartments. The majority of residential zoning is multi-family residential with only a few areas zoned single family residential. However, there are several differences between the neighborhoods. Lincoln Heights is adjacent to a large industrial section of downtown, and some areas in the west part of the neighborhood are zoned industrial. Florence also has an industrial area located in the northwest. Westlake has much more commercial zoning than the other neighborhoods and has few industrial areas. Each neighborhood has several public institutions and parks except Florence which lacks any park space. Commercial Industrial Institutional / Civic Multi-family Residential Single-family Residential Park

64

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Slauson

110

110

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–19.  Florence land use

ue en Av

Tem p

Pasa dena

Ave .

101

110

le

26

N. Broadway Rd . Daly St.

Alv ara do

NM

ain

St.

Valley

Luc as

6th Wil sh

ire

St.

5

3rd

N Soto

NM iss ion

t

Hoover

par Ram

Virgil

101

Bev erly

Blvd.

110

7th 8th 9th

Oly

mp

0

0.25

0.5

ic

1

0

Miles

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–20.  Westlake hydrology

0

0.25

0.5

1

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Miles

Figure 5–21.  Lincoln Heights hydrology

Hydrology

Slauson

110

Central

Broadway

Figures 5-19 to 5-21 show the hydrology of the neighborhoods, including point sources of water pollution, storm drains, and the direction of surface flow. Point source water pollution comes from identifiable single sources, such as industrial discharge. The Clean Water Act requires permits from major sources of discharge (California Department of Water Resources 2006). In all three neighborhoods water generally flows to the south and west, although direction varies by street. This mapping is important for understanding access to, and flow of, stormwater runoff.

Avalon

Main

San Pedro

Florence

110

Manchester

Point Source Pollution

0

0.25

0.5

1

0

Miles

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Direction of Surface Flow Storm Drain

Figure 5–22.  Florence hydrology

Neighborhood Investigation

65

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–23.  Westlake topography

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–24.  Lincoln Heights topography

Topography The topography varies in each neighborhood. Several hills are located in the northeast section of Lincoln Heights, which drain to the Los Angeles River on the neighborhood’s western edge (Figure 5-23). In this part of the neighborhood, streets are steep, and there are a number of undeveloped hill tops flanking the community. Westlake has topographic variation throughout, with a number of steep areas in the northeast that flatten out towards the southwest (Figure 5-22). Florence is flat and lacks any dramatic topographic changes except for the elevated 110 Freeway on its western border (Figure 5-24).

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–25.  Florence topography

66

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

"

Ave.

101

"

en

ue

le

Pasa

Av

Tem p

dena

" 110

N. Broadway

Alv ara do

. Rd NM

Wil sh 7th

ire

ain

St.

Valley

Luc as

Westmoreland

6th

"

Daly St.

3rd

St.

NM iss ion

5

"

N Soto

t par Ram

Virgil

Hoover

26

101

Bev erly

Blvd.

110

8th 9th

Oly

mp

ic 110

"

" 10

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–26.  Westlake bus and Metro routes

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–27.  Lincoln Heights bus and Metro routes

Bus and Metro Slauson

110

Central

Broadway

Each neighborhood is traversed by bus routes, with most bus stops located on major streets and intersections. Figures 5-25 to 5-27 show the bus routes and stops, along with Metro lines and stops in each neighborhood. Bus and metro stops are destinations for pedestrians and indicate high levels of pedestrian activity.

Bus Route

Avalon

Main

San Pedro

Florence

Lincoln Heights and Westlake both have a Metro station within their boundaries. There are no stops within Florence. Lincoln Heights is served by the Metro Gold Line with a stop at the intersection of Avenue 26 and Lacy Street which includes a small parking lot for commuters. Westlake’s Metro stop is located on Alvarado Street across from MacArthur Park in an area of high pedestrian activity with many shops and street vendors.

110

Manchester

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–28.  Florence bus and Metro routes

Bus Stop Metro Line Metro Stop

Neighborhood Investigation

67

5.2 Ground-truthing In addition to the previously identified red field projects, R2G-LA identified parcels within disadvantaged communities that were heretofore unidentified as red fields. Three neighborhoods, covering a total of 8 square miles, with characteristics commonly found within disadvantaged areas were studied as representative samples. A significant number of small red fields, usually approximately 1/4 acre in size, were discovered within these areas. Red fields such as these that are scattered throughout the city present an opportunity to create small pocket parks that would serve residents within walking or bicycling distance. They would also contribute to the creation of a network of green infrastructure that would connect parks and neighborhoods, resulting in a greener and healthier Los Angeles.

Figure 5–29.  Ground-truthing in Westlake, Los Angeles

68

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Ground-truthing consisted of site visits in which study areas are traversed by car and foot in order to identify and document red fields. During the ground-truthing stage, red field sites identified by CoStar were verified, and many more properties that were vacant or for sale were discovered and inventoried. Documentation included photography and notes which were later georeferenced and mapped. The economic data for these properties were then researched on Zimas, a Los Angeles City web site, in order to record land-use as well as assessed land values (City of Los Angeles 2011).

Av

Tem p

en

110

ue

le

Pasa

dena

Ave.

101

N. Broadway

Alv a

ire

. St.

Valley

s

ain

Luc a

Westmoreland

Wil sh

St.

NM iss ion

Rd NM

6th 7th

Daly St.

rad o

5

3rd

N Soto

t par R am

Virgil

Hoover

26

101

Bev erly

Blvd.

110

8th 9th

Oly

mp

ic 110

10

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–30.  Westlake red fields

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–31.  Lincoln Heights red fields

Red Fields Slauson

110

Of the three neighborhoods, Westlake had the greatest number of red fields, with 73 total. Westlake also had the highest total acreage of red fields, with 27.6 acres. In Florence there were 44 red field sites and a total of 16.5 red field acres. In Lincoln Heights there were 21 red fields and 23.3 red field acres.

Central

Broadway

Vacant lots, for-sale commercial properties, and dilapidated or boarded-up buildings were identified in each neighborhood through ground-truthing. These red fields were added to existing CoStar data of for-sale properties. Some sites that had previously been identified by CoStar were removed from the inventory because they had buildings that were in use or appeared to be in good, saleable condition. Figures 5-29 to 5-31 show the results of this red field inventory.

Avalon

Main

San Pedro

Florence

110

Manchester

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

Figure 5–32.  Florence red fields Red Field

Neighborhood Investigation

69

Lincoln Heights Westlake Florence

73

27.6 23.3

44

16.5

21

0.49

0.24 0.16

Number of Red Fields

Total Red Field Area (acres)

Median Red Field Size (acres)

Figure 5–33.  Neighborhood red field characteristics

Results Red fields within the neighborhood study areas were identified and mapped using three sources of information. First, Georgia Institute of Technology provided real estate data showing commercial properties for sale from CoStar, a commercial real estate information company. This was the starting point for gauging red fields on the market in Westlake, Lincoln Heights and Florence. Secondly, ground-truthing was conducted in each of the three areas. This became the main source of red field inventory, as ground-truthing and aerial imagery revealed a wealth of red fields not present in the CoStar data. The last source was aerial images, which were used to identify any other vacant red fields not selected through the first round of ground-truthing. Subsequent ground-truthing indicated that aerial imagery was an accurate source for locating red fields. The total area that was ground-truthed in Lincoln Heights, Florence and Westlake was 8 square miles. The total amount of red fields that were found in all the

70

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

neighborhoods was 138, which added up to a total of 67.4 acres. Each neighborhood has a set of red fields of varying sizes and quantities. The average red field is a half acre in size. While each neighborhood is roughly the same size, red fields are not distributed equally. The majority of red fields in Westlake and Florence are smaller than ½ acre. In Florence there was a total of 44 sites and a total of 16.5 acres. The largest red field, which was 6.1 acres, was in Florence, but this neighborhood also had the smallest median area at 0.16 acres. Westlake has 73 red fields and the highest total acres at 27.6. In Westlake the largest red field was 1.6 acres, and 0.24 acres was the median area. In Lincoln Heights there was a total of 21 red fields and 23.3 total acres. Lincoln Heights had the second largest red field which was 4.9 acres and the highest median acreage at 0.49 acres.

Figure 5–34.  Red field in Westlake, Los Angeles

Neighborhood Investigation

71

6

Red Field Investigation

Following the identification and quantification of neighborhood red fields, characteristics of the sites were inventoried in order to understand the general qualities of red fields. This inventory included relative sun exposure, size, average slope, buildings present, land-use designation, proximity to the network of planned bike lanes, and proximity to Metro stations and major commercial intersections. Red fields were referenced to geographic locations using GIS, and sites were mapped to show the distribution of each characteristic throughout the neighborhoods.

73

6.1 Red Field Inventory Information about the red field sites was gathered in order to understand the general characteristics of red fields. This inventory included relative sun exposure, size, average slope, buildings present, land-use designation, proximity to the network of planned bike lanes, and proximity to Metro stations and major commercial intersections (nodes). Ownership of the parcels was also inventoried (see Appendix B).

Figure 6–1.  Red field in Westlake, Los Angeles

74

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

le

Av

Tem p

Pasa

dena

A. ve.

101

ue en

110

Ram par t

Rd .

N. Broadway

Wil sh 7th

ire

NM

s

ain

Luc a

Valley

5

.St.

iss ion

St.

N Soto

Alv a Westmoreland

6th

Daly St. .

3rd

NM

rad o

.

Virgil

Hoover

26

101

Bev erly

Blvd.

110

8th

Oly

9th

mp

ic 110

0

0.25

0.5

1 Miles

0

0.25

0.5

10 Miles 0.25

10 0.5

1

Miles

Figure 6–3.  Lincoln Heights sunny red fields

Sun

Slauson

110

Central

Broadway 110

0

0.25

Avalon

Florence

Main

The amount of solar exposure is useful for determining the suitability of a site to certain vegetation-dependent uses, such as urban agriculture. Any structures or vegetation on site are able to be removed and therefore are not considered permanent sources of shade; however, mature trees and buildings with historic value should be preserved and materials re-used wherever possible. Buildings on adjacent lots are not able to be removed. Adjacent buildings were considered to shade a parcel if they were located on either the south boundary, or both the east and west boundaries, and had an approximate ratio of greater than 1:2 of adjacent building height to the width of the red field parcel. In the GIS model, this condition would result in a sun suitability value of 0. If the approximate ratio of building height to parcel width was less than 1:2, the parcel was considered sunny, and would receive a sun suitability value of 1. These ratios were estimated using Google aerial maps (2011) and Google Street View (2011), and the results were mapped using GIS (Figures 6–2 to 6–4). Typically, buildings at least two stories high on adjacent parcels were necessary for a red field to be considered shaded, and this was a relatively uncommon occurrence, especially in Lincoln Heights and Florence.

San Pedro

Figure 6–2.  Westlake sunny red fields

Manchester

0.5

1 Miles

Figure 6–4.  Florence sunny red fields

Red Field Investigation

75

le

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Tem p

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ve.

101

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110

t par

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ain

s Luc a

Westmoreland

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Figure 6–5.  Westlake large red fields

0

0.25

0.5

10 Miles 0.25

Figure 6–6.  Lincoln Heights large red fields

Slauson

110

Central

Broadway

The size of red field sites within each neighborhood was also inventoried. Size is a characteristic that is important for determining what kind of programming is suitable for a site. The City Needs Assessment report (2009) uses one acre as a cut-off value to differentiate between pocket park size and neighborhood park size. No red fields within the study neighborhoods were large enough to meet the ten acre requirement to be classified as a community park. Therefore, parcels were designated as “large” if their acreage was greater than or equal to one acre. This would result in a value of 1 in the GIS model. Red fields with less than one acre were considered small, and this condition would result in a value of 0 in the GIS model. Only four parcels in Westlake were designated as large, while Lincoln Heights had four large parcels, and Florence had two. See Figures 6–5 to 6–7.

110

0.25

Avalon

San Pedro

Main

Florence

0

Manchester

0.5

1 0 Miles

Figure 6–7.  Florence large red fields

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

1

Miles

Size

76

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t

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Bev erly

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3rd

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26 ue en

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na A. v

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101

Blvd.

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Figure 6–8.  Westlake red fields with slopes less than 15%

0

0.25

0.5

10 Miles 0.25

1

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Figure 6–9.  Lincoln Heights red fields with slopes less than 15%

Slope

Slauson

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Broadway

110

110

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Avalon

San Pedro

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Another important red field characteristic is the slope of the site. This criteria helps identify red fields that are more economically viable for transformation to parkland and green space. The criteria for sites having a “not steep” slope was an average slope of 15% or less across the site. This condition would result in a slope value of 1 in the GIS model (Figures 6–8 to 6–10). This designation was established on the grounds that slopes greater than 15% are often considered to be steep by municipalities, and this would affect the types of development that are determined to be feasible (Leigh Valley Planning Commission 2008, Rubenstein 1996). According to Rubenstein (1996), slopes greater than 15% are considered “precautionary” and significantly limit programming. The slope of each parcel was established using GIS data obtained from the City of Los Angeles Department of Watershed Protection Agency (2011). Although slope did vary among sites, all red fields in all three neighborhoods were found to have an average slope of less than 15%.

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Figure 6–10.  Florence red fields with slopes less than 15%

Red Field Investigation

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Figure 6–11.  Westlake commercial red fields

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Part of R2G-LA’s focus is on transforming vacant parcels within under-performing commercial corridors. Areas that are commercial have higher visibility and increased pedestrian traffic. Red fields were designated commercial if they were within, adjacent to, or across the street from commercially zoned parcels (SCAG 2005). This condition would result in a value of 1 in the GIS model. Red fields not meeting these requirements were considered not commercial (commercial value of 0). All neighborhoods had red fields that met these criteria, the mapping of which revealed the relationship of red fields to commercial corridors (Figures 6–11 to 6–13). Lincoln Heights had ten sites located on commercial corridors, while Westlake had 36, and Florence had 33.

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Figure 6–13.  Florence commercial red fields

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

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Figure 6–12.  Lincoln Heights commercial red fields

Commercial Use or Zoning

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Figure 6–14.  Westlake red fields close to bike lanes

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Figure 6–15.  Lincoln Heights red fields close to bike lanes

Proximity to Bike Lanes

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Red fields on streets with existing or planned bike lanes were noted because of their potential to connect neighborhoods across the City with alternative transportation and green infrastructure. These red fields received a value of 1 in the GIS model. This inventory expresses a characteristic of red field sites that would influence their capacity to connect to and reinforce the alternative transportation network in Los Angeles. Red fields along these routes may benefit from increased bicyclist traffic and visibility in the future. Red fields not on streets with existing or planned bike lanes may have fewer connections. Those sites were give a value of 0 in the GIS model for this category. See figures 6–14 to 6–16.

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Figure 6–16.  Florence red fields close to bike lanes

Red Field Investigation

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Figure 6–17.  Westlake red fields close to nodes

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Proximity to Nodes

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Another characteristic identified for red fields was their proximity to “Nodes”. The purpose of this inventory is to determine areas that have higher pedestrian volumes and visibility and, therefore, experience higher intensity of use. Nodes are defined as major intersections at which at least two intersecting street segments are characterized by commercial land use. Metro stations are also considered to be nodes due to their intensity of use. Sites within 1/8th of a mile of nodes were considered to be “near nodes” and would therefore receive a value of 1 in the GIS model. Sites outside that buffer were considered to be unaffected by nodes, and would receive a value of 0. This distance was chosen based on the apparent pattern of the density of commercial properties that are concentrated around these intersections in the three neighborhoods. In Westlake, six red fields were close to nodes, while in Florence there were 14, but Lincoln Heights had no red field parcels close to nodes (Figures 6–17 to 6–19).

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Figure 6–19.  Florence red fields close to nodes

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

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Figure 6–20.  Westlake vacant red fields

Figure 6–21.  Lincoln Heights vacant red fields

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Vacancy, or lack of buildings on a site, is also an important red field characteristic. Whether or not a lot has an intact building has an impact on suitability for certain programming because demolishing or retrofitting a building results in increased green field development costs. A parcel that had no fully intact building on it was considered “vacant” and would receive a value of 1 in the GIS model. If a site had a parking lot or only the foundations of a building it was also considered “vacant”. Sites with intact buildings were considered “not vacant,” and would receive a vacancy value of 0 in the GIS model. Vacancy was determined through analysis of data collected during ground-truthing, as well as using Google Street View (Google 2011). More sites in each neighborhood were vacant than not vacant. There were 57 vacant red fields in Westlake, 32 in Florence, and Lincoln Heights had 14 (Figures 6–20 to 6–22).

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Figure 6–22.  Florence vacant red fields

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7

Green Field Analysis

After inventorying red field characteristics, the sites were analyzed to determine their potential to become green fields. This synthesis process required a multi-step approach. First, green field types were developed that address the social, environmental and economic needs of the local Los Angeles communities, as well as the unique contexts of various types of red fields. Next, criteria were assigned for each green field solution based on red field characteristics in order to determine the capability and suitability of individual red fields to these solutions. In capability analysis, basic criteria were used to determine capability, and most sites were found to be capable of supporting multiple green field solutions. Suitability analysis included additional criteria. In this phase, suitability was ranked as a cumulative score, wherein sites that met multiple criteria were given a higher score and determined to be more suitable. Suitability analysis provides a baseline for understanding appropriate matches between red field sites and green field types.

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7.1 Green Field Categories The R2G-LA definition of green fields included a broad range of what parks and green spaces can be. Green field solutions were developed based upon the social and ecological needs determined by inventory and analysis at the regional and neighborhood levels. The four broad categories of green fields include urban agriculture, recreation, community, and ecology. Each of these categories fulfills multiple objectives (see Chapter 4). Within the four broad categories are subcategories that have different physical requirements and provide more detail about what green fields can include. The green field categories are not exclusive, as green fields are meant to be multifunctional, and although one green field solution may dominate a site, a site can typically contain a mixture of several green field solutions.

Figure 7–1.  Farmers’ market in Pomona, CA

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Urban Agriculture Urban agriculture refers to food production in the context of the urban environment. This green field type may include community gardening, farming, composting or production of value-added products from agriculture. Urban agriculture contributes to communities in several ways. Disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles often suffer from a lack of available fresh and healthy food choices (Shaffer 2002). Urban agriculture alleviates this problem by providing locally grown produce to supplement the diet of residents. For instance, 11,000 pounds of produce was grown in community gardens in New York City in 1999, of which 50% was donated to

local food banks and soup kitchens (Gies 2006). Urban agriculture also increases the food security of communities by creating a food system that is less dependent on imported food from external sources, thereby reducing the vulnerability of communities to regional or global changes that might impact food distribution (Bailkey 2007). Furthermore, participating in urban agriculture has therapeutic effects, increasing the mental and physical well-being of the community (Milburn and Vail 2010).

Recreation Recreation refers to parks, sports fields, trails and other green field facilities that are capable of supporting outdoor recreational activities. The recreation category was divided into active and passive subcategories. The types of uses for each are different, and they therefore have different site requirements.

Active Recreation Active recreation green fields may be programmed for organized, competitive sports and fitness and provide opportunities for exercise. Due to their relationship

to exercise, active recreation green fields may play an important role in improving public health. Most active recreation programs require a flat graded site, specific ground materials, and specific dimensions to meet standard playing field or court sizes. Because the sizes of the red fields in the three neighborhoods were relatively small, active recreational opportunities on these red fields would be limited to activities that require smaller playing areas. This may include multi-use fields, basketball courts, and fitness zones. Recreation ranks high on the list of needs for Los Angeles residents (City of LA 2009).

Passive Recreation Passive recreation green fields are, perhaps, closest to the traditional definition of an urban park. Elements may include walking paths, shade trees, view points, picnic sites, tot lots, and playgrounds. These green fields help address the need for outdoor recreational opportunities and relaxation in park-poor communities. Increasing the amount of park space available has a positive impact on public health, mental well-being, and quality of life in communities (Gies 2006). Passive recreation is generally more flexible than active recreation in terms of site

Figure 7–2.  Active recreation in MacArthur Park, Los Angeles

Green Field Analysis

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requirements. It can occur without major grading on sites with up to 15% slopes, and the sizes of different passive programming elements can vary.

Community Community green field solutions are those that are focused on building community capital through social, cultural, educational, artistic, or economic exchanges. Community was divided into indoor and outdoor subcategories, in order to encompass a broader range of function.

Community (Indoor) Indoor community green fields may take the form of community centers where classes or community organizing events occur. These green fields may not be “green� in the literal sense, but they are included because they are public spaces that play an important role in building community identity and improving the social and economic sustainability of the City. Some community centers target a specific population such as senior citizens or youth. For example, Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) is a youth center in Westlake that offers after school programming including academics, arts, and athletics (Heart of LA 2008). Other community centers may be open to all community members. Because indoor community green fields require a building, red fields with existing buildings that could be renovated and/or retrofitted for indoor community uses may be suitable. For this study, it was not possible to access vacant buildings and assess their potential for re-use, but that step may be appropriate during the implementation phase of this project.

Community (Outdoor) Outdoor community green fields may take the form of plazas or flex spaces which can host a variety of community events, or they may be devoted to specific uses such as farmers’ markets or performances. Outdoor community green fields contribute to the cultural and economic strength of communities, improving the quality of life as well as overall social and economic stability. They support other green field functions such as urban agriculture and may improve rates of employment in many sectors by creating a forum for exchange (Parks for Public Spaces 2011).

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Ecology Ecology green fields focus on providing ecological function and opportunities for human connection to nature. The ecological category was divided into three subcategories: engineered wetlands, other stormwater management options, and native vegetation. Engineered wetlands are potentially the most expensive to construct and maintain because they require extensive design and engineering, grading, possible water pumping, extensive vegetation, and a large site. Other stormwater management options such as bioswales and detention basins fall into a different subcategory because they handle smaller amounts of surface run-off on a temporary basis and do not require as much engineering. The last subcategory is native vegetation, which can be used in conjunction with other green field types or on sites that are too steep or otherwise unsuitable for recreation or other uses. Native vegetation in southern California is generally adapted to steep slopes and dry conditions (Holland and Keil 1995), and can be restored in most underutilized spaces.

Engineered Wetlands Engineered wetlands are directly and intensively focused on ecological functions related to stormwater treatment. This category of ecology green fields is designed to biologically treat large amounts of water. Sources of water may include accessing existing surface drainages, day lighting underground streams or storm drain pipes, or redirecting water from drain lines or sewage treatment plants. These systems can help the City stay below Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution requirements for rivers and streams, and thus provide valuable environmental services for the City. They may also be effective mechanisms for increasing infiltration to, and recharge of, groundwater basins. Engineered wetlands can also provide opportunities for education and connection to nature, as well as valuable wildlife habitat. An example of an existing engineered wetland in an urban environment is South Los Angeles Wetlands Park. The site of this park was previously a 9-acre MTA bus yard, and now features a wetland of approximately 4-4.5 acres, which treats an estimated average daily base flow of 14,000 gallons (PSOMAS 2008).

Other Stormwater Management Options Other stormwater management options are available for treating smaller quantities of water, which often come

Figure 7–3.  Engineered wetland for stormwater treatment, Clichy Batignolles, Paris France

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in the form of stormwater runoff on a temporary basis. These best management practices (BMP’s) are often less expensive than engineered wetlands, and the diversity of options and sizing allows them to be included in most site designs. Solutions may include such BMPs as bioswales, retention basins, infiltration basins, or permeable paving. Green fields that are focused on treating stormwater can play a valuable role in educating the next generation of Los Angeles residents about water issues and sustainable land management. They also provide ecological benefits such as cleaner waterways and reduced erosion during rain events (City of Los Angeles Department of Sanitation 2009). Signage, media, or educational programming are valuable ways of ensuring that these green fields contribute to the environmental education of residents. Furthermore, some BMPs can be multifunctional. For example, Marsh Park in Los Angeles has a detention basin that during the majority of the year, when the weather is dry, functions as a multi-use play field (Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy 2007a). This feature was created by removing a section of concrete drain pipe from under the park and replacing it with a basin that collects and vegetatively treats street runoff before it enters the Los Angeles River (SMMC 2007a). In this way, trash and some other pollutants are prevented from polluting the river.

Native Vegetation Native vegetation sites achieve ecological objectives related to reducing water use, improving air quality, improving habitat for native species, and creating opportunities for visitors to connect to regional ecology and a sense of place. In addition, they provide opportunities for environmental education that are typically lacking in the urban environment, especially in disadvantaged communities (Migliarese 2008). These green fields are focused on the restoration of plant species that are native to Southern California, and they can also include such elements as walking paths, signage, and recreational opportunities. Native vegetation may be incorporated into neighborhood parks, or these sites may take the form of a botanic garden or nature preserve. By reintroducing native vegetation into the urban environment, green fields can reduce the impact of urban land uses on habitat loss. Coastal sage scrub, the community of vegetation that predominated on the coastal plains of Southern California prior to development, is now threatened due to habitat loss.

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Channelized or buried rivers and streams that run through Los Angeles, such as the Los Angeles River, were once home to diverse communities of riparian species. Other communities such as oak woodlands, California grasslands, wetlands, dunes, and saltwater marshes have also been severely impacted by development in Southern California. Native vegetation in green fields can restore some of these species’ habitat and help prevent the loss of biodiversity. Furthermore, many animal species are associated with these native plant communities. Birds, butterflies, insects, and other small animals that are adapted to using native plant species for food and shelter may be able to thrive in these environments. This is important not only for the intrinsic value of preserving the biodiversity of life, and the potential for medical and other uses of various species, but also for the opportunity for residents to connect to nature and establishing a sense of place that is often lacking in the man-made environment. Native plant species are adapted to the climatic conditions of Southern California. By using appropriate species in various green field types, the need for supplemental irrigation and the demand for water from local and non-local sources can be reduced. Native vegetation is compatible with many green fields uses. An example of a park combining native vegetation, education, and recreation is Vista Hermosa Park in Los Angeles (Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy 2007b). Vista Hermosa Park features extensive plantings of native coastal sage scrub, riparian woodland, grassland, and oak woodland vegetation, along with walking trails, a playground, soccer fields, and an amphitheater (SMMC 2007b). Additionally, Vista Hermosa Park acts as a hub for “Transit to Trails,” a program in which naturalists from MRCA lead interpretive trips to the Santa Monica Mountains, giving community members an opportunity to experience the natural world outside the city (SMMC 2007b).

Multifunctionality In most cases, multiple green field categories can be applied to a single site. In an effort to increase sustainability and overall performance, it is recommended that green field designs embrace the trend of multifunctional landscapes by incorporating functions from multiple categories of use wherever possible (Brandt 2003). In certain cases these solutions can complement and enhance the function of each other, such as a farmers’ market that sells produce grown in a community garden.

Figure 7–4.  Native vegetation at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont CA

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Because water is such an intermittent and precious resource in Los Angeles, sensible stormwater management elements should be incorporated into all site designs, and may be required depending on current and future legislation. By having multiple uses, green fields can meet and help balance social, environmental and economic needs to create a more sustainable community. However, despite the potential for multifunctionality, sites may be

Figure 7–5.  Multifunctional detention basin in Marsh Park, Los Angeles

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

most suitable for programming from a single green field category. Single-use sites are acceptable within the context of R2G-LA because, while a single green field cannot meet all the needs of a neighborhood, the combination of multiple green fields with multiple programs will provide a diversity of opportunities and solutions that will act as a more complete network of green space.

Figure 7��€“6.  Multifunctional space; stormwater treatment, passive recreation and community space in Tanner Springs Park, Portland OR

Green Field Analysis

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7.2 Capability Analysis Capability mapping provided the first level of analysis, determining which red fields are capable of each green field type development. Due to the criteria involved and the generally amenable conditions in Los Angeles, this study was not highly selective. Capability mapping demonstrated that most sites were capable of development into multiple green field types.

of ecological systems to function under almost any condition. As ecological solutions have no restrictions, they may be good solutions for any sites that are not capable for other green field types. Of course, the quality of ecological function will vary due to a number of factors, and specific opportunities and constraints should be examined more closely at the site scale.

Criteria

Mapping

Certain site characteristics may prohibit a red field from being capable of a particular green field solution. Therefore, identifying characteristics to serve as criteria for matching red field sites to green field types was the first step of capability mapping. Characteristics that were used for criteria in this study included slope, sun, and commercial zoning. Different combinations of criteria were selected for each green field type (Table 7–1).

Using the previously listed requirements, a GIS model was created to identify red fields that met the criteria for each category. Then, maps were created to show only the red fields capable for each green field type (Figures 7–7 to 7–18) These maps can be used as a basis for understanding what types of green field solutions are possible at a given site, or vice versa, which sites are capable for a given green field type. Following this, the capability maps for each category were combined into one map for each neighborhood (Figures 7–19 to 7–21). Because some sites were found to be capable for multiple green field types, “bar-chart” maps were used to display all the solutions that each site is capable of within each neighborhood. This allows side by side comparison of the distribution of red fields that are capable for each green field type.

Sites were determined to be capable for urban agriculture if they were sunny and had slopes of less than 15%. Lack of sun is a limitation for food production for most food crops. Steep slopes can also be a limitation for agriculture, as erosion and access may become issues, and terracing can be cost prohibitive. For recreation green fields, having a gentle slope was the only criterion. Capability for community green fields was primarily determined by location. Location is crucial for community programs because they are intended to function as social and economic hubs. Therefore, for sites to be capable for community green fields, they had to be located on a commercial corridor. Additionally, they had to have a gentle slope so that grading would not be costprohibitive. For ecological green fields, there were no prohibitive criteria, so all sites were capable. This is due to the ability

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Sunny

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Recreation Urban Agriculture Ecology Community Table 7–1.  Capability requirements, acceptable (grey) and required (green)

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Figure 7–8.  Lincoln Heights red fields capable for agriculture

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Red field sites that were capable for urban agriculture were mapped in each neighborhood. These sites had less than 15% slope and were sunny. Lack of sun is a limitation for food production for most food crops. Steep slopes can also be a limitation for agriculture, as erosion and access may become issues, and terracing can be cost prohibitive. See figures 7–7 to 7–9.

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Urban agriculture can provide a social networking outlet for the neighborhood. It also provides fresh produce to the community. Providing healthy food options is one of the objectives for R2G-LA.

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Figure 7–9.  Florence red fields capable for agriculture

Green Field Analysis

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Figure 7–10.  Westlake red fields capable for recreation

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Figure 7–11.  Lincoln Heights red fields capable for recreation

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Red field sites capable for recreation were mapped in each neighborhood. To be capable for recreation, these sites had to have less than 15% slope. See figures 7–10 to 7–12.

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Recreation is an important factor in social health, especially physical and mental health. Supplying these neighborhoods with recreation opportunities will have numerous positive effects, such as decreased stress levels and lower obesity rates.

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Figure 7–12.  Florence red fields capable for recreation

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

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Figure 7–13.  Westlake red fields capable for ecology

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Figure 7–14.  Lincoln Heights red fields capable for ecology

Ecology

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Red fields capable for ecology green fields were mapped. For ecological green fields, there were no prohibitive criteria, so all sites were capable. This is due to the ability of ecological systems to function under almost any condition. As ecological solutions have no restrictions, they may be good solutions for any sites that are not capable for other green field types. See figures 7–13 to 7–15.

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Ecological green fields contribute to the environmental health of the City. Ecological design can be added to projects of any size. Bioswales, wetlands and vegetation are examples of ecological solutions that can be included in development.

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Figure 7–15.  Florence red fields capable for ecology

Green Field Analysis

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Figure 7–16.  Westlake red fields capable for community

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Figure 7–17.  Lincoln Heights red fields capable for community

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For red fields to be capable for community green fields, they had to be located on a commercial corridor. Location is crucial for community programs because they are intended to function as social and economic hubs. Additionally, they had to have a gentle slope so that grading would not be cost-prohibitive. See figures 7–16 to 7–18.

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Community green fields contribute to social health by providing areas for the neighborhood to gather. These green fields strengthen communities by providing places for social and economic exchange such as farmers’ markets and public squares and plazas.

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Figure 7–18.  Florence red fields capable for community

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

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Figure 7–20.  Capability red fields in Lincoln Heights

Capability Analysis

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Because some sites were found to be capable for multiple green field types, “bar-chart” maps are used to display all green field solutions that each site is capable of within each neighborhood. This allows side by side comparison of the distribution of possible green field types. Because site conditions and green field types are adaptable and diverse, most sites were found to be capable for at least one green field type in the capability analysis. See figures 7–19 to 7–21. Capable green field types

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Agriculture Community Recreation Ecology

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Figure 7–21.  Capability of red fields in Florence

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7.3 Suitability Analysis Because most red fields were capable for several green field types, suitability mapping was conducted to refine the previous analysis. Suitability mapping built upon capability mapping by using the results of capability mapping as a base and adding additional criteria. It also offered a more detailed picture of the suitability of red field sites by using an additive process that revealed different levels of suitability. The results of this are suitability maps that are more selective than those that were obtained with capability mapping alone.

Criteria Additional red field characteristics were identified to serve as suitability criteria for each green field type (Table 7–2). The red field characteristics included in the list of criteria are size, vacancy, proximity to bike lanes, and proximity to nodes. While the set of criteria differed depending upon the type of green field solution, one criterion that was common to all green field types was proximity to bike lanes. Red fields close to bike lanes were considered to be well connected, more visible, and easier to access, which would allow more people to be served by green fields located there. Community green fields are meant to create and enhance social infrastructure. Because their functionality hinges on social systems, location and social relevance are highly important. Being located on a commercial corridor was a criterion for community green fields during capability mapping, because it is an indicator of location for social function. In addition, proximity to nodes and proximity to bike lanes are both measures of location. More specifically, they indicate locations that are likely to benefit from high volumes of people. Therefore, red fields that were close to bike lanes and nodes were determined to be more suitable for community green fields. For the other green field types ­— ­­ ecology, urban agriculture, and recreation — suitability depended on size, vacancy and proximity to bike lanes. Bike lanes are also significant for these green field types because all green field types would benefit from increased accessibility and

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Size

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Table 7–2.  Additive criteria for suitability

they contribute to the creation of a green network that would connect neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles with green infrastructure and alternative transportation. Vacancy is an important criterion for suitability because building demolition has associated costs, and most green field types do not require a building. There are two reasons why size is also an important criterion for suitability. One is that larger green fields can have a greater positive impact and serve more people than small green fields. The other is that size may limit the programming that is possible on a site, especially for certain green field types such as engineered wetlands, urban agriculture, and active recreation.

Mapping Following the identification of suitability criteria, a GIS model was developed to map suitability. In this model, only sites that were previously found to be capable were included in suitability mapping. Furthermore, suitability criteria were determined to be cumulative, so that sites that met multiple criteria would have a higher level of suitability than sites that only met one criterion. This was accomplished by assigning red field sites binary values for each suitability criterion. Sites that met a given criterion would be assigned a value of “1” for that criterion, while sites that did not would be assigned a value of “0.” The level of suitability of a red field for a

Figure 7–22.  Red field in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles

given green field type would then be calculated by adding all of the values for the criteria associated with that green field type. Thus, sites that had higher cumulative values for criteria associated with a given green field type were determined to be more suitable for that green field type. Note that within this model, all criteria are equally weighted. Therefore, it may be possible to further refine this model by weighting criteria according to their level of importance for each green field type. Just as with capability, suitability maps were made to show suitable red fields for each major green field type (Figures 7–23 to 7–34). Unlike the capability maps, however, these maps categorize the red fields according to their level of suitability. The size of circles on these maps is representative of the number of suitability criteria met by a given red field. Red field sites that had higher levels of suitability were assigned larger circles, while those with lower levels of suitability were assigned smaller circles. Following this mapping, red fields with the highest two levels of suitability for each green field type were isolated and combined into one bar-chart map for each neighborhood (Figures 7–35 to 7–37). Just as with the

capability bar-chart maps, these maps allow simultaneous comparison of the distribution of red fields that are highly suited to each green field type. Comparison of capability maps with suitability maps revealed that the number of suitable red field sites had been reduced through this process of refinement. When sites were later selected for example designs, they were selected from among these most suitable red fields. These suitability maps are useful for understanding the types of green fields that are most appropriate for a given red field, as well as the distribution of red fields that are appropriate for a given green field type. While these maps may provide a starting point for decision makers to determine which red fields should take priority for acquisition and conversion to green fields, a rigorous prioritization process involving needs assessments and community input should be followed. See Chapter 9 for further discussion of implementation and prioritization.

Green Field Analysis

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Figure 7–23.  Westlake suitability for agriculture

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Figure 7–24.  Lincoln Heights suitability for agriculture

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Suitability for agriculture depended on size, vacancy and proximity to bike lanes. Vacancy is an important criterion for suitability because most agricultural functions do not require a building. There are two reasons why size is also an important criterion for suitability. One is that larger green fields can serve more people than small green fields. The other is that size may limit the programming that is possible on a site, especially for urban agriculture. See figures 7–23 to 7–25.

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Figure 7–25.  Florence suitability for agriculture

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Figure 7–26.  Westlake suitability for recreation

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Figure 7–27.  Lincoln Heights suitability for recreation

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Size, vacancy and proximity to bike lanes were also important characteristics for suitability for recreation. Vacancy is important because building demolition has associated costs, and most recreational programming requires open space, not a building. Size is also an important criterion for suitability because larger recreation sites can serve more people and provide a wider variety of recreational programming than small sites. See figures 7–26 to 7–28.

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Figure 7–28.  Florence suitability for recreation

Green Field Analysis

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Figure 7–29.  Westlake suitability for community

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Figure 7–30.  Lincoln Heights suitability for community

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Community green fields are meant to create and enhance social infrastructure. Because their functionality hinges on social systems, location and social relevance are highly important. Proximity to nodes and proximity to bike lanes are both measures of location. More specifically, they indicate locations that are likely to benefit from high traffic volumes, with an emphasis on alternative forms of transportation. Therefore, red fields that were close to bike lanes and nodes were determined to be more suitable for community green fields. See figures 7–29 to 7–31.

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Figure 7–31.  Florence suitability for community

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Figure 7–32.  Westlake suitability for ecology

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Figure 7–33.  Lincoln Heights suitability for ecology

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Furthermore, suitability for ecology also depended on size, vacancy and proximity to bike lanes. As for agriculture and recreation, vacancy is an important criterion for suitability because building demolition has associated costs, and most ecological functions do not require a building. Size is also important because larger ecology green fields can have a greater positive impact, have a greater diversity of systems, and serve more people than small green fields. See figures 7–32 to 7–34.

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Figure 7–34.  Florence suitability for ecology

Green Field Analysis

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Figure 7–36.  Lincoln Heights suitability analysis

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Red fields with the highest suitability for each green field type were isolated and combined into one bar-chart map for each neighborhood (Figures 7–35 to 7–37). Just as with the capability bar-chart maps, these maps allow simultaneous comparison of the distribution of red fields that are highly suited to each green field type. Comparison of capability maps with suitability maps revealed that the number of suitable red field sites had been reduced through this process of refinement. When sites were later selected for example designs, they were selected from among these most suitable red fields.

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Figure 7–37.  Florence suitability analysis

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Figure 7–38.  Red field in Westlake, Los Angeles

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8

Site Design

In order to understand how the conversion of red fields to green fields might work on the ground, the scale of investigation was further refined, from neighborhood scale to site scale. Site designs serve as examples of the diversity of applications of R2G-LA on red field sites throughout the city. The design process involved first the selection of individual sites, then inventory, analysis, program development, synthesis and conceptual design. Finally, design renderings illustrate the developed concepts and designs. The designs are appropriate applications of green field solutions to the specific site conditions, as well as to the neighborhood context and regional objectives, based on inventories of publicly available information and ground-truthing. However, the designs shown in this report are meant as sample park projects; they are included to give ideas for what is possible, not examples of what is intended. When the relevant agencies have sought and received funding, a public involvement program will select parcels and develop park designs for implementation. Furthermore, due to the fact that these designs are meant for illustrative purposes, specific opportunities and constraints related to acquisition and property ownership were not included. The properties chosen for design examples may not be available, and the designs specified would be modified in response to community input.

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8.1 Site Selection Four red field sites were selected for sample designs. N. Broadway These four sites were chosen to represent a broad range of conditions and possible uses. The site selection process for this study was based on a suitability analysis focused 5 on demonstrating the three objectives of providing social health, environmental health, and economic health for these communities. The sites were chosen based on NM aat suitability mapping such that in Sleast one site was highly t. suitable for each of the green field types. Furthermore, sites were selected to represent a diversity of red field characteristics such as size, slope, and nodes Two sites were chosen from Lincoln Heights, one from Westlake, and one from Florence.

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Figure 8–3.  Site location in Florence, Los Angeles

Four Selected Red Fields:

Figure 8–4.  Red field chosen for design in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles

Figure 8–5.  Second red field chosen for design in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles

Figure 8–6.  Red field chosen for design in Westlake, Los Angeles

Figure 8–7.  Red field chosen for design in Florence, Los Angeles

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8.2 Site Design Process The site design process followed several stages for each site (Figure 8–8). First, site inventories were conducted to map published data and field collected data. In addition to prior inventories of slope, sunniness, size, vacancy, zoning, and proximity to bike lanes and nodes, new information was collected for the four selected sites. Detailed aerial photographs of the sites display surrounding buildings, streets, vegetation, and other components of the landscape. These aerials were used as base maps to layer other inventories onto, including street names, building uses, sun angles, two-foot topographic contours, view points, drainage patterns on site and on surrounding streets, and circulation patterns. Other types of inventory included proximity to schools, parks, and other green facilities. Site visits allowed a more comprehensive analysis of site characteristics such as existing surface materials, building sizes, vegetation, circulation patterns and desire lines, views, and access. Secondly, analysis maps condensed and simplified the inventoried information in order to be more useful for programming and design (see Chapter 8.3). Site characteristics that were most relevant and influential to design were displayed graphically as symbols or simplified representations. These analysis maps gave a picture of the major factors, originating both on and off the site itself, that affect site design. For example, slope is a critical factor that can constrain or allow active recreation, sun aspect may affect growing opportunities, and surrounding schools can indicate high pedestrian activity. Next, information about the sites and their context from this analysis determined programming. Programming development was based on information about the site

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and the community context. The Needs Assessment (City of Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation & Parks 2009), neighborhood inventories (see Chapter 5.1), R2G-LA health objectives (see Chapter 4.3), and each site’s unique opportunities and constraints led to choosing site uses. The next step was conceptual design. Preliminary design work began with “bubble diagrams”, which were used to work out the negative and positive relationships between programmatic elements on each site. After several bubble diagram sketches, one final bubble diagram was chosen for each site. The bubble diagrams inspired conceptual design sketches. Again, several conceptual designs were sketched for each site before final design layouts were decided upon. Finally, site designs were completed with scaled drawings, SketchUp models and renderings. Scaled drawings accurately place the elements of each design on the sites. They also illustrate grading plans for sites that required complicated earth moving. Using the scale drawings, computer models of each site design in Google Sketchup visualized the site designs in three dimensions, allowing further design refinement. Once the models were complete, they became foundations for more detailed renderings of each site design (see Chapter 8.3). Renderings include schematic axonometric plans, section-elevations for sites with substantial grade changes, and perspectives. The purpose of these renderings is to demonstrate the potential for different green field solutions on the sites, to convey a sense of the look and experience of the site designs, and to highlight the benefits of red field to green field transformations.

1. Site Inventory • • • • • • •

slope sunniness size vacancy zoning proximity to bike lanes proximity to nodes

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surrounding buildings streets vegetation building uses sun angles two-foot contours view points

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s view e nag drai s tour con ion ulat circ field red

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Figure 8–8.  Design process

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8.3 Site Designs This section features the finished illustrative site designs along with other supporting graphics. The section is organized by site, so that the design for each site can be understood in the context of its opportunities and constraints. Each site discussion includes an overview of the site, opportunities and constraints, programming development, concept development, improvements that were made, green field types used, and the benefits of the design.

Figure 8–9.  Vision of site transformation

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Thomas and Gates Streets both dead end at the top of the hill above the site. Broadway, because it is a large arterial street, it generates the most traffic around the site. Broadway and Thomas were observed to experience pedestrian and bike traffic from high school students. Additionally, a bus stop is located adjacent to the site on Broadway, near the intersection with Thomas Street. This bus stop is well-used, especially by high school students. The most distinguishing feature of the site is the sloped 0 topography, due to its location on the side of a hill that rises north from Broadway. The site generally slopes up from its southwest corner on Broadway to its northeast

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This site in Lincoln Heights is 1.1 acres. It is bordered on the south side by Broadway Street, which is a wide, N. Broadway busy commercial arterial. To the east and west the site is bordered by secondary streets, Thomas Street to the east and Gates Street to the west, both of5 which run uphill from Broadway along the border of the site. To the north, the site is bounded by the property line of a preschool, kindergarten, and a few residences, with buildings NM ain St. situated close to the property line.

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Figure 8–10.  Lincoln Heights Local site in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles

Figure 8–11.  Lincoln Heights Local site

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Pre-K to Kindergarten High School

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Figure 8–12.  Lincoln Heights Local site surrounding land uses

corner. However, the western half of the site is relatively flat, being covered by a parking lot, while the eastern half has a fairly consistent grade and is covered with bare soil and ephemeral vegetation. Some existing retaining walls in poor condition and building foundations remain on the eastern half of the site, which make for some rough terracing. The parking lot is bordered by retaining walls to the north and east, to account for the difference in grade between the two parts of the site. Notably, three schools are in close proximity to the site: a high school, an elementary school, and a preschool/ kindergarten immediately adjacent to the site on the north side. Due to the steep grade, fencing, and orientation of the school buildings, there is no direct access between the site and the pre-school. The high school is located directly across Thomas Street to the east, and seems to have the most direct access to the property. The elementary school is directly across Broadway Street to the south. Because Broadway is 68 feet wide, this school is the most distant of the three.

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0’

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Opportunities and Constraints Analysis This site has numerous design opportunities and a couple of design constraints. The site’s location on a busy commercial corridor and nearby schools provides the site with high visibility, easy accessibility and a stream of pedestrians, particularly at the beginning and end of the school day, which provides an opportunity to involve the community and youth. The bus stop adjacent to the site represents an opportunity for connecting to the larger community through alternative transportation systems. Streets on three sides means that there are multiple potential entry points, as well as ample street parking available. Conversely, the streets, and the numerous schools, may be a constraint for certain types of use because they create a high noise level throughout the day. The steep slope on part of the site is both a design opportunity and constraint. On one hand, the top of the slope provides excellent views of the city, while on the other hand, the steepness may be unsuitable for certain types of programming. The general change in elevation across the site means that the site can either be

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Figure 8–13.  Lincoln Heights Local site analysis

sloped, or retaining walls can create flat areas or terraces. Additionally, the elevation differences across the site are an opportunity to harvest, utilize, and/or treat water -which may be rainfall of runoff from agricultural use -- as it flows across the site on its way to Broadway Street. The site receives a good deal of sunlight on sunny days because it faces south and lacks tall buildings or large trees to shade it, which is an opportunity for urban agriculture. The relative flatness of the other part of the site, which is currently paved as a parking lot, is an opportunity for other types of use that require more access. This part of the site not only has a gentle slope, but also has existing curb cuts on Gates Street that allow vehicular access. This part of the site and the other corner on Broadway and Thomas benefit from high visibility due to their corner locations, which is an opportunity for more public types of programming.

Program Development This site was found to be highly suitable for all types of green fields. However, the steep grade over a large portion of the site makes that part of the site less suitable for community and recreation green field types. Because the slope is south-facing, it was found to be highly suitable for urban agriculture. With no existing farmers’ market and few grocery options, the neighborhood appears to be in need of healthy food options. Ecological programming

Views

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such as native vegetation would also be suitable for this portion of the site, but it would not necessarily respond to the high pedestrian traffic and opportunity for community involvement. The western portion of the site was found to be most highly suitable for community green field types due to the high accessibility of the site overall, the existing flat condition of that portion of the site, as well as the high visibility and traffic at the intersection along a commercial arterial. The site’s suitability for a combination of green field types presented the opportunity to identify programming that would demonstrate positive relationships between urban agriculture and community green fields. A community garden and a farmers’ market plaza, representing urban agriculture and community green field types respectively, were chosen as programming to demonstrate that relationship and to respond to the opportunities and constraints of the site. The community garden takes advantage of the site’s good solar exposure. It also provides an opportunity to engage the community, which is appropriate for a site that is so highly visible. By providing space for local residents to garden in individual or group plots, the garden would instill a sense of ownership among community members. The community garden is also an opportunity

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Figure 8–14.  The Lincoln Heights Local existing site has a view of downtown Los Angeles.

for community-based education as gardeners exchange information, especially if schools or classes participate side by side with other community members. Gardens and outdoor education are known to enhance student learning (Blair 2009). Furthermore, analysis of the community context revealed a lack of community gardens and healthy food options in the immediate surroundings and neighborhood in general. The farmers’ market plaza takes further advantage of the site’s community potential. It utilizes the site’s accessibility and visibility to create a destination that engages the community. The farmers’ market fulfills a need in the community since the next closest farmers’ markets are 2.4 and 3 miles away, in China Town and El Sereno, respectively. Furthermore, the farmers’ market enhances the social and economic aspects of the community garden by providing a forum for gardeners to sell their produce. A farmers’ market would also provide another mechanism for the distribution of healthy food to the community. Other programmatic elements were developed to augment these functions. An orchard can take advantage of terraces or slopes unsuitable for community gardening and keep with the agricultural theme. Furthermore an orchard, which generally requires less intensive use and protection than a community garden, creates an opportunity to allow more public interaction with agricultural production. Walking paths may be integrated with an orchard terrace, drawing people into the site by presenting an unusual opportunity to interact with fruit trees in an

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urban environment. Allowing people to harvest from public fruit trees would enhance the sense of community ownership of the site. A fruit and juice stand was envisioned to sell drinks made in part with fruit grown on site. This would create an anchor for the site, which would take advantage of the high level of pedestrian access even when the farmers’ market is not active. It would also contribute to the service of providing healthy food options, here in a ready-to-eat form that would be especially beneficial for students. A multi-purpose community building was determined to be appropriate for the site, which would provide tool storage for the community garden while also providing classroom or meeting space. This would further integrate the community and agricultural functions of the site by providing opportunities for agricultural education. Built-in seating would enhance the functionality of the plaza. It would provide people with the option of dining on-site after purchasing healthy food at the farmers’ market. Last but not least, a bioswale would take advantage of the site’s slope and handle any runoff from the site. Urban agriculture has the potential to produce nutrientrich runoff. Therefore, any runoff should be treated or absorbed prior to leaving the site.

Figure 8–15.  The Lincoln Heights Local existing site has a parking lot on the west side.

Design The design for Lincoln Heights Local is comprised of three major areas: the community garden, the farmers’ market, and the terraced orchard. The community garden, which is the largest component, covers the southeast portion of the site. The farmers’ market plaza is focused on the southwest corner, which is the low point of the property. Above these areas, the orchard terraces run along the northern edge of the site. Two facilities also mark the site: a two-story multifunctional storage/ classroom at the center, and a juice stand on the corner.

1. Community Garden The community garden is the largest and most dominant feature of this design, covering most of the southeast portion of the property. The garden is bounded on the north side by a retaining wall on top of which is an orchard terrace. The south edge of the garden is retained by a low wall, on top of which is a fence, and it is buffered from the Broadway sidewalk by a vegetated swale. The west side is adjacent to the farmers’ market plaza and is separated by a fence and a decorative planted area. The east side is bounded by a fence along Thomas Street. All fences around the garden are made of decorative wroughtiron, incorporating artistic references to agriculture and Lincoln Heights history into the design. The aesthetic will be welcoming and instill a sense of community pride. The fence height will be 6’-8’, to ensure public safety as well as garden security.

The community garden, run by an association of local volunteers, will provide garden plots to school classrooms as well as other members of the community. Hands on education will be a major focus of the community garden, as school kids are provided opportunities to get their hands dirty and learn about natural systems and where healthy food comes from. Community gardens also serve as a forum for educational exchanges for community members, as gardeners from different backgrounds learn about each other’s gardening techniques and cultures. Additionally, the community garden will be a source of healthy local food that may go home with students and community members, or be sold at the farmers’ market. Revenues from produce sales at the farmers’ market may benefit school garden and outdoor education programs, thereby stimulating the level of involvement and ownership by surrounding schools. The community garden takes advantage of the slope of the property as much as possible. The garden area has a gentle slope across it from northeast to southwest, providing ample sunlight for all plots and reducing the amount of necessary grading. Rows of plots and walking paths are oriented parallel to Broadway, so that garden plots absorb any runoff that may flow across the site. Any runoff that flows off the garden plots will be caught in the gravel walking paths, which are designed to act as french drains. Water that enters these french drains will either be absorbed into the soil, or, during intense storms, be directed to the bioswale.

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Access to the community garden is located on the east and west sides. The main entrance is a gate on the west side of the garden, adjacent to the farmers’ market plaza. A secondary entrance is located on the east side, entering from the Thomas Street Sidewalk. Each plot in the community garden is 10’ by 20’, or 200 square feet. There are a total of 84 plots.

separated from each other and from the community garden by retaining walls topped with fences. The lower orchard connects to the farmers’ market plaza via the steps, which also feature citrus trees in built-in planters. The lower orchard also connects to the top floor of the community building, which is a classroom that is available for outdoor education programs.

2. Farmers’ Market Plaza

The two orchard terraces have slightly different programming, in that the upper orchard is intended to be exclusively for the juice stand, while the lower terrace is part of the public domain. Therefore, access to the upper terrace is limited by lockable gates on either end, while the lower terrace is open ended. The terraces are around 20’ wide, with plenty of space to walk among the trees. Walking through the lower terrace provides a short-cut from the high school to the farmers’ market plaza. Both terraces also feature stunning views of downtown. Viewing this vista of skyscrapers from among the fruit trees creates a unique perspective of the rapid growth and history of Los Angeles, which is especially appropriate for Lincoln Heights, known as the City’s oldest neighborhood.

The farmers’ market plaza, which covers the southwest corner of the site, is a large flat square that is intended to host weekly (or more frequent) farmers’ markets. This area has a gentle 1%-2% slope across it from north to south. On the south and west sides, the plaza seamlessly transitions to sidewalks. The east side borders on the community garden. On the north side, a series of steps leads up to the fruit orchard. The function of the farmers’ market plaza is enabled by its simple flat surface (formerly a parking area) and ease of access from the street. Farmers’ markets will be set up on the space using temporary canopies and portable tables. The flexibility of design for this space also enables other temporary uses such as arts and craft fairs, promotional events or flea markets. Vehicular access to the farmers’ market plaza from Gates Street will allow farmers’ to bring their pickup trucks on-site to set up canopies and sell their wares. This vehicular access also serves the community garden by providing a means of delivering tools and materials to the site. When there is no event, vehicular access to the plaza will be closed. The center of the farmers’ market plaza features a large specimen coast live oak tree (Quercus agrifolia), a beautiful and sprawling evergreen shade tree that will provide a focal point and shade when it matures. The surface material of the plaza is permeable paving blocks, which define the plaza as separate from the sidewalks, while also adding color and detail to the space. Permeable paving allows infiltration of rainwater, reduces stormwater runoff, and provides water and air to the oak tree’s root system.

3. Orchard Terraces The northern portion of the site features two terraced orchards, planted with a variety of citrus trees. This plant selection is based on evidence found on-site that citrus was recently grown there, and because the region has been known for citrus production in the past. The orchards run between Thomas and Gates streets, and an accessible path connects the orchard to both sidewalks. They are

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4. Community Building A two-story community building is situated at the nexus of the community garden, farmers’ market, and orchard. The building is built into the hillside so that the north wall of the lower floor is retaining. The lower floor of the building is primarily functional for the community garden. It provides tool and materials storage, as well as outdoor produce wash basins located under the deck. Stored materials may include gardening tools such as hoes and shovels, hoses, seed, and wheel-barrows. Community garden storage is accessible through large doors adjacent to the primary garden path. The lower floor of the building is accessible through large doors adjacent to the farmers’ market plaza, which enables it to be used as a storage facility for farmers’ market events. Stored materials for the farmers’ market may include vendor canopies, signs, traffic cones, tables, etc. The upper story of the community building is an open classroom space that is designed to take advantage of the views afforded by the sloped site. This allows views of downtown Los Angeles as well as views of the community garden and farmers’ market plaza. Programming for this room is focused on education, providing opportunities for classroom discussions based on outdoor experiences. In this way, the views and agricultural setting can augment curricula about sustainable agriculture, ecology and history in Los Angeles. The upper story classroom is

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Figure 8–17.  Section-elevation A-A’ of orchard and plaza in Lincoln Heights Local

accessible from the lower orchard terrace. Adjacent to the west wall of the building, steps lead up to the terrace from the floor of the farmers’ market plaza. An accessible path on the terrace runs from the Gates Street sidewalk to the classroom.

5. Steps The steps that are located between the farmers’ market

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plaza and the lower orchard terrace are multifunctional and have design features of their own. The staircase itself is retaining the orchard for that western portion of the terrace. Most of the steps are large (18” tall by 2’ wide), providing opportunities for seating -- especially during farmers’ markets, when people may want a place to sit and eat or socialize. The eastern third of the staircase, adjacent to the community building, has smaller steps that facilitate easy climbing. The staircase also features evenly spaced planters, in which dwarf citrus trees grow.

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6. Juice Stand The juice stand is located on the southeastern corner of the site, at the intersection of Broadway and Thomas. This location features the juice stand prominently, and promotes its use especially to high school students and bus riders who frequent that corner. The juice stand acts as an anchor for the site when other activities such as the farmers’ market are not active. This ensures that the site is activated, and keeps eyes on the property. The juice stand serves juices and other healthy snacks made from produce grown on-site when available, supplemented by organically grown produce from off-site. The juice stand reinforces the theme of local, healthy food. It may be advantageous to form a private-public partnership to operate the juice stand. A local farmer or entrepreneur could provide produce and operate the site for a low lease rate, in exchange for specified programming and maintenance of the upper orchard terrace.

7. Bioswale A vegetated swale runs along the southern edge of the community garden adjacent to the Broadway Street sidewalk, and along the western side of the community garden. The bioswale is a linear depression that slopes towards the southwest corner. It is vegetated with native riparian plants such as rushes (Juncus spp.), sedges, and small shrubs. There are two sources of water for the bioswale. The western portion of the bioswale collects water from the community garden. Any water that accumulates in the french drains will flow towards the northern entrance of the bioswale. Once entering the bioswale, it will flow to the south towards the deepest portion of the swale, which acts as a detention basin and features an overflow that is connected under the sidewalk to a stormwater drain. Upon entering this depression, most water will be treated by the vegetation or absorbed into the soil before overflowing to the stormdrain. The eastern portion of the bioswale collects graywater from the juice stand. Water from washing produce and dishes will be drained from the juice stand to the easternmost portion of the bioswale via a buried pipe. There it will be treated by plants, soil and mulch as it makes its way down the slope to the west or gets absorbed into the soil. The amount of graywater should never be enough to become exposed on the surface and become a

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health risk. Rather, it will remain under a layer of mulch and will absorb quickly into the soil, providing moisture for vegetation. Using graywater in this way reduces the amount of waste water that is necessary to treat at sewage plants, while also supporting plantings of native vegetation.

Green Solutions Summary Lincoln Heights Local primarily contains urban agriculture and community outdoor green field types. The public plaza at Lincoln Heights Local and educational top story of the central building are examples of community outdoor and indoor green field solutions, respectively. The community garden and orchards are examples of urban agriculture, and the bioswale and permeable paving are examples of stormwater management.

Benefits Lincoln Heights Local would provide numerous benefits to the community’s economic, social, and environmental health. The nearby schools could reserve plots in the community garden to teach school children about agriculture and healthy food choices. In addition, the community space could become an important place for school gatherings and educational events. The farmer’s market space would provide the opportunity for a weekly local market and would give the community the opportunity to have fresh produce and exchange goods. The juice stand helps to connect the neighborhood and provide healthy food options. Additionally, the bioswale and permeable paving help increase ecological health.

Figure 8–18.  Opposite page: Perspective of the farmers’ market in the Lincoln Heights Local plaza.

Figure 8–19.  Following pages: Perspective of the community garden in Lincoln Heights Local

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Arroyo Seco Park Overview north is a fenced-off wooded strip of property that runs along the Arroyo Seco from Pasadena Avenue approximately ¼ mile northeast to Heritage Square Museum. On weekends, Heritage Square Museum offers guided tours of historic Victorian homes and educates visitors about the history of late nineteenth century

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This 2.7 acre red field is located in Lincoln Heights, at a crossroads of various transportation corridors and rights of way, and between industrial and residential uses. The site is bordered on the north by the Arroyo Seco, a 60 foot wide concrete stream channel that drops approximately 20 feet to the channel bottom. Just beyond the stream channel runs the 110 Freeway, which connects the city of Pasadena to Los Angeles. These corridors create a 110 Arroyo Seco flows from diagonal edge to the site, as the the northeast to the southwest before reaching the Los Angeles River. The west side of the site is bordered by tracks for the Metro Gold Line light rail, which cross the stream channel and freeway to connect to Heritage Square Metro Stop to the north of the site. Along the eastern 5 edge of the site runs Pasadena Avenue, a four-lane road that also bridges over the Arroyo Seco just after passing NM ain the site. St. ue

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Pasadena Avenue acts as a boundary between many industrial lots to the west and mostly residential lots on hills to the east. This red field is at the northern apex of those industrial lots in Lincoln Heights. To the south of the site is a large industrial building and parking lot separated from the site by a chain-link fence.

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Figure 8–21.  Existing conditions at Arroyo Seco site

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Figure 8–20.  Arroyo Seco Park site in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles

Figure 8–22.  The Arroyo Seco Park site overlooks the channelized Arroyo Seco.

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Figure 8–23.  Surrounding land uses for Arroyo Seco Park site

Southern California. The Metro Gold Line station, named after Heritage Square, is located along Pasadena Avenue, roughly two hundred feet north of the site on the other side of the Arroyo Seco. The site is mostly flat except along the edge of the Arroyo Seco, where the terrain drops sharply to meet the top of the channel. An existing driveway and entrance to the site is across from the terminus of Avenue 35 at Pasadena Avenue. This intersection includes stop lights, crosswalks, and two bus stops. Remnants of a parking lot or building footing are visible just inside the entrance to the site. Several large palm tree stumps are visible along the sidewalk adjacent to the site. On site, existing vegetation mostly consists of invasive grasses and small shrubs including castor bean. In the middle of the site are several utility poles which served the industry that formerly occupied the site. The site is currently designated a brownfield with multiple soil contaminants.

Opportunities and Constraints One major opportunity this site presents is the possibility

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of connecting to the Arroyo Seco stream channel, either literally or symbolically. The Arroyo Seco is an important and historic waterway of the region that has been hidden from view and stripped of ecological function through the process of channelization. The site’s relatively large size compared to other red fields presents an opportunity for programming elements, such as sports fields or trails, that may not fit on smaller sites. The Gold Line Station across the Arroyo Seco stimulates pedestrian traffic along the site’s eastern edge as commuters walk across the bridge between the station and Lincoln Heights. The elementary school on Pasadena Avenue indicates the presence of youth, and is an opportunity to bring children to the site for play and educational experiences. A large open area with no tall buildings surrounding it, the site offers panoramic views, including a view of Mount Washington to the north. The proximity of Heritage Square Museum presents an additional opportunity for educational programming. Multiple barriers constrain the site and deter pedestrian traffic, including the Arroyo Seco stream channel, the 110 freeway, the Metro right of way, and industrial

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facilities. Access is limited primarily to the eastern edge of the site along Pasadena Avenue, although there is a possibility to create access through a narrow right of way along the Metro track at the southwest corner of the site. These conditions may limit visibility and activity in western portions of the site and require increased safety precautions. Additionally, the steep area adjacent to the Arroyo is not suitable for many programming types. Finally, the soil contaminants require mitigation before public access can proceed.

Programming Development Programming for this site takes advantage of the location’s unique opportunity to educate children and parents about local natural history, while also improving mental and physical health through recreation. Although providing physical access to the stream channel may be impractical, the site is situated to focus visitors’ attention on the Arroyo Seco and its history. The various corridors that transect the area, including the streets, highway, train tracks, and concrete stream channel, are opportunities to reference development throughout Los Angeles history.

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By incorporating native vegetation and local materials into the design, the site can indicate the historic ecological conditions of the area, restore habitat for wildlife and threatened plant species, and provide opportunities for outdoor education. Environmental education programming includes afterschool programs, field trips, and classes that can be hosted on-site. An interpretive nature center will house an office for educational staff, educational supplies, and educational displays for visitors. The nature center will serve as a hub for educational programming, with additional environmental education elements including a pond, a gathering circle, native vegetation, and a trail around the site. These elements feature a variety of ecological elements and experiences. Playgrounds are another programming element appropriate for the site, due to its proximity to an elementary school and residential community. Playgrounds support childhood development through outdoor play. Playgrounds can also integrate environmental education into play by incorporating

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Figure 8–25.  The Arroyo Seco Park site has views to the north.

natural materials such as wood, stone and water. A playground supports families from the local community and encourages community investment in the park. Picnic and barbecue areas also encourage community investment in the park by supporting use by a variety of community members. This programming creates opportunities for residents to relax, gather or celebrate outdoors. These uses bring people into the site and activate it, thereby enhancing safety. Active recreation is also a significant way to activate the site. Active recreation draws groups of people to the site for games. While the site is not large enough to host multiple playing fields, a multi-use recreation field supports a variety of uses at different times, including informal play for children. This type of programming may be preferable to more formal sports fields, which require more space, equipment, and designated lighting. Additionally, a walking and jogging path supports active recreation, and create opportunities for residents to exercise or connect with nature. The path provides environmental education through signage and surrounding vegetation. The path takes advantage of the views of the surrounding mountains that the site offers. By bringing people close to views of the Arroyo Seco, the Arroyo Seco Freeway, and the Metro rail, the path supports education of the history of Los Angeles, augmenting educational programming provided by the

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nearby Heritage Square Museum. Visitors will be welcomed and encouraged to enter the site by an attractive entry feature. The programming for this entry feature includes an open plaza that creates a sense of arrival as well as a meeting point. This plaza also serves as a gathering space. An archway enhances the sense of entrance by acting as a gate or doorway to the site - a focal point for entry.

Design The design of Arroyo Seco Park combines environmental education with passive and active recreation. Active recreation areas include a multi-use sports field, playgrounds, and a walking/jogging trail. Passive recreation is featured on the walking paths, as well as at picnic areas and at seating nodes along the trail. A nature center, native plant garden and pond enhance environmental education as well as passive recreation. At the entrance of the park is a plaza that connects to each of the major elements of the park and provides seating for the existing bus stop. The sidewalk adjacent to the park is also redesigned to extend the features of the park toward the street and further attract visitors into the park.

1. Entrance and sidewalk The sidewalk and entrance to the park are designed to

Figure 8–26.  Arroyo Seco Park existing site entrance

create a welcoming experience for the visitor. The sidewalk along Pasadena Avenue is designed to highlight the park, create a more pleasant walking experience, and enhance the connection between the park and the Heritage Square Metro stop. The redesigned sidewalk follows a curvilinear path with bright and fragrant native plants flanking each side. A decorative wrought iron fence, partially hidden by low vegetation, runs the length of Pasadena Avenue along the edge of the park. The fence prevents people from entering the park at places other than the designated entrance or at night. The sidewalk design also includes a small seating area outside the entrance gate for serving bus riders. The design of this seating area repeats the design of seating nodes inside the park, featuring boulder seating and naturalistic design. Because the bus stop seating area is outside the park gates, it is accessible even when the park is closed. The entrance to the park is located at the intersection of Pasadena Avenue and Avenue 35, where the existing site entrance is now located. The entrance is marked by a large arch-covered gate. During daytime hours the gate is open and visitors pass under the archway to enter the site. Just inside the gateway, visitors are greeted by an entry plaza that consists of a paved circular open space and a prominently featured heron sculpture on a seating planter. This heron sculpture is an iconic embodiment of the purpose of the park to connect people to natural history, and it acts as the first focal point in the park. Seating around the sculpture, consisting of a raised planter with

native grasses, provides a convenient meeting place and a community space for conversation and people watching. From this entry plaza, multiple paths lead to different areas of the park. The nature center, playgrounds, picnic area, multi-use field, and loop path are all accessible from the entry plaza. Therefore, the entry plaza serves as the central hub of the park, from which people can survey the scene and decide which path to follow to their desired activity.

2. Nature Education Area While environmental education is not limited to any one portion of the park, the northern area of the park focuses specifically on this type of programming. The nature education area includes an interpretive nature center with a patio, a bioswale and ecology pond, a native plant garden with a mound, and a gathering circle. The nature center, located near the northeastern corner of the park, provides the community, especially local students, with the opportunity to learn about native plants, wildlife, and ecology. Programs such as afterschool programs, summer camps, and field trips will bring students to the park for environmental education at the nature center. The nature center itself features green building practices and materials such as passive solar design and rammed earth or straw bale walls. The center houses an office for education staff, as well as supplies

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and educational displays. Because the site is operative during daylight hours only, solar panels on the roof of the nature center are sufficient to power a computer and any electronics needed in the office. The roof of the nature center also captures rainwater and directs it to a cistern, from which water can be accessed for cleaning purposes. During storms, overflow from the cistern is directed to the adjacent ecology pond. The nature center is accessed via a path that begins at the entry plaza, continues north past the front of the nature center, and then curves west to meet the main walking path. In front of the nature center is a small patio where people can gather to look at signage or listen to a lecture or activity guided by a nature interpreter. To the southwest, just across the path from the patio, is an ecology pond flanked by native vegetation and a gathering circle. The ecology pond is naturalistic in design, with rocks, mud, and naturalized plantings of native rushes, reeds and water plants. The pond attracts wildlife, including birds, insects and amphibians. The pond serves as an educational tool for the nature center, as students can examine the diversity of animal life that exists in wetland habitats. The ecology pond also will attract people to the site, as they will be able to witness wildlife that are not often present in the urban environment. Several sources of water maintain the level of water in the pond. The primary source is overflow from the playground water features. This water flows out of the playground in a runnel that grades into a naturalized bioswale before entering the pond. The bioswale has a surface of loose rocks, which minimizes the amount of water exposed on the surface. The bioswale also features lush plantings of appropriate native species such as Juncus spp., which naturally purify the water as it flows toward the pond. Overflow from the cistern that collects rainfall from the nature center roof is a secondary source of water for the pond. This water source is especially useful during winter months when children are less likely to engage in water play and rainfall is more frequent. Direct rainfall and runoff from the surrounding area of the park will also contribute water to the pond. In addition to these sources, a hidden water supply with a float valve will ensure that the level of the pond is always kept sufficiently high to support its plant life. Overflow from the pond will drain via a standpipe and buried drain pipe to the arroyo.

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A native plant garden surrounding the pond and nature center enhances environmental education programs, provides habitat for native species, and connects visitors to the local natural history. The native plant garden features plant species from chaparral, coastal sage scrub, riparian woodland, coastal grassland, oak woodland, and wetland plant communities. A mound within this area creates a sense of enclosure for the gathering circle and interesting topographic variation. This topographic variation results in microclimates, with differences in aspect, exposure and moisture, that support different plant communities. Signage for native plants augment the educational aspect of these plantings. Small foot paths within this area provide access to the diversity of plants. The variety of textures, colors, and smells in the native plant garden contribute to a rich experience for students and visitors. A gathering circle is nestled in the native plant garden beside the pond. Reached via a bridge across the pond, this simple ring of seating boulders provides a space for outdoor education, where classes can gather to talk about ecology. The gathering circle is shaded by sycamore trees and has a naturalistic floor of decomposed granite.

3. Playgrounds Two playgrounds are located on the opposite side of the entry plaza from the nature education area, also near the entrance. The playground is divided into two parts to serve children of different age groups the smaller playground for younger children and the larger playground for older children. The playgrounds are designed as natural play areas that incorporate natural materials. The playgrounds also feature water play elements that drain out of the playgrounds into the bioswale and ultimately into the pond. These water elements allow children to direct the flow of water into different troughs, create dams, or splash around. The design of these water elements within the playground area is structured, but the water forms become more naturalistic and informal as runoff reaches the bioswale. This symbolizes the flow of water in the urban environment, and creates a teaching moment for understanding the possibilities of ecological water treatment. Locating the playgrounds near the entrance results in greater visibility and safety. It also facilitates ease of access for parents with small children. Furthermore, the playgrounds are adjacent to the multi-use field, allowing play to extend from the playground into the field.

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Figure 8–27.  Axonometric view of Arroyo Seco Park design in Lincoln Heights

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Figure 8–28.  Section-elevation A-A’ of playground, multi-use field, and nature education area in Arroyo Seco Park

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The large southwestern portion of the park comprises the multi-use play field, approximately a half acre in size, which is bounded by the walking path. This field is a mown lawn with informal boundaries and a few large trees near the edges. It has high visibility from other areas of the park. The multi-use field hosts activities such as pick-up games of soccer or Frisbee, as well as informal play such as running, tag, catch, kite-flying, etc. The field can also host gatherings for celebrations or events such as weddings or concerts. A temporary stage can easily be set up at the eastern edge of the field near the entry plaza.

A picnic and barbecue area is located under an oak woodland to the south of the entrance plaza, adjacent to the multi-use field. This proximal location facilitates carrying food and other items to the tables. Slightly removed from the entrance, the picnic area allows for more peaceful relaxation. However, this area is by no means disconnected from the rest of the park, as visitors sitting there are able to watch activity on the multi-use field, the walking path, and the playgrounds.

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6. Walking/Jogging Path The walking/jogging path connects to all other program elements in the park and provides a natural setting for residents to walk and exercise. The main path starts at the eastern edge of the entrance plaza and forms a loop around the multi-use field. Smaller paths branch off near the entrance plaza to reach the nature education area and the playgrounds. The length of the looping path is less than a quarter of a mile, but multiple laps can provide longer walks. The path is designed to subtly mimic an arroyo and indicate a connection between the park and the Arroyo Seco. This is accomplished through the surface material of the path, as well as with placed boulders, stones, and native vegetation. The surface material of the path is decomposed granite, a natural material that resembles the surface of an arroyo in look and feel. Much of the San Gabriel Mountains from which the Arroyo Seco flows are largely composed of granite rock. Boulders placed along the pathway further indicate an arroyo, as boulders are often carried down mountains into arroyos due to erosion. In the context of the path, these boulders also provide seating opportunities, as well as habitat for native lizards and other species. Native vegetation flanks the path on both sides, varying in different areas of the park. In some places this vegetation is oak woodland or chaparral, while in other places it consists of native grasses such as deer grass, and wildflowers. The path also meanders in a way that resembles the gentle curves of a stream. Seating nodes along the path are marked by groupings of boulders and a change of surface materials, such as cobbles embedded in decomposed granite. These nodes are just off the path, and create focal points along the route. They are resting spots, places for conversation, and also vista points that take advantage of views of the surrounding mountains. The nodes are also opportunities for environmental education, with signage that references views of landscape features such as the Arroyo Seco or the Metro line and discusses their historic context. Other signage at the nodes refers to the vegetative communities that the path traverses.

Green Solutions Summary Arroyo Seco Park includes active and passive recreation, community, and ecology green field types. The multiuse field, walking/jogging path, and playground provide active recreation programming. Passive recreation is accomplished by the walking/jogging path, picnic area,

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seating nodes, and native plant garden. The nature education area provides community and ecology green field types. Native vegetation throughout the site and the ecology pond also satisfy the ecology green field type.

Benefits Arroyo Seco Park provides the community with many benefits, each of which fulfills the three environmental, social, and economic health objectives. Many features of the park will help increase the social health of the community. First, the passive areas of the park give people a place to connect to nature, converse, or relax. Areas for congregating and picnicking will give residents a place to gather with family and friends outdoors. The multiuse sports field and playgrounds will give children and adults a place to play and exercise. The park is a place for families and residents of all ages. The park also integrates environmental education into almost all activities, adding a valuable community benefit. Programming targeted specifically at environmental education, especially for youth, enhances academic achievement, encourages environmental stewardship in the community, and connects people to natural processes that are part of the Los Angeles landscape. Additionally, Arroyo Seco Park provides direct environmental health benefits and indirect economic benefits. Vegetation on site will sequester carbon and provide habitat for birds, insects, lizards, and other small animals. The ecology pond and native vegetation area will provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife. Although economic health is not a focus of the park, property values near the park will likely increase.

Figure 8–29.  Opposite page: Perspective of path, multiuse field and seating node in Arroyo Seco Park Figure 8–30.  Following pages: Perspective of Arroyo Seco Park entrance Figure 8–31.  Following pages: Perspective of Arroyo Seco Park nature education area

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This small 0.3 acre square site is located on the corner of a busy commercial intersection in Westlake, oneN. Broadway block south of MacArthur Park. The streets that form the city grid in this neighborhood are rotated from the 5 north-south east-west orthogonals. The site is bounded by Alvarado Street to the southeast and 8th Street to the southwest. The northwest Nborder of the site is formed Mai nat by an alley that has an entrance St.8th Street. Adjacent to the site on the northeast side is a one- and two-story brick commercial building. The site is relatively flat, with existing ephemeral vegetation including grasses. The site is currently fenced off and inaccessible to the public. There is also some equipment on site that indicates the site is a brownfield - most likely a former gas station. The site is defined by its location in the middle of a bustling commercial district at the junction of two major streets. Alvarado Street is a major vehicular and pedestrian commercial corridor with numerous shops 0 and restaurants, as well as street vendors. Alvarado Street is approximately 63 feet from curb to curb, with six traffic lanes including on-street parking. Eighth Street is approximately 55 feet wide, with five lanes including

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Figure 8–33.  Existing conditions at Poplar Plaza site in Westlake, Los Angeles

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Figure 8–34.  People waiting for the bus at Poplar Plaza site in Westlake, Los Angeles

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Figure 8–35.  Surrounding land uses for Poplar Plaza site

on-street parking. Both Alvarado and Eighth Street have bus stops adjacent to the site. Sidewalks around the site are approximately 12 feet wide. The alley is approximately 15 feet wide, and it ends at a “T” intersection with a perpendicular alley a little over 300 feet from the site.

MacArthur Park Station for the Red and Purple Metro Lines. Transit oriented development (TOD) is under construction around the Metro stop, which will add residential and commercial units to an already dense area (Camino 2010).

The building on the northeast border of the site is an enclosed commercial shopping center which opens onto Alvarado. Across Alvarado are other shops, including a liquor store. Many of the buildings along Alvarado are mixed use, with apartments on top of street-front stores. Across the alley to the southwest of the site along 8th Street is a Mexican-Chinese restaurant. A three-story apartment building lies a little further down the alley. Across 8th Street to the southwest is a commercial center that features a parking lot, dentist office, donut shop, and other shops. Two bus stops are directly adjacent to the site, one on the southwest side on 8th Street, and one on the southeast side on Alvarado. Both are heavily used.

Opportunities and Constraints

One block to the northeast of the site is MacArthur Park, a multi-use park of approximately 35 acres that is heavily used. Across from the park on Alvarado is the Westlake/

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This site has numerous opportunities to serve as a vital community-oriented green field. The site is located in a very busy commercial district, and benefits from a high volume of pedestrian traffic. This presents an important opportunity to engage pedestrians in the community. Located on the corner of two major streets, it is also highly visible and presents an opportunity to attract visitors from throughout the neighborhood. Additionally, with two bus stops adjacent to the site, there is an opportunity to provide a service for people waiting for the bus. Although MacArthur Park is only a block away, this small urban site is an opportunity to create a more intimate, more locally integrated type green space. The wide sidewalks enhance the opportunity to engage

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Figure 8–36.  Poplar Plaza site analysis

pedestrians. The flat terrain makes the site flexible for a variety of programming possibilities, and presents an opportunity to extend accessibility from the sidewalks into the site. The alley is also an opportunity, both to connect the site to the alley in order to enhance the site’s connectivity, and to extend the influence of the site to the alley by way of infrastructural improvements. Additionally, the large brick wall on the northeast boundary provides an opportunity for a mural, vertical vegetation, or other elements that could respond to that structure and add dynamic appeal to the design. The fact that the site is completely exposed to the sun is both an opportunity and a constraint. On one hand, it is an opportunity for vegetative growth. On the other hand, it indicates the need for shade if the site is to host pedestrians or seating. The site’s small size constrains it to fewer and smaller programming elements. Active recreation and uses such as wetlands are probably not appropriate for this site. Furthermore, traffic from the street junction produces copious noise and air pollution. An additional concern is that, because of the corner location, a “desire line”

* Bus stop

might be created diagonally across the site if there were no barriers. Furthermore, the site is potentially a brown field with toxic soils, and might need pollution mitigation measures before development.

Programming Development Programming for Poplar Plaza is focused on creating a community space that provides space for sitting, relaxing, and meeting. The program was mostly dictated by the commercial, dense urban surroundings and the highly visible corner location which made the site an ideal location for community outdoor green field solutions. Because of the site’s small size, a simple, unified program was decided upon. The strategy for accomplishing these objectives is to create a simple plaza with trees, public art, and ample seating. The program is enhanced by the possibility of rotating art exhibits. There is an opportunity to extend some of the activity from the streets onto the site, while maintaining a sense of separate identity, creating a somewhat dynamic place that is a destination in itself. Creating a flexible space that can Site Design

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Figure 8–37.  The Poplar Plaza site is located at a busy commercial intersection in Westlake, Los Angeles.

host a variety of temporary programming, such as public art, would meet this objective. This is met by creating a simple plaza surface with good accessibility and visibility from the sidewalk. Public art adds interest to the site, drawing people in, and giving the space a unique identity. Colors and shapes of sculptures will stand out in the context of a simple plaza, and contribute to the sense of the space as a living part of the community. Inviting local artists to contribute work that will be displayed temporarily will engage the community and contribute to a sense of community ownership and investment in the space. Furthermore, the fact that the displays change periodically will make the site function like an outdoor gallery, to which people will want to return again and again. Located in a busy commercial area with copious pedestrian traffic, the site can provide seating for weary walkers, and it would make an excellent place to “people watch.” There is also an opportunity to provide seating for bus riders, and thereby support alternative forms of transportation. Therefore, ample seating is an integral part of the programming for this site. In Los Angeles, where there is seating there should also be shade options. Therefore trees are essential to this site’s programming. In this highly urban context without much

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tree canopy, planting trees also presents an opportunity to create something iconic. Therefore, it is appropriate on this site to plant trees en masse, that grow close and tall. This will create a wall or tower of green that will stand out against the urban fabric as an icon of cool relaxation. Furthermore, trees can improve the urban environment in multiple ways, especially on this site where soil pollution is likely. Properly selected trees can improve soil conditions while also reducing the heat island effect and improving air quality.

Design The design of this site is intended to unify the small space, creating a singular impression of a space that is relaxing yet urban, separate yet integral to the community. The dominant feature of the design is the bosque of poplar trees that rises up from the site. Additionally the site is composed of a permeable plaza that sits a couple of steps up from sidewalk level, along with benches for seating, a mosaic wall, and public sculpture scattered throughout.

1. Poplar Bosque The poplar bosque is comprised of poplar trees planted on a 20 foot grid throughout the site. The bosque defines that site, and also contributes numerous benefits to the performance of the space. The trees are deciduous,

Figure 8–38.  The Poplar Plaza site is located in an area of high pedestrian traffic.

providing summer shade and allowing winter sun. This improves the microclimate of the site, making it more comfortable at all times of year. The trees are limbed up to provide maximum visibility, and the vertical trunks create a recognizable pattern from the perspective of the viewer. This pattern gives the space an identity that is separate from the street, yet accessible and safe. The spacing and vertical growth pattern of the trees allow light into all parts of the space, reinforcing the sense of safety and openness. Aside from the comfort provided by the shade of the trees, the bosque of poplars contributes to the sense that this site is separate from the street; a refuge. While allowing enough visibility through the site for safety concerns, the trees also separate the user from the street enough to feel a sense of respite. In addition, white noise from the rustling leaves will mitigate the noises of traffic, perhaps enough for the user to imagine for a moment that they are in a forest. The grid of the bosque is diagonal to the grid of the streets. This creates sight lines along anticipated desire lines, where people will want to cut through from one street to another. This also enhances the sense of safety by creating lines of sight to the busiest parts of the street. Having a grid that reflects the grid of the streets but is directionally different reinforces the idea that this space is

very much a part of the urban fabric, but at the same time it is self-defined. Up-lighting on the trees at night will create a soft yet dramatic effect. Poplars and other trees in the Salicaceae family are known for their effectiveness at phytoremediation. Therefore, in addition to other environmental benefits associated with trees such as sequestering carbon and producing oxygen, as the trees grow they will sequester pollutants that may be in the soil as a result of the site’s prior use. Some of the pollutants that poplar trees and closely related species are known to remediate include cyanide, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), perchlorate (ClO4-), 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) (Van Dillewijn et al 2008, Larsen and Trap 2006, Widdowson et al 2005, Tan et al. 2004, Hong et al. 2001). Over time, pollutants in the soil of the site will be cleaned.

2. Permeable Plaza The plaza surface reinforces the pattern of the trees with a grid-style paving pattern of permeable pavers. The entire plaza is raised up from the level of the sidewalk by approximately one foot, in order to further define the space while maintaining open visibility and pedestrian accessibility. Raising the plaza also prevents vehicular traffic from entering the plaza and damaging trees.

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Furthermore, raising the plaza allows the plaza materials to act as a cap for the brownfield, whereby contact with the soil is prohibited and remediation can continue under the surface. The concrete steps around the plaza and accessible concrete ramp along the building wall act as a sort of bond beam that holds the grid of permeable pavers in place. The pavers are set on top of sand and gravel which provide permeability. Inside the grid, the pavers are punctuated by tree grates and linear drains in a grid pattern. These elements further reinforce the pavers, holding them in place. The pavers themselves are colored concrete, adding color and texture. The finished level of the plaza surface is above the crown of the tree roots, which are recessed in planting wells covered by tree grates. Linear drains crisscross the site and connect to these planting wells. Therefore, any stormwater that is not absorbed through the permeable pavement will drain to the planting wells and further irrigate the trees. A very slight slope across the finished grade to the south will prevent any water from puddling if there is ever a case in which the site can not handle a storm event. The permeability of the plaza surface in general acts to allow water and air infiltration to the roots of the trees so that they can thrive.

5. Mosaic Wall The large wall that dominates the northeast edge of the site is designed to be covered with a colorful mosaic that adds liveliness and interest to the site. The design of the mosaic can be contributed by local artists, and community members and youth can help put it together. This will create a sense of community ownership and investment in the park. Mosaics are also appropriate to this predominantly immigrant community because they bring together various pieces from different background and combine them into a unified artistic statement. Mosaics usually focus on color and pattern, which will reinforce the themes of the plaza. Bright colors will attract visitors to the wall, drawing them to walk through and activate all parts of the site. In addition, the mosaic wall is an opportunity for dramatic lighting at night that can radiate throughout the site. Focusing bright lights on the colorful mosaic will reflect color throughout the site and create an attractive glow.

3. Seating

Green Solutions Summary

Seating is provided by numerous benches that are fixed to the site along the edge of the tree grates. Benches are oriented along the main desire lines, which run from east to west across the site, and are made of metal for durability. Using benches as opposed to other seating options such as seat walls contributes to the perceived lightness and openness of this site. Benches are scattered throughout the site to provide multiple opportunities for privacy or conversation, and they variously face toward either the street intersection or the mosaic wall. The numerous benches also provide the opportunity for people waiting for the bus to sit in the plaza in the shade.

This site design is focused on the “Community Outdoor� green field type. It provides a passive, flexible space that can function as a place of rest, a place for meeting, or for temporary outdoor events. It builds social capital by enhancing the community, adding to the community identity and creating opportunities for social connection.

4. Sculptures Several pedestals for sculptures created by local artists are scattered throughout the site. These sculptures break up the repetition of the site somewhat, creating focal points that draw people through the site by attracting them to points of interest. This ensures that all parts of the site are activated. The sculptures are also a way to involve the community in the plaza, by incorporating elements that reflect the culture of the community. By

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periodically changing the sculptures that are featured, the programming will stay fresh, and it will invite community members to return to the site again and again to see what is new. Night lighting on the sculptures will contribute to safety and add a lively dynamic to the space.

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Benefits Poplar Plaza will contribute to the social, environmental and economic health of Westlake in various ways. Because of the high population and density in this neighborhood, this site will most likely be highly used and valued. And, because of the lighting and high visibility of the site, it can remain open late at night giving people with different schedules the opportunity to relax safely outdoors. Poplar Plaza will also increase property values around the site and possibly increase commercial activity by contributing a venue for local art. In addition to providing much needed shade, greening the plaza with poplar trees may also help reduce crime rates in the immediate area. As found in a Chicago study, housing developments with more trees and

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greenery had 48% fewer property crimes and 56% fewer violent crimes than identical buildings not surrounded by greenery (Kuo 2001). The columnar poplar trees will provide numerous environmental health benefits including helping to remediate toxic soils, reducing the heat island effect, sequestering carbon, and mitigating air pollution. The trees will also intercept particulate matter such as dust, ash and smoke; release oxygen through photosynthesis; and

lower air temperatures, thereby reducing the production of ozone and reducing energy use and subsequent pollutant emissions from power plants (Casey Trees and Davey Tree Expert Co. 2011).

Figure 8–41.  Following pages: Perspective of Poplar Plaza

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Florence Court Overview ena Ave.

This small 0.3 acre rectangular site is located along Central Avenue in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Florence. The lot is situated in the middle of a block, with 76th Place to the north and 77th Street to the south. 76th Place jogs north a half block where it crosses Central Avenue, so that the portion of the street that is to the west is directly across Central Avenue from the site. The eastern edge of the site is adjacent to a north-south running alley. Another alley runs east from this alley, so that it would connect to Central Avenue directly across from 76th Place N M the site if it were to continue through the site, however ain St. acts as the western terminus of this alley.

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Figure 8–43.  Existing conditions at Florence Court site

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Central Avenue is approximately 66 feet wide, with four traffic lanes, a turning lane in the middle, and parking lanes on both sides. The sidewalks are quite wide, at approximately 17 feet on both sides of the street. There are virtually no street trees in the area, and the sidewalks adjacent to and across from the site have no planting strips. The sidewalk on the block to the south of the site includes one small street tree and two 30 foot long planting strips that feature some trampled grass. The

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length of blocks along Central avenue is around 300 feet from curb to curb. The alleys, in contrast, are only approximately 15 feet wide. The site itself is currently vacant, and surrounded by lots containing buildings. The lot that is adjacent to the site on the north side contains a small discount store with a five-car parking lot in front. The lot to the south contains a probation office, with a convenience market to the south of that. Across Central Avenue there are two large warehouse-like buildings on either side of 76th Place. The one to the south is owned by the Salvation Army, while the one to the north is a juvenile justice center. These buildings typify the uses located along Central Avenue, which is a major commercial and industrial thoroughfare. Residential uses are located off of Central Avenue to the east of the site. Directly across the alley from the site are apartment buildings. The apartment buildings that run along the north-south alley are mostly one-story linear buildings with back entrances to each apartment along the alley. Garages for the apartments are located along the east-west alley on both sides. On the north side is one two-story building, where units were built on top of the garage. Similar multifamily residential use continues to the east. South Los Angeles is generally quite flat, lying on the

coastal plain of the Los Angeles Basin, and this site is no exception. The site is a regular rectangle, as all streets in the area conform to a strict north-south, east-west grid. The rectangle is longer on its north-south axis (135 feet) than on its east-west axis (100 feet). It is currently fenced off with a high chain-link fence. The probation office building to the south creates a high wall (approximately 18 feet high) along the southern edge of the site. The discount store to the north creates another partial wall on the north side. Buildings in the area are generally only one to two stories, however the topography permits no views beyond the streets. Other landmarks surrounding the site include a bus stop located on the sidewalk along Central just to the south of the site by the probation office, and two schools that are within a few blocks. The alley that runs east from the site ends at the next major north-south boulevard, Hooper Avenue. Directly across the street from where the alley ends is a public elementary school. Due to the length of the blocks in this direction, this is approximately a quarter of a mile away from the site. The alley that runs to the north from the site also terminates at a school that was recently constructed. This school appears to be a middle school. Although it is three blocks away from the site, due to the shortness of blocks in this direction it is only 0.18 miles away from the site.

Figure 8–44.  Central Ave. is a major street with a bus stop and cross walk adjacent to the Florence Court site.

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Figure 8–45.  Surrounding land uses near Florence Court site

Opportunities and Constraints Several opportunities presented by this site include its high visibility, its flat terrain and accessibility, and the potential for connection to alleys. The site is highly visible not only because it is located along Central Avenue, a major thoroughfare, but also because it is across the street from a “T” intersection where 76th Place meets Central. Any driver traveling east on 76th Place will look across the street to the site when they come to that intersection. The site is also located at the terminus of the east-west running alley, which appears to be heavily used for residential parking. Furthermore, a major bus stop is located on the sidewalk near the site, and another one is located directly across Central. Surrounding uses including the large Salvation Army and juvenile justice buildings also potentially draw large numbers of people throughout the day, further contributing to the high visibility of this site. The site is highly accessible. Both of the long sides of the rectangular lots are bordered by public rights of way, a wide sidewalk on one side and an alley on the other, and there are opportunities for access all along those sides. The

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flat terrain makes the entire site accessible and open to most types of programming. Recreation and community types of programming are especially suitable to this site, due to its flexibility and ease of access. The site also has the potential to act as a connection point for non-vehicular traffic by connecting to alleys. Alleys can create alternate routes to destinations such as schools and homes. Because there is less vehicular traffic in alleys than in streets, they are opportunities for alternate forms of transportation such as walking and biking. Furthermore, because the site is positioned in between the alleys and Central Avenue, the site has the potential to connect homes and schools to Central Avenue and the amenities that are located there, such as bus stops and places of employment. By simply opening the site to non-vehicular through traffic, it would act as a short cut that would enhance the walkability and bike-ability of the neighborhood. Another opportunity is posed by the walls that abut the site to the south and north. The wall of the probation office to the south of the site provides a significant

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Figure 8–46.  Site analysis of Florence Court

amount of shade on that edge of the lot. Both walls are also opportunities for program elements such as murals or green walls. The major constraints of the site are its size and surrounding uses. The size of the site limits it to smaller and fewer programming elements. For example, larger recreational components such as soccer fields would not fit on this site. Additionally, the fact that the site is located near a juvenile justice center and a probation office impact the programming opportunities, as they indicate a user demographic that may not be compatible with other potential user groups such as children.

Program Development Although this site would be suitable for many green field types, two programming themes were most appropriate given the surrounding needs of the community and potential park users: active and passive recreation. Recreation is especially needed at this site due to the abundance of multifamily residences in the area and the

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lack of existing places for residents to recreate. Aside from schools, which are generally closed during non-school hours and to non-students, there are no parks or open spaces in Florence. Therefore, there are few opportunities for children or adults to play or relax outdoors. Thus, providing a place for people to play, exercise or relax is one of the most appropriate uses of this vacant lot. Due to the small size of the site, options are limited for active recreation. Basketball courts are one of the few active recreation elements that are both highly popular and small enough for this type of pocket park. There are many other types of active recreation that may fit on this site, such as tennis or handball, although some of them may require higher levels of investment or are not as well known. Furthermore, while other types of recreation may be suitable, and could be considered for implementation, basketball was chosen for this example design because it is so commonly recognizable. However, design considerations may be needed to mitigate the noise that may be caused by this activity. Passive recreation is also suitable and needed. There

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Figure 8–47.  The Florence Court site is across from a juvenile hall and Salvation Army building.

are few places for people to relax in an outdoor setting in Florence. As described in Chapter 2.1, parks with trees and green space contribute positively to mental health. This site is especially well positioned to provide opportunities for resting and relaxation, due to its proximity to probation offices, juvenile justice, and bus stops. All these surrounding uses indicate the possible need for places to sit and wait, whether for a bus or an appointment. Therefore, shade and ample seating are two components that are highly appropriate for this design. Another component that supports both the passive and active recreation is a drinking fountain.

Design The dominant feature of the Florence Court design is the sunken basketball court. However, the site is designed to accommodate other important uses, including seating, walking, and biking. The site is also noticeably punctuated by trees, and features colorful murals and a green wall. The overall design layout is intended to promote high visibility, access and safety for multiple types of users.

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1. Sunken Basketball Court Taking up the largest portion of the site, the sunken basketball court is located adjacent to the northern boundary, with its long axis oriented in line with the long axis of the site. Three large steps surround the court and lead down to the basketball floor, providing access as well as seating. Smaller steps, located at the southern end of the basketball court, are built into the larger steps and provide easier access to the sunken court. The steps are located at this end so that they are most easily accessible from the main walkway that crosses the park. An ADA accessible ramp also winds down to the court from its northwest corner, ensuring equal access. The colorful floor of the court is comprised of porous asphalt that allows water drainage and infiltration. The location of the basketball court is designed to allow for a full court while still providing maximum space to the south for walking or biking through the site, between the street and the alleys. Sinking the basketball court below the grade of the site accomplishes several things that augment the performance of the space. Firstly, sinking the court creates an opportunity for the steps that lead down to the court, which double as seating. This amphitheatre of seating surrounding the basketball court takes advantage of the activity of basketball as a focus for passive recreational

Figure 8–48.  The alleys beside the Florence Court site connect to residences and schools.

users. It also provides needed seating for resting players or an audience. The court then serves as a performance space during basketball games, and could even host performances of other types. In order to facilitate comfortable seating, the steps down to the court are designed to be 18 inches tall and 22 inches deep. The material is concrete with exposed aggregate. Surrounding the basketball court at key locations, seat walls rise seamlessly from the ground surface to create extra seating and safety. The seat walls are rectilinear to reflect the design of the basketball court, and they are surfaced with the same aggregate that covers the ground and steps. Located at the corners of the basketball court and interspersed along the long sides of the court, the seat walls act as a barrier that prevents accidental entry into the sunken court from the alley or the street. This enhances safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially at night. The raised seat walls also provide extra seating for those who may want to watch the basketball game but are not comfortable descending to the seating steps. The northern edge of the basketball court is bounded by a retaining wall that rises 4.5 feet from the floor of the court to ground level and then extends another 3.5 feet above the surface. Behind this wall is an existing fence on the adjacent property. This creates an effective backstop

for the basketball court, to keep stray balls out of the adjacent parking lot. It also acts as a safety fence that prevents people from accidentally falling into the court. In addition, the wall is a suitable surface for a mural, which would add color and vibrancy. It has been noted that the other (north) side of the adjacent discount store already features a mural that includes depictions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Virgin of Guadalupe, and Cesar Chavez. Therefore it may be possible to extend the mural from the wall in the basketball court to the adjacent south wall of the discount store. Sinking the basketball court is a drainage challenge, but it also presents an opportunity to capture stormwater. To accomplish this, the playing surface of the court is made of porous pavement. Typically, porous pavement is underlain by a layer of compacted yet porous aggregate. This allows for quick absorption of water by the paving material, followed by infiltration into the ground. With this design feature, the site can contribute to water quality in the region by infiltrating all water that falls on-site, thereby reducing the amount of urban runoff and potentially increasing the amount of water that permeates to groundwater basins.

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2. Walkway and Seating Area The southern end of the site is designed to serve as a wide walkway (35 feet wide) that facilitates passage through the site as well as additional seating on benches. This space also can function as an open plaza for informal gathering. The paving for this area is also exposed aggregate. This paving material sets Florence Court apart from the surrounding land uses by adding detail. Exposed aggregate is a durable surface that supports frequent foot and bicycle traffic while adding beauty and detail. This also reduces maintenance needs of the park. The location of this walkway and seating area is designed to take advantage of the shade that the wall of the probation office provides. An undulating bench that is located along this wall provides a cool place for visitors to sit and relax in the shade. This also creates a sense of “prospect and refuge”, whereby those who sit here can enjoy the views of the basketball court, passers-by, and the street, while feeling safe and secure that nothing is going on behind them. The wall of the probation office is also modified to become a green wall that enhances the sense of relaxation in the passive area of the site. This wall features a vertical trellis system to support vines, which will grow from a planting bed at the base of the wall. Vines climbing from this bed will completely cover the wall, softening the hard edges with green vegetation. This green wall will evoke a sense of lushness, improve the microclimate, and soften the sounds from the street and basketball court.

3. Trees This site design features seventeen trees distributed throughout the site. These are medium sized trees, with a canopy of approximately 30 feet. The trees help define the space, as massings of trees do not exist in the surrounding urban environment, and provide shade, which increases comfort by reducing air temperature and cooling the man-made surfaces. Trees also produce oxygen and absorb certain pollutants from the air, contributing to better air quality for park visitors and the neighborhood. The trees along the edges of the site are evenly spaced in allées, to reinforce the rectilinear design of the site and circulation along the sidewalk and alley, and to provide a visual pattern that is easy to read. The trees are limbed up to allow maximum visibility through the site, enhancing safety. Sufficient space around the trees adds to the accessibility and walkability of Florence Court. Care should be taken to select tree species that are low

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maintenance. This includes trees that have low water requirements, are resilient to urban conditions, and do not produce a high volume of leaf or fruit litter that will need to be removed from the sunken basketball court.

Green Solutions Summary The green field types included in the Florence Court design are active and passive recreation. The basketball court fulfills the active recreation programming objectives, while passive recreation is accomplished by the seat steps surrounding the court and additional seating adjacent to the wall on the south side of the site. Additional elements such as shade from the trees and building, as well as vegetation on the green wall, art in the form of murals, and paving materials contribute to the performance of the space in terms of passive recreation.

Benefits Florence Court would benefit the surrounding neighborhood, support surrounding uses, and increase the community’s social, environmental, and economic health. As Florence currently has no parks, Florence Court would provide a much needed space for active and passive recreation. The passive recreation components and vegetation will benefit the mental health of the community by providing opportunities for relaxation in an outdoor setting, as well as connection to nature. The basketball court will benefit the social and physical health of the community by providing an opportunity for exercise in a social setting. It may also provide an opportunity for employees from surrounding buildings and offices to recreate during their lunch breaks or after work. Environmental health benefits include improved water quality and infiltration, reduced heat island effect, and improved air quality. The accessibility of the site will also benefit the health of the community. Surrounding property values will likely increase because of residents’ and employees’ direct access to the park and its amenities. Residents from the surrounding community can easily access the site via streets or alleys. In addition, the adjacent bus stop will allow access for residents who live further from the Court. Alley improvements such as better safety consideration and green infrastructure would greatly contribute to this site’s accessibility and connectivity to the extended neighborhood as well. Figure 8–49.  Following pages: Perspective of Florence Court

Mural Wall

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Figure 8–51.  Section-elevation A-A’ showing the vine wall and seating area at Florence Court

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Figure 8–52.  Section-elevation B-B’ of Florence Court’s sunken basketball court

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9

Implementation

When the implementation phase of R2G-LA occurs, additional studies and design work will be needed. This chapter outlines recommendations for that process, including prioritization, phasing, and design considerations. In addition, several green initiatives that are focused on increasing green space in Los Angeles and improving access to recreational opportunities are identified. These projects share similar goals to R2G-LA, and many of the organizations and City agencies involved have been influential in the development of this report.

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9.1 Prioritization Recommendations When funding becomes available for R2G-LA, decisions will need to be made that focus immediate attention where it is needed most. In order to prioritize red fields for acquisition and transformation to green fields, it is recommended to use a process that includes some or all of the following: • •

Capability and suitability studies Prioritization based on: • Published research • Community input • Neighborhood master planning

Capability & Suitability The suitability process used in this document (see chapter 7) helped to determine appropriate green field solutions for red fields in three neighborhood study areas. First, information about red field characteristics was collected, such as location, surrounding land use, sunniness, topography, size, vacancy, etc. Then, broad green field categories of urban agriculture, recreation, ecology, and community were developed to address social and ecological needs found at both the regional and neighborhood scale, many of which are especially predominant in low income areas. Finally, criteria for these green field types were developed to match the physical characteristics of the red field sites to green field types. The suitability study identified which sites were highly suitable for each green field type, as well as the potential distribution of green field types within the neighborhoods. Red fields are a moving target. Properties identified as red fields are subject to ownership changes and development. Though the rate of turnover may be slow during an economic recession, it is unlikely that the exact same set of red fields will be present in the future, when R2G-LA is implemented. Therefore, while the suitability study contained in Chapter 7 may not match the set of red fields that will be present in the future, a similar process can be used to help determine suitable solutions for red field sites in the same and other neighborhoods in Los Angeles, or in other cities. The suitability process gives

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an overview of the types of green fields that are suitable for the set of red fields present in a neighborhood, and their distribution. While this process may provide a starting point for decision makers, it does not necessarily provide information about the types of green fields that are most needed by a community. Therefore, a rigorous prioritization process involving community input and needs assessments should be undertaken.

Prioritization When R2G-LA is implemented, decision-makers may need a starting place to determine which red fields to acquire and transform first. Prioritization for R2G-LA is the process of identifying, through accepted practices for building community consensus, which projects will have the greatest benefit for the community.

Published Research Published research on community park needs can be a helpful starting place for determining the specific needs of a community. The Needs Assessment (City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks 2009) in Los Angeles ranked the need for different types of programming, such as walking trails, indoor fitness facilities, picnic areas, etc. (Table 9–1). Mini parks were defined as parks that are less than 1 acre, a category that the average red fields would fit into. Small neighborhood parks, which would include mini parks, received the second highest priority ranking City-wide. The current availability of mini parks was calculated to be 0.013 acres per 1,000 people. The recommended level of service, with consideration for the difficulty of acquiring additional parkland, was 0.10 acres per 1,000 people, or 7.7 times as much parkland as currently exists. Within the neighborhood study areas of this report, available park space was well below the recommended standards in all categories, and therefore all green field types were needed. This may be true for all of Los Angeles’ disadvantaged communities. However, during implementation, when a plan for neighborhood green field conversions is developed, the published research may provide an indication of the proportion of different green field types that would most benefit the community.

In order to determine the needs of different Los Angeles Other sources such as master plans, development Los AngelesThe Recreation and Parks(City Department communities, Needs Assessment of Los Angeles guidelines, and legislation can be utilized to ensure parks Department of Recreation and Parks 2009) used surveys meet social and environmental needs. For example, these Community-Wide Needs Assessment Summary Report which allowed residents to select their top need from a list publications may provide an indication of the amount rank for This an Outdoor Amphitheater significantly across the City;that Harbor and West ofThe parkprioritized and program types. information is useful in varied of land and the types of practices are needed to LA planning areas ranked as a high priority, a low priority in North Valley, and medium priority for theThis developing a broad understanding of the city’s recreational adequately treat stormwater within a neighborhood. remaining planning areas. Sports fields a low across all areas with exception ofthat needs. However, the Needs Assessment did nothad survey thepriority mayranking influence the proportion of redthe fields suitable to Youth Soccer Fields that were medium priority overall. respondents on critical environmental needs that may be type of programming that are prioritized for development. unfamiliar to the public such as water conservation and For example, Los Angeles is developing a Low Impact Adult Fitness and Wellness Programs and Special Events consistently rank in the high priority across all toxic mitigation. Therefore, it is recommended that future Development Ordinance (LA Stormwater) to suggest planning areas (Figure 1.8.1.b). Nature/Environmentalbest Programs too are a high priority in all planning management practices and guidelines which can surveys and assessments are broadened to encompass in quality the Central areas with the exception of South LA. Adult Sports Programs rank a high priority improve water as infiltration and water (Chau LA 2009). more types of green field solutions, such as constructed planninginarea medium priority for allwhat other areas. source of recommendations is the Water Quality wetlands, orderand to more accurately portray theplanningAnother Compliance Master Plan forSouth UrbanValley Runoffhas (2009), a 20 people want as welltoasnote to inform residents in of the all ofpriority their ranking It is interesting the disparity for Senior Programs. Senior strategyoptions. to reduceIn pollution from urban East runoffLA, in Los options whenasit low comes to possible amenities. Programs priority withpark a ranking of 19 out of 23year available contrast, Harbor, Angeles usingin green andpriorities. other means. North Valley, and South LA planning areas all have Senior Programs the infrastructure top six highest This

disparity could be attributed to the disproportional presence of certain age segments in those areas. Los Angeles Program Priority Rankings by Area

Overall Ranking Adult fitness & wellness programs Special events/festivals Nature/environmental programs Walking/biking groups Family programs Adult continuing education programs Adult art, dance, performing arts Youth swim programs Water fitness programs Senior programs Adult swim programs Adult sports programs Outdoor adventure programs Youth sports programs Youth fitness & wellness programs Martial arts programs Before & after school programs Youth art, dance, performing arts Youth summer camp programs Pre-school programs Golf programs Programs for people with disabilities Gymnastics & tumbling programs

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Ranking: Ranking: South Ranking: Ranking: Ranking: North Valley Harbour East LA Central Valley 1 2 3 8 4 5 7 6 15 19 12 9 10 13 14 17 11 18 16 20 21 23 22

1 2 3 5 8 11 7 9 6 4 13 10 12 14 16 18 20 17 15 22 19 21 23

1 2 3 9 13 10 4 8 7 6 5 12 11 14 18 16 15 19 17 20 21 22 23

3 1 4 5 6 2 11 8 15 10 9 7 12 14 16 13 21 17 19 20 18 23 22

1 3 5 9 2 6 11 7 8 4 15 10 13 12 20 21 14 19 16 18 17 22 23

Ranking: Ranking: West LA South LA 1 4 3 2 11 7 5 10 8 13 6 9 18 16 19 12 20 17 14 21 15 23 22

1 4 13 8 3 9 15 2 6 5 7 10 17 11 18 19 12 16 20 14 22 21 23

Table 9–1.  Program priority rankings (City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks 2009)

Figure 1.8.1.b

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Community Input Direct community input is an important source of information that can be used to guide decisions about development priorities. As mentioned in the discussion of needs assessments, the community can provide information about the types of uses that are most important to them. Needs assessments in a neighborhood targeted by R2G-LA for green field creation would provide more specific information about desired programming. Furthermore, community input could be a valuable source of information about particular red fields that are most in need of transformation. This could be due to observed public safety risks, perceived devaluation of neighborhood property values, sources of disruption in the community, etc. It could also gauge the community’s perception of properties that would have the most profound impact on the community, due to accessibility, visibility, or proximity to other uses. In addition, community support and buy-in is important for the success and acceptance of green fields by the community. During the design phase, participatory design strategies can be used to engage the community in programming decisions. Community forums or focus groups may be useful tools for participatory design. Some of the green field solutions developed in this document are outside common ideas of what parks can be, and community members may not realize that these types of park solutions are possible, or understand their importance as part of a green space network. Therefore,

the facilitators of community outreach events can take suggestions from the community while also educating the public about the benefits of various green field solutions.

Neighborhood Master Planning Neighborhood master planning is a tool to plan for the proper distribution of green field types within a neighborhood. At this stage, suitability studies can be combined with prioritization studies such as needs assessments. In this way, a neighborhood plan can be developed that would ensure that the distribution of green field types would take into account other nearby green fields, so that a balance of various facilities within the neighborhood is achieved. Without this process, over-building certain prioritized programming (e.g. active recreation uses) at sites in close proximity to each other might result in under-utilized green fields and wasted money. Overall, green fields should function as a network of neighborhood parks by which the needs of a community are met through diverse programming at different sites. This planning process is especially recommended in the case of converting many red fields to green fields at once within a neighborhood. Careful planning, organizing and consideration of community needs are essential to the development of a strategic green field network. Furthermore, neighborhood master planning can facilitate coordination with other community projects and existing efforts.

Figure 9–1.  R2G-LA tour of Westlake with local planner Enrique Velasquez (center) and steering committee members

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9.2 Phases of Development There are several steps that can be foreseen during the implementation phase of R2G-LA: • • • • •

Acquisition Stabilization Site Design Construction Operation

Acquisition Once red fields have been prioritized for development, the next step is acquisition. Acquisition can include: •

Purchasing vacant properties, abandoned buildings, brownfields

Establishing private easements on publicly owned lands such as rail road and utility easements

Negotiating long term ground leases on City-owned parcels

Investigating governance models including public-private partnerships

Stabilization Following acquisition, the next step is to stabilize nuisance properties that pose a public safety risk. This may include demolishing existing buildings and cleaning up vacant lots. In the case of brown fields, some remediation may be necessary before green field development may begin. This could include soil removal or on-site treatments such as solarization or phytoremediation. Extra steps such as fencing, lighting, graffiti removal, and other cues to care (Nassauer 1995) could have an immediate impact on the perceived value of the site and the neighborhood.

Additional uses such as temporary public art, community events, temporary gardening, or seeding with wildflowers or native vegetation, would add additional value and should be considered.

Site Design A detailed green field plan that is specific to the site needs to be developed before construction can begin. Landscape architects should be involved in this process, in order to create more successful green fields. Despite good intentions, poor design can lead to parks that require repair, are expensive to maintain, endanger public safety, or go unused. The prioritization process discussed in Chapter 9.1 may provide general programming or green field types for a site. However, more intensive programming is needed in the design stage to determine the particular elements to be included. This may involve additional community input as well as expert input from qualified designers and park managers. Inventory, analysis, and synthesis at the site scale are also necessary for site design. Chapter 8 provides an example of this type of work. At this stage, additional work by the designers would include preparation of construction drawings, oversight of construction, and maintenance recommendations.

Construction Once the above stages are complete, the work of physically transforming red fields to green fields may begin. Qualified contractors or engineers should manage this phase, whether they be City employees or local companies through private-public partnerships. This phase plays an important role in improving the economy of Los Angeles, in that construction creates jobs for local citizens. Improving the economy of this sector of work can have a ripple effect that bolsters other related industries. Goods and services purchased by paid workers increase cash flows for local businesses. This is integral to

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the concept of Red Fields to Green Fields, which is based on turning frozen assets in the form of red fields into real value for the community. To keep with the objectives of R2G-LA, construction should be conducted in a manner that is sensitive to ecological and social concerns: minimizing erosion, pollution, and disruptions to the community.

Operation The work of improving Los Angeles neighborhoods does not end once green fields have been created. Regardless of the design, green fields will require maintenance to ensure that they continue to add value to the community. Any property that is under-maintained is in danger of

returning to red field status, detracting from surrounding property values and the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood. Furthermore, parks must be well programmed and staffed as needed to deter unwanted or criminal activity. Therefore, care must be taken to manage green fields adequately. Ongoing programming, such as outdoor education, recreation, farmers’ markets, community gardening, craft fairs, and other events will ensure that green fields are integrated into the lives of residents and become valued pieces of the community fabric. Nonetheless, maintenance costs money. Provisions for maintenance should be built into the cost of R2GLA. Additionally, local sources of revenue can potentially be used for operations, maintenance and programming. Collaborations with non profits, school districts, and park agencies, may provide opportunities for savings.

Figure 9–2.  R2G-LA helps the economy by creating employment opportunities in park design and construction.

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9.3 Design Considerations The design of each green field presents a unique opportunity to create a network of neighborhood parks that improves urban environmental conditions, increases access to recreation and open space, enhances food security, and strengthens community connections. Moreover, certain design considerations should be included in each green field design to the extent that is possible and feasible. The following is a list of some of these considerations.

Figure 9–3.  R2G-LA provides opportunities for residents to connect to nature and improves the overall environmental health of the City.

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Multifunctionality •

Green fields should incorporate multiple uses as suggested by the local community to increase the range of users that may be served.

Green fields should provide ecological services such as sustainable stormwater management practices and air quality improvement. These services may include the use of drought tolerant plants, bioswales, and increased tree canopy cover.

Safety •

Green field designs should conform to local codes that protect public safety.

Designing for “eyes on the street” (Jacobs 1961) or “eyes on green fields” creates safer conditions for users.

Green fields should create safer neighborhoods by incorporating safety features such as night lighting, night-time fencing where necessary, and security staff where appropriate and funding strategies are in place.

Planting design and placement of elements within a green field can be designed to reduce risks of crime. Suggested plant heights of no more than two feet tall and tree skirts (the distance between the ground and the lowest tree branches) of seven feet are recommended for sight lines that don’t obstruct views nor provide a place for people to hide.

Accessibility •

In order to achieve the goal of increasing available park space in Los Angeles, green field designs should incorporate accessibility for all users, including those with disabilities.

Context •

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Green fields should connect to their surrounding context and utilize aesthetic choices that complement or augment the neighborhood.

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The culture and history of a community should influence green field design.

Opportunities to incorporate existing conditions and structures into green field designs should be considered where appropriate.

Streets •

Street connections should be enhanced, and green fields should be seen as an opportunity for other projects to improve street conditions on nearby streets.

Street improvements including green infrastructure can connect green fields to major thoroughfares, enhancing their appeal and their contribution to the green infrastructure of the city.

Green fields may be opportunities to treat runoff from adjacent streets using BMPs.

Alternative Transportation Network •

Green fields should support alternative transportation such as rail, buses, bicycles and walking, which are beneficial for the public and environmental health of the city.

Bicycle racks and other bicycle facilities should be incorporated into green field designs where suitable.

Walking paths with suitable paving materials, shade, benches, water fountains, and other amenities that support walking and passive recreation should be implemented.

Sustainable Materials •

Green fields should contribute to the sustainability of the City in their design as well as their function, by using materials that have lower embedded energy costs.

Locally sourced materials should be used where possible.

Biodegradable and recycle-able materials can also be incorporated where feasible.

Green fields should be designed to reduce maintenance by reducing waste and laborintensive features.

Green fields will function best if they improve inter-agency coordination, especially in maintenance and ongoing programming such as gardening, art, and education.

Plant materials should be chosen to be climateappropriate so that less irrigation is required, and plants should be spaced appropriately to reduce the need for pruning, future removal, or additional planting.

Coordination and collaboration between community redevelopment agencies and community development corporations will address open space needs of the low-income communities they serve.

Collaboration with schools and other institutions can open up schoolyards and facilities and thereby provide additional green space for the community.

Maintenance Reduction •

Collaboration

Figure 9–4.  Collaboration is an important component of park design and development (photo: Tom Zasadzinski).

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9.4 Green Initiatives There is significant political momentum to increase Los Angeles’ sustainability and enhance the quality of life for residents. In fact, one of the mayor’s initiatives is to make Los Angeles one of the greenest big cities in America (Villaraigosa 2007). Several goals by the mayor’s office have been established to make the city more green including opening thirty-five new or expanded parks, increasing the City’s recycling, and establishing a plan to fight global warming (Krimmel 2007). In addition there are numerous organizations committed to making Los Angeles green, including: Green LA, The Trust for Public Land, TreePeople, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Northeast Trees, and People for Park’s to name a few. Furthermore, local universities have set up programs that focus on addressing the City’s environmental and social issues such as the University of Southern California’s Green Vision Plan, Occidental College’s Urban and Environmental Policy Institute and Cal Poly Pomona’s 606 Studio. A number of current and proposed projects in Los Angeles also focus on converting underutilized spaces and public rights of way to parks and greenways. These projects, which include revitalizing the Los Angeles River, are potential examples of red fields to green fields in action. The Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan

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(LARRMP) is one of Los Angeles’ most ambitious greening projects, put forth by the City’s Ad Hoc River Committee (LARRMP 2007). The Los Angeles River currently has little public access and is primarily a concrete channel with few areas that support ecological systems. The plan is to transform the 32 miles of the LA river that flow through the City of Los Angeles–creating parks and greenways along the banks, increasing public access to the river, and restoring ecological function and riparian habitat where possible (LARRMP 2007). Several parcels along the river have been identified for park development. They include Albion Dairy, and Mission Rail Yards. Each of these sites is considered underutilized, and through R2G funding could become actualized park projects that would benefit local communities, regional populations, and the environment. More information about some of these projects can be found in Appendix A. There are a number of other important greening plans and guidelines that have been established by the City. Recently, the 2010 Bicycle Master Plan for Los Angeles was approved, which would expand bike lanes throughout the city. The city began holding CicLAvia events in which certain streets are closed to cars and open to bicyclists and pedestrians. In addition, the City has established green street and low impact development guidelines which aim to improve the region’s water and environmental quality.

Figure 9–5.  CicLAvia is a Citywide event that promotes social and environmental health by opening streets to bicyclists and pedestrians.

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10 Conclusion

R2G-LA has the potential to vastly improve the quality of life in the City of Los Angeles. In many communities there is a significant lack of park space, especially in the most impoverished neighborhoods. The City has numerous foreclosed properties and abandoned parcels that are not contributing to the City’s economic recovery. R2G-LA could solve both these problems. R2G-LA would transform over 2,000 distressed commercial properties and vacant lots in Los Angeles’ most park-poor and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods into vibrant parks and open space. A variety of green field solutions are available to create a network of neighborhood parks that address the City’s issues. The cumulative impact of this City-wide transformation would provide far-reaching improvements to Los Angeles’ human and ecological health. Implementation of R2G-LA would result in social, economic, and environmental benefits for the City’s residents.

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10.1 Extrapolation Using the results of inventory, analysis and design within neighborhood study areas as a foundation, it is possible to estimate the number and acreage of green fields that could be created throughout the entire disadvantaged area of the City of Los Angeles. These numbers demonstrate how appropriate design and transformation of red fields to green fields in neighborhoods throughout the City can add up to significant amounts of open space.

Calculations Red field inventories that were collected from the neighborhood study areas via ground-truthing and aerial photography analysis (see Chapter 5.2) were averaged and extrapolated to the rest of the area of need (see Chapter 4.4). Because the neighborhoods were selected to represent a variety of land development patterns (typologies) commonly found in the area of need, they were able to serve as proxies for other parts in the area of need that had not been ground-truthed. The combined area of the three neighborhoods was eight square miles. A total of 138 red fields were identified within those neighborhoods (see Chapter 5.2). Therefore, within the neighborhoods there was an average distribution of 17.25 red fields per square mile. Using the eight square miles of neighborhoods as a representative sample of the area of need, one would then expect to find roughly 17.25 red fields per square mile throughout the area of need. The eight square miles of neighborhoods studied covers 6.3% of the 126 square mile in the area of need. At a distribution of 17.25 red fields per square mile, the 126 square mile of the area of need would contain 2,174 red fields. Since the red fields studied were 0.5 acres in size on average (see Chapter 5.2), one would expect to find 1,087 acres of red fields in the area of need. The

existing park acreage in the area of need is 2286 acres. Assuming that all red fields are converted to green fields under R2G-LA, adding the area of extrapolated red fields to existing park space would add 48% more park space in disadvantaged communities of Los Angeles. The entire City of Los Angeles has a total of 874 acres of mini parks (0-1acre) and neighborhood parks (1-10 acres). Green fields would more than double the City’s small neighborhood parks. For comparison, Los Angles’ Elysian Park is 600 acres, New York’s Central Park is 840 acres, Boston’s Emerald Necklace Park System is 1000 acres, and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is 1013 acres (see Figure 10–2). Currently there are 0.19 acres of park per thousand people in disadvantaged areas, and green fields would increase this to 1.3 acres per thousand. This is still less than other neighborhoods in Los Angeles such as Westwood, just west of Beverly Hills, which has 1.47 acres of parkland per thousand people and 70.4 total park acres. However, by creating myriad small green fields throughout disadvantaged areas, access to parks can be vastly improved (Figures 10-3 to 10-8). This type of neighborhood-scale transformation may have an even more profound effect on people’s lives than creating singular large parks, or fewer parks with greater acreage. The above calculations target the types of red fields that were identified through ground-truthing. Other project types may receive funding through R2G-LA as well, including those that focus on rights of way such as the Los Angeles River project and street improvements. These projects would add significantly to the amount of green space created in disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles. See Appendix A & B for a list of projects contributed by partner organizations that could be included in R2G-LA.

(total number of red fields) ÷ (total neighborhood area) × (area of need) = estimated number of red fields (estimated number of red fields) × (average red field size) = estimated acreage of red fields Figure 10–1.  Equations used to estimate the amount of red fields that could become green fields in the area of need identified in Chapter 4.4

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Cumulative Green Fields Area Los Angeles 1,087 acres Cumulative Green Fields Area Los Angeles 1,087 acres

Elysian Park Los Angeles 600 acres Elysian Park Los Angeles

Central Park New York 870 acres Central Park New York

Emerald Necklace Boston 1,000Necklace acres Emerald Boston

Figure 10–2.  Cumulative green field area 870 compared to other large urban parks in the United 600 1,000 acres acres acresStates

Count Existing Small Parks (0-10 acres) in Los Angeles Green Fields in the Area of Need Total

Golden Gate Park San Francisco 1,013Gate acresPark Golden San Francisco 1,013 acres

Acres

Acres per 1,000 people

874

Existing Parks

2286

0.76

2,174

Green Fields

1087

3,048

Existing Parks+Green Fields

3293

1.3

Table 10–3.  Number of parks and potential green fields in Los Angeles

Table 10–4.  Acres of parks per thousand people in Los Angeles

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Figure 10–5.  Lincoln Heights park accessibility

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The three study neighborhoods of Westlake, Lincoln Heights, and Florence were chosen in part because they are under-served by parks. Figures 10-3 to 10-5 show the distribution of parks and red fields in these neighborhoods. The quarter mile buffer that surrounds each park is an approximation of areas that are within a walkable distance from parks. Thus, residents who live within this buffer have relatively easy access to park space. This measure is an approximation because it does not account for complex walking routes imposed by street configurations and barriers to access. For example, parts of Westlake are shown to be within the quarter mile buffer from Echo Park, which is located on the other side of the Hollywood Freeway and has limited access from within the neighborhood. Parts of Lincoln Heights are shown to be within accessible distance to Elysian Park. This is inaccurate because the Los Angeles River channel presents a barrier to access from Lincoln Heights throughout most parts of this buffer area. These maps demonstrate that most parts of the study neighborhoods are outside of a walkable distance to parks. Small red fields throughout the underserved areas of these neighborhoods have the potential to fill in park accessibility gaps.

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Figure 10–4.  Florence park accessibility

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Figure 10–7.  Lincoln Heights park and green field accessibility

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Figure 10–8.  Florence park and green field accessibility

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10.2 Benefits The cumulative impact of converting red fields to green fields is anticipated to be transformative for Los Angeles in multiple ways. First, green fields will be created in areas that are most in need of park space. In total, an estimated 1,087 acres of park space and 2,174 small parks could be created in disadvantaged communities of Los Angeles by converting small underutilized properties into green fields. This will increase the park space by 48% within the area of need. Implementing R2G-LA will dramatically improve the quality of life and health of the City’s residents by increasing access to recreation, alternative transportation, and healthy food options. In addition, numerous environmental services will be provided by green fields, such as improving water quality, reducing heat island effect, improving air quality, and increasing native vegetation. These improvements to social and environmental health will have direct economic benefits as well as increasing neighborhood property values and stimulating the economy of the City.

Social Health The net result of creating nearly 1,100 acres of green fields and myriad green connections throughout the city could have a profound effect on the quality of life for Angelenos. Green fields can build community, provide healthy food options, reinforce public and alternative transportation systems, and make space for respite and reflection amid the urban environment.

Increased Park Equality Green fields will increase park equality, thereby creating many social benefits for residents. Green fields will benefit physical and mental health, as residents will have greater access to recreational opportunities. Any amount of access to parks, even if only a limited view of trees or grass, has been shown to have an impact on the stresses and fatigue that are associated with living in an urban environment (Kuo 2001). People are more likely to exercise when they have access to parks (Gies 2006). In addition, park programming

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can provide exercise opportunities through trails and sports facilities like the multi-use field in the Arroyo Seco Park design example and the basketball court in the Florence design example (see Chapter 8). People who engage in regular physical activity have a reduced risk of premature death; reduced risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and non-insulindependent diabetes; improved muscle strength, joint structure, and joint function; reduced body weight; and healthier cardiovascular, respiratory, and endocrine systems (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 1996). Furthermore, community ties are stronger when green space is present (Kuo 1998), and these ties enable a neighborhood to create a social network that provides support and safety (Witt and Crompton 1996). Additionally, green fields can provide a venue for play which assists in children’s physical and social development (Packer and Quinsenberry 2002, Moore, Goltsman and Iacofano 1987). Studies have shown that when children are able to play, social development is easier later in life (Association for Childhood Education International, Praag 1999). Physical activity has been shown to positively influence alertness, grades, and behavior, as well as brain development and capacity for learning (Louv 2005, Cole-Hamilton et al. 2002 and Praag 1999). The Trust for Public Land (1994) found that school kids’ grades improved in Florida when recreation centers were built in low-income neighborhoods. Green fields can create special places where children can witness and learn from nature first hand, opportunities that are often difficult to find in the urban environment. Physical benefits of children playing in nature include improved balance, coordination, and blood pressure (Louv 2005, Cole-Hamilton, Harrop and Street 2002). Studies have shown that children who play outdoors are more likely to engage in physical activity when older, which can help prevent obesity, alleviate stress and depression, and decrease risk-taking behaviors such as drug use (Louv 2005, Cole-Hamilton et al. 2002). Parks and green space settings are especially important for childhood development. Outdoor play is necessary for children to learn about nature, the larger world, and

the connection of people to place (Stephens 2007, Louv 2005). Furthermore, children’s abilities to deal with stress, manage risks, and interact socially without conflict are increased when they play in nature (Louv 2005, ColeHamilton et al. 2002). Activities in park settings have been shown to improve the ability of children with ADD to concentrate (Taylor 2001).

Alternative Transportation Creating over 2,174 new parks in the City has the potential to increase walkability in neighborhoods and promote alternative forms of transportation. Green field destinations within walking distance of peoples’ homes will foster a more walking-friendly urban environment and encourage people to walk more. Walking has a positive impact on people’s health (Morris, Hardmen 1997). The green infrastructure that these parks add enhances the pedestrian experience for people walking on adjacent streets. Green field designs such as Lincoln Heights’ Arroyo Seco Park and Westlake’s Poplar Plaza (see Chapter 8) enhance the experience of waiting for the bus by providing seating opportunities and shade, creating more pleasant areas to wait. Furthermore, green fields can contribute to creating a more bike-friendly city by including bicycle access and paths (such as at the Arroyo Seco Park site), and by providing bicycle racks.

Increased Food Options Urban agriculture green field solutions, such as the community garden in the Lincoln Heights Local example design (see Chapter 8), will increase access to healthy food options. In addition, community gardens stimulate positive social interactions between people in a neighborhood (Sherer 2006). Increasing access to healthy food options can result in improved public health. Studies show that a change in diet to include more fruits and vegetables and fewer high calorie processed foods could prevent as many as 35% of the annual deaths attributed to cancer (Los Angeles County Public Health Services 2004). Healthy diets promoted by urban agriculture also reduce the risk of health complications due to obesity (Gies 2006).

Environmental Health Dramatically increasing the amount of green space throughout the City will have numerous environmental benefits. The addition of green fields, especially those

focused on ecological solutions such as stormwater treatment and native vegetation, will improve the City’s environmental conditions for residents and enhance the sustainability of the City’s environmental support systems. Green fields may also provide wildlife habitat for small mammals, reptiles, and insects. By incorporating design considerations of R2G-LA such as using sustainable materials and practices (see Chapter 9) numerous green fields will feature environmental benefits even if that is not their primary programming.

Improved Water Quality and Infiltration The benefits to the hydrologic system in Los Angeles may be significant. Increased permeable surfaces and low impact development practices such as collecting water in bioswales (such as in the Lincoln Heights Local and Arroyo Seco Park design examples) and detention basins will improve water quality and groundwater infiltration and recharge (Davis 2005). In addition, vegetation is important for removing pollutants from runoff, and improving the quality of stormwater before it reaches waterways (Davis 2005). Although currently only 11% of the City’s water supply comes from groundwater, a number of factors put the City’s water supply at risk (Villaraigosa 2008). More water may need to be drawn from the groundwater supply as the population increases, climate changes, and more distant sources become unavailable (Villariagosa 2008). Capturing and infiltrating the first ¾” of rainfall throughout the region could triple the amount of water that percolates to groundwater basins each year (Chau 2009), and for every 5% of tree cover added to a community, stormwater runoff is reduced by approximately 2% (Coder 1996). Numerous best management practices (BMP’s) are available for implementation in parks and public spaces, which are directed at managing runoff and improving water quality (Davis 2005). A study done by Community Conservancy International (2008) found that nearly 40% of Los Angeles County’s needs for cleaning polluted runoff could be met by implementing low impact development projects on existing public lands. Implementing these strategies on green fields in addition to existing parks could meet even more of the County’s need.

Reduced Heat Island Effect Creating green fields throughout the City will improve the climate by reducing the heat island effect. Increasing tree canopy cover, shading pavement and converting Conclusion

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heat absorbent concrete and asphalt into vegetated areas will reduce the City’s heat island effect by providing shade, cooling the air through evapotranspiration, and by reducing the amount of heat absorbed by those surfaces (United States Environmental Protection Agency 2009, Huang, Akbari and Taha 1990). The introduction of green fields to the City of Los Angeles has the potential of decreasing summer temperatures (Bretz, Akbari and Huang 1994). Cooler temperatures lead to less energy consumed for the purpose of air conditioning. Reduction in energy consumption for cooling also combats global climate change by reducing fossil fuel combustion for energy production. Therefore, increasing vegetation in the urban environment is a very effective way to have a positive impact on the climate.

Improved Air Quality The conversion of red fields to green fields will help improve air quality and reduce green house gases by increasing vegetation and reducing or shading paved surfaces. Trees and other plants improve air quality by producing oxygen and absorbing pollutants (Nowak, Crane 2006). Air pollutants such as particulate matter, ozone, sulfur dioxide, sulfates, carbon monoxide, and lead cause respiratory damage and cardiac problems, the effects ranging from fatigue to death (California EPA Air Resources Board 2009, SCAQMD 2008). Because the transportation sector in California is responsible for the greatest fossil fuel consumption and highest levels of air pollution compared to other sectors (California EPA Air Resources Board 2010, SCAQMD 2008), green fields can improve air quality by accommodating and enhancing forms of transportation alternative to the automobile. Green fields can support alternative transportation by including bicycling amenities, improving the pedestrian experience, and enhancing metro stations and bus stops. The Poplar Plaza site design is a good example of both of these pollution reducing strategies because the plaza has many large trees and also enhances the bus stops along its sides by providing ample seating space and shade (see Chapter 8). Vegetative growth in parks and other green infrastructure helps counteract global warming by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it as woody tissue and soil organic matter (Billups 2001). In addition to sequestering carbon, vegetation and trees reduce fossil fuel consumption by reducing cooling demands (Nowak 1993, Nowak and McPherson 1993, Meier 1991, Rowntree and Nowak 1991, McPherson 1990, Oke 1989, Heisler 1986 and Smith 1981). According to

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Akbari (2002 p. S119), “Each shade tree in Los Angeles prevents the combustion of 18kg of carbon annually and sequesters an additional 4.5–11kg of carbon per year.” Global warming is expected to threaten human health with more frequent and more intense heat waves and increased prevalence of infectious diseases (National Assessment Synthesis Team 2000, Patz 2000, Epstien 2000 and Patz 2000). Current measured environmental impacts of global warming include ice melting, especially at the poles, decline in arctic species populations, increase in sea level rise, increase in precipitation, and outbreaks of certain pest insect species (National Geographic 2011).

Connections to Native Vegetation R2G-LA will also improve ecological systems by expanding areas of native vegetation. Increasing native vegetation through green fields has many benefits. Native vegetation enhances sense of place and people’s connection to environmental systems (Keator 2007). This is essential to ensuring that the vision and objectives of R2G-LA are carried forward by future generations of Los Angeles residents. Green fields will provide access to native plant communities so that people can observe and learn from natural systems, such as in the learning garden in the Arroyo Seco Park design example (see Chapter 8). In addition, native plants are inherently adapted to the climatic conditions of the area. Because they are adapted to the hot, dry summers and wet winters of Los Angeles, they require less water, and may therefore be more affordable to maintain (Theodore Payne Foundation 2009, Keator 2007). In fact, according to Keator (2007, p.1), “Using plants well adapted to the site translates into low garden maintenance: less watering, fertilizing, and few or no soil amendments.” Native vegetation offers diversity and aesthetic beauty as well as some of the best foundation shrubs and trees, most appealing foliage plants, and longest blooming flowers (Theodore Payne Foundation 2009, Keator 2007). Native vegetation also attracts native animal species such as butterflies and hummingbirds, that enhance the user’s experience of nature. Although the main reason for providing native vegetation in green fields is to connect people to the natural environment and create a sense of place, providing habitat for native species can also be an important function of parks and green space. Urban development displaces native species of plants and animals, many of which have become endangered (Murphy 1988). In Southern California, whole ecosystems are now marginalized and

endangered that once thrived in the lowlands, riparian corridors and coastlines where cities have developed (Haslam 1990). According to the field of landscape ecology, patches and corridors in the urban matrix, such as parks and greenbelts, can play an important role in providing habitat connectivity, thereby increasing the chances of survival for native species (Snep, Opdam, Baveco, WallisDeVries, Timmermans, Kwak, and Kuypers 2006).

Economic Health The transformation of red fields to green fields throughout the City of Los Angeles can have positive economic impacts. Blight in the form of vacant lots and run-down buildings can be transformed into thriving community spaces, resulting in an increase in adjacent property values. Jobs will be created building green fields and green infrastructure, in design, construction, operation, and maintenance. The creation of spaces for exchange within communities, as well as creating more access and connections to revitalized commercial corridors, will increase cash flow to local businesses. Green fields such as community plazas and farmers’ markets will also create entrepreneurial opportunities for local artisans and producers that might not otherwise be available. Green fields will improve the appeal of neighborhoods to outsiders as well, and increased traffic from tourists and visitors will bolster neighborhood businesses. Furthermore, a more secure local food system will increase the stability of local economies. Finally, the environmental services performed by green fields and green infrastructure can reduce costs for the City by helping to ensure that water and air quality standards are met. The environmental services performed by green fields will also have economic benefits for residents themselves. For example, reducing the heat island effect can reduce electricity bills for residents by lowering air conditioning needs. Furthermore, contributing to a more stable local water supply for Los Angeles may reduce or stabilize water bills in the future by reducing the need for water importation. Economic stimulus is one of the foundations of the Red Fields to Green Fields idea. By acquiring red field parcels for conversion to green fields, undesirable assets will be taken off the hands of banks and other land owners. Foreclosures have led to bank-owned properties that have depreciated value and are difficult to sell, thereby tying up capital that could otherwise be loaned out. Therefore, buying these properties for park conversion will inject the

economy with much-needed capital that will enable banks and other property owners to reinvest in other sectors, causing a ripple effect to occur. The estimated budget for Los Angeles by our Georgia Tech partners, based on a per capita calculation of R2G potential, is in the range of $3-9 billion dollars. The basic economic principle of R2G is two-fold. Not only will converting red fields to green fields improve the economy through direct economic stimulus, but it will also result in an increase in property values due to neighborhood improvements. It is well documented that housing prices increase when located near parks (Crompton 2000). That translates into economic stimulus, as the value of real estate inflates. Increased realestate values also mean that property owners pay higher property taxes. This means revenue for the city, which could potentially offset the cost of park creation.

Indirect economic benefits There are also many indirect economic benefits of R2GLA. Economic benefits are of course linked to social and environmental benefits. Several sources have quantified the monetary benefits associated with trees. Previous studies have shown that the cost savings of trees outweighed the cost of maintenance. For every dollar invested in trees in five cities, $1.50- to $3.00 was accrued in benefits (McPherson, Simpson, Peper, and Xiao 2005). The cities spent $15 to $65 annually for each tree, but the benefit per year was in the range of $30 to $90 (McPherson et al., 2005). In addition, the U.S. Forest Service studied the benefits of trees over their life span and found that one tree can produce $31,250 worth of oxygen, $62,000 worth of air pollution control, and $31,250 worth of soil stabilization (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service). Water management savings also contributed a value of $37,500 per tree. Increasing tree canopy cover throughout the City of Los Angeles also has the potential to reduce summer air conditioning costs. In a study done on the impacts of the Los Angeles’ One Million Trees initiative, it was found that planting one million trees would reduce electricity consumption caused by air conditioning by 917,000MWh, with a cost savings between $76 and $117 million over a 35 year period (McPherson et al., 2011). Furthermore, healthcare costs related to diet and exercise can be reduced by increased access to green

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field recreation and food production opportunities. For example, obesity is a serious public health issue in the United States, with associated medical costs of over $100 billion, and 300,000 premature deaths per year attributed to it (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2001, Allison, Fontaine, Manson, Stevens, and VanItallie 1999). Studies show that a change in diet to include more fruits and vegetables and fewer high calorie processed foods could significantly reduce healthcare costs and prevent as many as 35% of the annual deaths attributed

to cancer (Los Angeles County Public Health Services 2004). In addition, according to one study, adults who exercised two or more times per week over two years incurred $1,252 less in health care costs in the second year than those who exercised less than once a week (Reid 2011). In fact, according to Marco Pahor, M.D., director of the University of Florida Institute on Aging, structured exercise and physical activity programs should be covered by insurance as a way to promote health and reduce health care costs (Reid 2011).

Figure 10–9.  The High Line in New York City transformed a derelict railway into a popular and iconic park.

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Conclusion R2G-LA has the potential to vastly improve the quality of life in the City of Los Angeles. Currently, there is a significant lack of accessible park space in many of the City’s communities, especially in the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Within these neighborhoods there are numerous foreclosed, for-sale, and abandoned properties that contribute to urban blight. R2G-LA could increase accessible park space and improve real estate conditions at once by converting these red fields into green fields. R2G-LA would transform over 2,000 distressed commercial properties and vacant lots in Los Angeles’ most park-poor and economically

disadvantaged communities into vibrant parks, plazas and open spaces. A variety of green field solutions applied across a network of neighborhood parks can address many of the City’s issues and provide park access where it is needed most. The cumulative impact of this City-wide transformation would provide far-reaching improvements to Los Angeles’ environmental, economic, and social health. With the implementation of Red Fields to Green Fields, Los Angeles can become a more beautiful, more walkable, and more equitable city, with healthier people, healthier communities, and a healthier environment.

Figure 10–10.  Green fields will improve Los Angeles’ social, environmental and economic health.

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Lipkis, Andy. 2007. “TreePeople Advocates for Practical and Holistic Solutions to Los Angeles’ Environmental Crisis” Interviewed by VerdeXchange News. VerdeXchange News 1(3). June 30, 2007. Los Angeles, CA. Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council (LASGRWC). 2010. Water Augmentation Study: Research, Strategy, and Implementation Report. Los Angeles: Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council. Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. 2010. L.A. Health at a Glance. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Public Health. October, 2010. Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning. 2009. Land Use & Zoning. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning. Los Angeles County Development Corporation.  2011.  “Los Angeles County Strategic Plan for Economic Development.” http://www.laedc.org/ Los Angeles County Development Corporation http://www.lacountystrategicplan.com/ Accessed April 8, 2011. Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). 2009. The City of Los Angeles Transportation Profile. Los Angeles: The Public Information Office of the Department of Transportation. Los Angeles Parks Foundation. 2011. “Enhance Preserve Expand Parks for the People of Los Angeles” www.laparsfoundation.org Los Angeles Parks Foundation. http://www.laparksfoundation.org/EN/ Accessed April 2, 2011. Los Angeles Times.  2011. “Mapping L.A. Neighborhoods”. www.latimes.com Los Angeles Times. http://projects.latimes.com/mapping-la/neighborhoods/ Accessed April 4, 2011. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Human Resources Division. 2004. “Relocating to Los Angeles” www.teachinla.com Why Teach in Los Angeles. http://www.teachinla.com/whyteach/relocating.html Accessed April 22, 2011 Lewis, Judith.  2006.  “The Lost Streams of Los Angeles: Uncovering Our Wet and Wild Past: Is it Safe, or Even Possible, to Let the Water Flow Again?” www.laweekly.com.  LA Weekly News.  Wednesday, Nov 8 2006.  http://www. laweekly.com/2006-11-09/news/the-lost-streams-of-los-angeles/.  Accessed on April 22, 2011. Lewyn, Michael.  2008.  “Why Pedestrian-Friendly Street Design Is Not Negelegent”.  University of Louisville Law Review, 47:339.  Winter, 2008. n.p. Louv, Richard. 2005. Last Child in the Woods, Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Lutzenhiser, M. and N. Netusil. “The Effect of Open Space on a Home’s Sale Price.”  Contemporary Economic Policy 19(3). July 2001. pp.291–298, Lyle, John Tillman. 1999. Design for Human Ecosystems. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. McConnell, Virginia and Margaret Walls.  2005.  “The Value of Open Space: Evidence from Studies of Nonmarket Benefits.” http://www.rff.org/rff/News/Features/Value-of-Open-Space.cfm from Resources for the Future. www.rff.org. Accessed April 22, 2010. McHarg, Ian L. 1995. Design with Nature. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons. McNichol, Dan. 2006. The Roads That Built America: The Incredible Story of the U.S. Interstate Freeway System. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. McPherson, G.E.,  J. R. Simpson, Q. Xiao, and C. Wu.  2011. “Million Trees Los Angeles Canopy Cover and Benefit Assessment.” Landscape and Urban Planning 99(1). January 30, 2011. pp. 40-50

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List of Figures Figure i–1.  Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles (R2G-LA) seeks to transform park-poor and economically disadvantaged communities throughout Los Angeles by converting underutilized urban sites (red fields) into parks and public spaces (green fields). iv Figure 1–1.  The vision of R2G is to transform underutilized properties (top) into parks (bottom). 3 Figure 2–1.  Vacant commercial property in Los Angeles 6 Figure 2–2.  Central Park, in New York, was an inspiration for Red Fields to Green Fields. 7 Figure 2–3.  Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA; parks provide space for recreation. 8 Figure 2–4.  Parks provide habitat. 9 Figure 2–5.  Hudson River Greenway, New York City; exercise is important for physical health. 11 Figure 2–6.  Rio de Los Angeles State Park, Los Angeles; parks contribute to social and environmental health. 12 Figure 2–7.  El Pueblo, Los Angeles; parks strengthen communities. 13 Figure 2–8.  First round of Red Fields to Green Fields case studies 14 Figure 2–9.  Image from Atlanta case study 15 Figure 2–10.  Image from Denver case study 15 Figure 2–11.  Image from Miami-Dade case study 16 Figure 2–12.  Image from Cleveland case study 16 Figure 2–13.  Image from Philadelphia case study 17 Figure 2–14.  Image from Wilmington case study 17 Figure 3–1.  Scales of investigation 20 Figure 3–2.  R2G-LA method diagram 22 Figure 4–1.  Map of Los Angeles (adapted from ESRI 2004 and Google 2011) 27 Figure 4–2.  California’s unemployment rate has risen over the past decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011) 28 Figure 4–3.  Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents (Trust for Public Land - City Park Facts 2010) Total park acres includes city, county, metro, state, and federal acres within the city limits. 29 Figure 4–4.  Food sources in low income areas in Los Angeles (California Center for Public Health Advocacy 2007) 30 Figure 4–5.  Fast food restaurant in South Los Angeles (image: Google 2011) 30 Figure 4–6.  Traffic on the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles 31 Figure 4–7.  Los Angeles River after a heavy rain 32 Figure 4–8.  Los Angeles River at low flow 33 Figure 4–9.  Developed and undeveloped land in Los Angeles (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection 2005) 34 Figure 4–10.  Los Angeles watersheds and rivers (USGS 2002) 35 Figure 4–11.  Native California plant community In the San Gabriel Mountains 37 Figure 4–13.  Coastal sage scrub in the Transverse Mountain Range 38 Figure 4–12.  Historic native plant communities of Los Angeles (adapted from MPGIS U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid Pacific Region 1996) 38 Figure 4–14.  Heat island effect in Los Angeles is exacerbated by overdevelopment. 39 Figure 4–15.  Yearly high temperatures in Los Angeles (US Dept. of Energy 1996) 39 Figure 4–16.  Air pollution over downtown Los Angeles 40 Figure 4–17.  Air pollution can be mitigated by trees. 41 Figure 4–18.  Los Angeles County commercial property transaction volume and average price per acre (CoStar 2010) 42 Figure 4–19.  Farmers’ market, Los Angeles; an example of local economic activity that contributes to healthy food options. 43 Figure 4–20.  Investigation diagram 45 Figure 4–21.  Accessible park acres per 1,000 people by Census block group (adapted from Census 2000 and ESRI 2004) 47 Figure 4–23.  Park poverty combined with economically disadvantaged community area boundary 47 Figure 4–22.  Percentage of State Household Median Income (adapted from Census 2000 and California List of Figures and Tables

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Department of Finance 2010) Figure 4–24.  Area of greatest need; park-poor areas from within the disadvantaged community area boundary Figure 4–25.  Consolidated land use categories Figure 4–26.  Land use (SCAG 2005) Figure 4–28.  Westlake has more than 30,000 people per square mile. Figure 4–27.  Population per square mile (Census 2000) Figure 4–29.  Typology method diagram Figure 4–30.  Typologies mapped over Los Angeles Figure 4–31.  Neighborhoods were selected based on typologies and need. Figure 5–2.  Lincoln Heights CoStar sites Figure 5–1.  Westlake CoStar sites Figure 5–3.  Florence CoStar sites Figure 5–4.  Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles Figure 5–5.  Westlake parks Figure 5–6.  Lincoln Heights parks Figure 5–7.  Florence parks Figure 5–8.  Westlake schools Figure 5–9.  Lincoln Heights schools Figure 5–10.  Florence schools Figure 5–11.  Westlake bike lanes Figure 5–12.  Lincoln Heights bike lanes Figure 5–13.  Florence bike lanes Figure 5–14.  Westlake commercial corridors Figure 5–15.  Lincoln Heights commercial corridors Figure 5–16.  Florence commercial corridors Figure 5–17.  Westlake land use Figure 5–18.  Lincoln Heights land use Figure 5–19.  Florence land use Figure 5–20.  Westlake hydrology Figure 5–21.  Lincoln Heights hydrology Figure 5–22.  Florence hydrology Figure 5–23.  Westlake topography Figure 5–24.  Lincoln Heights topography Figure 5–25.  Florence topography Figure 5–26.  Westlake bus and Metro routes Figure 5–27.  Lincoln Heights bus and Metro routes Figure 5–28.  Florence bus and Metro routes Figure 5–29.  Ground-truthing in Westlake, Los Angeles Figure 5–30.  Westlake red fields Figure 5–31.  Lincoln Heights red fields Figure 5–32.  Florence red fields Figure 5–33.  Neighborhood red field characteristics Figure 5–34.  Red field in Westlake, Los Angeles Figure 6–1.  Red field in Westlake, Los Angeles Figure 6–2.  Westlake sunny red fields Figure 6–3.  Lincoln Heights sunny red fields Figure 6–4.  Florence sunny red fields Figure 6–5.  Westlake large red fields Figure 6–6.  Lincoln Heights large red fields Figure 6–7.  Florence large red fields Figure 6–8.  Westlake red fields with slopes less than 15% Figure 6–9.  Lincoln Heights red fields with slopes less than 15%

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47 47 48 49 49 49 50 51 53 56 56 56 58 60 60 60 61 61 61 62 62 62 63 63 63 64 64 64 65 65 65 66 66 66 67 67 67 68 69 69 69 70 71 74 75 75 75 76 76 76 77 77

Figure 6–10.  Florence red fields with slopes less than 15% Figure 6–11.  Westlake commercial red fields Figure 6–12.  Lincoln Heights commercial red fields Figure 6–13.  Florence commercial red fields Figure 6–14.  Westlake red fields close to bike lanes Figure 6–15.  Lincoln Heights red fields close to bike lanes Figure 6–16.  Florence red fields close to bike lanes Figure 6–17.  Westlake red fields close to nodes Figure 6–18.  Lincoln Heights red fields close to nodes (none) Figure 6–19.  Florence red fields close to nodes Figure 6–20.  Westlake vacant red fields Figure 6–21.  Lincoln Heights vacant red fields Figure 6–22.  Florence vacant red fields Figure 7–1.  Farmers’ market in Pomona, CA Figure 7–2.  Active recreation in MacArthur Park, Los Angeles Figure 7–3.  Engineered wetland for stormwater treatment, Clichy Batignolles, Paris France Figure 7–4.  Native vegetation at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont CA Figure 7–5.  Multifunctional detention basin in Marsh Park, Los Angeles Figure 7–6.  Multifunctional space; stormwater treatment, passive recreation and community space in Tanner Springs Park, Portland, OR Figure 7–7.  Westlake red fields capable for agriculture Figure 7–8.  Lincoln Heights red fields capable for agriculture Figure 7–9.  Florence red fields capable for agriculture Figure 7–10.  Westlake red fields capable for recreation Figure 7–11.  Lincoln Heights red fields capable for recreation Figure 7–12.  Florence red fields capable for recreation Figure 7–13.  Westlake red fields capable for ecology Figure 7–14.  Lincoln Heights red fields capable for ecology Figure 7–15.  Florence red fields capable for ecology Figure 7–16.  Westlake red fields capable for community Figure 7–17.  Lincoln Heights red fields capable for community Figure 7–18.  Florence red fields capable for community Figure 7–19.  Capability of red fields in Westlake Figure 7–20.  Capability red fields in Lincoln Heights Figure 7–21.  Capability of red fields in Florence Figure 7–22.  Red field in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles Figure 7–23.  Westlake suitability for agriculture Figure 7–24.  Lincoln Heights suitability for agriculture Figure 7–25.  Florence suitability for agriculture Figure 7–26.  Westlake suitability for recreation Figure 7–27.  Lincoln Heights suitability for recreation Figure 7–28.  Florence suitability for recreation Figure 7–29.  Westlake suitability for community Figure 7–30.  Lincoln Heights suitability for community Figure 7–31.  Florence suitability for community Figure 7–32.  Westlake suitability for ecology Figure 7–33.  Lincoln Heights suitability for ecology Figure 7–34.  Florence suitability for ecology Figure 7–35.  Westlake suitability analysis Figure 7–36.  Lincoln Heights suitability analysis Figure 7–37.  Florence suitability analysis Figure 7–38.  Red field in Westlake, Los Angeles

77 78 78 78 79 79 79 80 80 80 81 81 81 84 85 87 89 90 91 93 93 93 94 94 94 95 95 95 96 96 96 97 97 97 99 100 100 100 101 101 101 102 102 102 103 103 103 104 104 104 105

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Figure 8–2.  Site location in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles Figure 8–1.  Site locations in Westlake, Los Angeles Figure 8–3.  Site location in Florence, Los Angeles Figure 8–4.  Red field chosen for design in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles Figure 8–6.  Red field chosen for design in Westlake, Los Angeles Figure 8–5.  Second red field chosen for design in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles Figure 8–7.  Red field chosen for design in Florence, Los Angeles Figure 8–8.  Design process Figure 8–9.  Vision of site transformation Figure 8–11.  Lincoln Heights Local site Figure 8–10.  Lincoln Heights Local site in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles Figure 8–12.  Lincoln Heights Local site surrounding land uses Figure 8–13.  Lincoln Heights Local site analysis Figure 8–14.  The Lincoln Heights Local existing site has a view of downtown Los Angeles. Figure 8–15.  The Lincoln Heights Local existing site has a parking lot on the west side. Figure 8–16.  Axonometric view of Lincoln Heights Local design Figure 8–17.  Section-elevation A-A’ of orchard and plaza in Lincoln Heights Local Figure 8–18.  Opposite page: Perspective of the farmers’ market in the Lincoln Heights Local plaza. Figure 8–19.  Following pages: Perspective of the community garden in Lincoln Heights Local Figure 8–21.  Existing conditions at Arroyo Seco site Figure 8–20.  Arroyo Seco Park site in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles Figure 8–22.  The Arroyo Seco Park site overlooks the channelized Arroyo Seco. Figure 8–23.  Surrounding land uses for Arroyo Seco Park site Figure 8–24.  Site analysis of Arroyo Seco Park Figure 8–25.  The Arroyo Seco Park site has views to the north. Figure 8–26.  Arroyo Seco Park existing site entrance Figure 8–27.  Axonometric view of Arroyo Seco Park design in Lincoln Heights Figure 8–28.  Section-elevation A-A’ of playground, multi-use field, and nature education area in Arroyo Seco Park Figure 8–29.  Opposite page: Perspective of path, multiuse field and seating node in Arroyo Seco Park Figure 8–30.  Following pages: Perspective of Arroyo Seco Park entrance Figure 8–31.  Following pages: Perspective of Arroyo Seco Park nature education area Figure 8–33.  Existing conditions at Poplar Plaza site in Westlake, Los Angeles Figure 8–32.  Poplar Plaza site location in Westlake, Los Angeles Figure 8–34.  People waiting for the bus at Poplar Plaza site in Westlake, Los Angeles Figure 8–35.  Surrounding land uses for Poplar Plaza site Figure 8–36.  Poplar Plaza site analysis Figure 8–37.  The Poplar Plaza site is located at a busy commercial intersection in Westlake, Los Angeles. Figure 8–38.  The Poplar Plaza site is located in an area of high pedestrian traffic. Figure 8–39.  Axonometric view of Poplar Plaza design Figure 8–40.  Section-elevation A-A’ of Poplar Plaza Figure 8–41.  Following pages: Perspective of Poplar Plaza Figure 8–43.  Existing conditions at Florence Court site Figure 8–42.  Location of Florence Court site in Florence, Los Angeles Figure 8–44.  Central Ave. is a major street with a bus stop and cross walk adjacent to the Florence Court site. Figure 8–45.  Surrounding land uses near Florence Court site Figure 8–46.  Site analysis of Florence Court Figure 8–47.  The Florence Court site is across from a juvenile hall and Salvation Army building. Figure 8–48.  The alleys beside the Florence Court site connect to residences and schools. Figure 8–49.  Following pages: Perspective of Florence Court Figure 8–50.  Axonometric view of Florence Court design Figure 8–51.  Section-elevation A-A’ showing the vine wall and seating area at Florence Court Figure 8–52.  Section-elevation B-B’ of Florence Court’s sunken basketball court

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Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

108 108 108 109 109 109 109 111 112 113 113 114 115 116 117 119 119 120 120 124 124 125 126 127 128 129 131 131 132 132 132 138 138 139 140 141 142 143 145 145 145 148 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 155 155

Figure 9–1.  R2G-LA tour of Westlake with local planner Enrique Velasquez (center), and steering committee members 162 Figure 9–2.  R2G-LA helps the economy by creating employment opportunities in park design and construction. 164 Figure 9–3.  R2G-LA provides opportunities for residents to connect to nature and improves the overall environmental health of the City. 165 Figure 9–4.  Collaboration is an important component of park design and development (photo: Tom Zasadzinski). 167 Figure 9–5.  CicLAvia is a Citywide event that promotes social and environmental health by opening streets to bicyclists and pedestrians. 169 Figure 10–1.  Equations used to estimate the amount of red fields that could become green fields in the area of need identified in Chapter 4.4 172 Figure 10–2.  Cumulative green field area compared to other large urban parks in the United States 173 Figure 10–3.  Westlake parks accessibility 176 Figure 10–4.  Lincoln Heights parks accessibility 176 Figure 10–5.  Florence parks accessibility 176 Figure 10–6.  Westlake park and green field accessibility 177 Figure 10–7.  Lincoln Heights park and green field accessibility 177 Figure 10–8.  Florence park and green field accessibility 177 Figure 10–9.  The High Line in New York City transformed a derelict railway into a popular and iconic park. 180 Figure 10–10.Green fields will improve Los Angeles’ social, environmental and economic health. 181

List of Tables Table 4–1.  Population density of nine largest U.S. cities (Census 2000) 26 Table 4–2.  Neighborhood Areas 52 Table 5–1.  Neighborhood Populations (Los Angeles Times 2011) 57 Table 5–2.  Neighborhood Population Densities (Los Angeles Times 2011) 57 Table 5–3.  Neighborhood Median Household Incomes (in 2008 dollars)(Los Angeles Times 2011). 57 Table 5–4.  Neighborhood Ethnic Distributions (Los Angeles Times 2011) 57 Table 5–5.  Neighborhood Age Distributions (Los Angeles Times 2011) 57 Table 5–6.  Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles 58 Table 5–7.  Existing and recommended park acres in study neighborhoods (City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks 2009) 59 Table 5–8.  Neighborhood parks and facilities (City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks 2009) 59 Table 7–1.  Capability requirements, acceptable (grey) and required (green) 92 Table 7–2.  Additive criteria for suitability 98 Table 9–1.  Program priority rankings (City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks 2009) 161 Table 10–3.  Number of parks and potential green fields in Los Angeles 173 Table 10–4.  Acres of parks per thousand people in Los Angeles 173

List of Figures and Tables

197

Appendix A Partner Opportunity Sites The Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation The Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan (LARRMP) is one of Los Angeles’ most ambitious projects. It was created to address the issues that have resulted from the channelization of the Los Angeles River, such as inaccessibility, loss of habitat and loss of natural hydrologic function. Much like the Red Fields to Green Fields project, the LARRMP’s goals are to green neighborhoods, engage residents in the community, improve the quality of life for people and other species, and to focus on improving under-used areas and disadvantaged communities.

Size (acres)

Estimated Cost (millions)

Legion Lane River Park

0.5

2

Taylor Yard River Wetland Park

247

67.5

2850 Kerr St. 90039

Piggyback Yard/Mission Yard River Park

125

187.5

1700 E. Alhambra Ave. / 601 N. Mission Road 90031

Crown River Gateway/Sears-Crown Coach Opportunity Area

17

25.5

1400 S. Rio Vista Ave. & 1401 S. Rio Vista Ave. & 2675 E. 12th 90023

Albion dairy

6

unknown

Mesquit Street Parcels

1.5

2.5

Ripple/Crystal River Parcels

0.5

2

2326 W. Crystal St./2423 W. Ripple St. 90039

2

3

2974 N. Ripple Pl./2943 Gleneden St. 90039

399.5

292.25

Project Name

River Lofts Parcel

Total

198

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Location 3781 & 3785 N. Legion Lane 90039

1739 Albion Street, Los Angeles, CA 90031-2510 622 & 630 S. Mesquit St. 90021

Appendix A Partner Opportunity Sites Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

Description

Estimated Cost (millions)

Location

Pacoima Wash- 8th Street Park

1

801 Eighth Street San Fernando, CA 91340

Paradise Hill Open Space

10

Undeveloped hilltop in Lincoln Heights, City of Los Angeles

Elephant Hill Open Space

25

Undeveloped hilltop in El Sereno, City of Los Angeles

Mount Olympus Open Space

8

Undeveloped hilltop in Montecito Heights, City of Los Angeles

Northeast Los Angeles Open Spaces

20

Undeveloped hills and canyons in City of Los Angeles. Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco Watersheds

Washington Elementary Natural Park on Compton Creek

5

1421 N Wilmington Ave, Compton 90222

Compton Creek Trail Habitat Areas

10

Compton Creek from headwater to confluence with LA River.

Ballona Creek Trail

10

Ballona Creek

First Street Park

1

West side of Pacoima Wash from First Street to Fourth Street

Marsh Park

5

2960 Marsh Street Los Angeles, CA 90039

El Dorado Park

1

West side of Pacoima Wash from El Dorado Ave to Telfair Ave

Total

96

Appendices

199

Appendix B Red Fields Ownership Ownership of the red field parcels were also inventoried, using parcel data collected from City of Los Angeles Office of the Assessor (2010). Most of the red field parcels are privately owned. A few parcels are owned by other institutions: city government, places of worship, and medical centers. The ownership for some of the parcels was unknown.

Neighborhoods Type of Ownership

200

Lincoln Heights

Westlake

Florence

Private

11

39

67

Government

2

1

3

Place of Worship

3

2

2

Medical Center

0

1

0

Unkown

5

1

1

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

Appendix C Soils in the City of Los Angeles Soils in the basin have high contents of sand, silt, and gravel making them moderately to highly porous. Slopes in the foothills and mountains tend to have shallower soils with higher clay content and are therefore less permeable. Soils nearest to streams and floodplains are the most permeable in the Valley and LA basin. Soils in Los Angeles were mapped according to four hydrology classifications.

A = These soils have high infiltration rates even when

thoroughly wetted, consisting chiefly of deep, well to excessively drained sands and/or gravel. They have a high rate of water transmission and would result in a low runoff potential.

B = These soils have moderate infiltration rates when thoroughly wetted, consisting chiefly of moderately Hydro_grp deep to deep, moderately well to well drained soils with A moderately coarse textures,. These soils have a moderate B rate of water transmission. C C = These soils have slow infiltration rates when

thoroughly wetted, consisting chiefly of 1. soils with a layer that impedes the downward movement of water or 2. soils with moderately fine to fine texture and a slow infiltration rate. These soils have a slow rate of water transmission.

D = These soils have slow infiltration rates when wetted, consisting chiefly of 1. clay soils with a high swelling potential, 2. soils with a high permanent water table 3. soils with claypan or clay layer at or near the surface, and 4. shallow soils over nearly impervious materials. These soils have a very slow rate of water transmission.)

D

Soil Type A Soil Type B Soil Type C Soil Type D

0

2.5

5

10 Miles

Source: County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Survey/Mapping and Property Management Division (2004)

A more detailed inventory of soils at the site scale is recommended prior to implementation of specific Red Fields to Green Fields project.

Appendices

201

606 Team Graduate Students

Faculty Advisors

Dakotah Bertsch, MLA dak.bertsch@gmail.com

Prof. Karen Hanna, MA, FASLA, FCELA kchanna@csupomona.edu

Mike Boucher, MLA mkboucher@gmail.com

Dr. Lee-Anne Milburn, MLA, PhD, ASLA lsmilburn@csupomona.edu

Eran James, MLA eran.james@gmail.com

Dr. Susan Mulley, MA, MLA, PhD sjmulley@csupomona.edu

Abby Jones, MLA a.leigh.j.13@gmail.com

606 Studio The 606 Studio is a consortium of faculty and graduate students in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The Studio promotes the application of advanced methods of analysis and design with particular emphasis on the preservation and restoration of sensitive natural systems. Projects address complex and critical ecological, social and aesthetic issues related to urban, suburban, rural and natural landscapes Projects are carried out by teams of third-year graduate students guided by members of the graduate faculty. Graduate students perform the tasks of research, analysis, planning, design and presentation. Design approaches vary considerably depending on the scope and character of the project, and will address a combination of ecological, social, cultural, and aesthetic issues. Despite these variations, all projects utilize the framework of ecological design as developed by the Cal Poly Pomona graduate program. This approach stresses sensitive understanding of principles of ecology in relation to human uses. Department of Landscape Architecture College of Environmental Design California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Contact: Dr. Susan J. Mulley (909) 869-2673

202

Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles

sjmulley@csupomona.edu

The vision of Red Fields to Green Fields Los Angeles (R2G-LA) is to transform underutilized urban sites into green fields throughout the City of Los Angeles to create cumulative, far-reaching improvements to the City’s social, ecological, and economic health. The majority of red fields in Los Angeles are comprised of small parcels, often only ¼ acre in size, which are interspersed throughout the urban fabric. While the amount of green space created from a single ¼ acre red field might seem insignificant, the net impact of transforming myriad red fields to green fields throughout the City would be profound. The benefits of R2G-LA would include economic stabilization, more walkable and desirable neighborhoods, improved mental and physical health, and increased environmental services such as stormwater treatment, reduced heat island effect, and improved air quality. Cal Poly Pomona Department of Landscape Architecture 606 Design Studio


Red Fields to Green Fields: Los Angeles