Map Your L.A. River Dreams

February 24, 2010 § 2 Comments

John Arroyo at Rattlesnake Park last January

The aptly-named John Arroyo wants you to map the Los Angeles River.

Well,  mainly the central part of it – from around Griffith Park to Downtown Los Angeles, including the lower stretch of the Arroyo Seco. What he calls the “Los Angeles River Eastside”… and what east is east and what west is west is a point of contention for Angelenos (though I know for certain that the river is the dividing line.)

John Arroyo is a native Angeleno who is doing his Urban Planning master’s thesis  at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT.) He’s studying the interactions between culture and movements afoot to re-envision and revitalize the river. He defines culture pretty broadly – from informal to formal – from graffiti to poetry to dance to you name it.

In his words, he’s hoping to answer these questions:

What types of cultural activity are occurring along the River and to what extent? How can the lessons learned from the River’s cultural activity patterns play a role in the River’s transformation and inform public policy and urban design to create and sustain spaces for cultural expression?

One tool he’s using is community-generated mapping. He’s distributed a blank map that he’s asking anyone interested to fill in and mail back to him. He’s posted a blank downloadable version and a cool filled-in example here. Get mapping!

Map your river visions here

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§ 2 Responses to Map Your L.A. River Dreams

  • John Arroyo says:

    Hi Joe,

    Awesome! Thanks for blogging about my thesis research re. artistic engagement along the LA River. I’m generally interested in temporary use and interventions in public spaces through arts and culture and the LA River is definitely a hot spot for the topic.

    Thanks also for making the “Eastside” distinction. I agree! The geographic definition of what is the true Eastside is constantly contested. Having grown up in East LA (east of the River), I tend to consider that the real deal Eastside. Since the River stradles so many interesting neighborhoods and social/physical issues, I felt it would be good to group the central/downtown LA leg, the Arroyo Seco, and Frogtown/Elysian Valley/Glendale Narrows nodes as the Eastside. They may be more central or northeast geographically, but they certainly feed into the psyche and urbanism of LA’s Eastside communities. Nontheless, I’d be curious if anyone wanted to redraw the map and draw their own concept of the Eastside.

    Although the River runs 51/52 miles and connects many portions of Los Angeles, one of the main reasons I’ve selected the Eastside is that 1) It’s my native perspective and 2) In the interest of time, I was only able to cover one portion of the River (especially to graduate on time!). :) I’d love to return to the project after wards and potentially cover some of the other legs (South, San Fernando Valley, etc.). Thanks again Joe!

    • Joe Linton says:

      Glad you’re grateful for my blogging your project, John. Now re-reading my description of what’s east, I sounded a little snarky, a little dismissive… though I meant to be a little more sarcastic/silly. Anyhow the rough geographic boundaries you’re focusing on are excellent. I am looking forward to seeing what you end up with… and I wish you well on that “graduate on time” thing, too!

      Now I need to draw some lines on that blank map you gave me…

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