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What possible futures exist for a sustainable downtown
Los Angeles? For nearly half a century downtown Los Angeles
was virtually abandoned as a place to both live and work.
In recent years however, some urban renewal plans have come
to fruition, and many more are being considered - bringing
life back to the urban core. Using the Not a Cornfield project
site and the surrounding areas including the Los Angeles
River as contextual anchors, four urban thinkers
and planners will discuss these issues, offering a few possible
and probable futures to look forward to.
Scheduled to appear:
James Rojas, Michael Dear, Lane Barden, Alan Loomis, David Fletcher
James Rojas is founder of the
Latino Urban Forum (LUF) which is group dedicated to improving
the Latino built environment through urban planning and advocacy.
LUF has worked on many projects such as the Evergreen Cemetery
Jogging Path, South Central Farm, and the Cornfields. He
holds a Master of City Planning and a Master of Science of
Architecture Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. His research is one of the few studies on U.S.
Latino built environment and has been highly cited. Excerpts
have been widely printed in publications like Places and
the Los Angeles Times. For the past 8 years
James has lectured extensively at universities, colleges, conference,
high schools, and community meeting on his research. His goal
is to empower Latinos in how to understand their environment.
James Rojas has spent 3 years in the East Europe in the Peace
Corps organizing environmental groups for sustainable transportation.
Mr. Rojas's currently is a project manager for the Los Angeles
County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Central Area
Team and works on transportation enhancements projects.
Michael Dear is professor
and chair of the Department of Geography at the University
of Southern California, and honorary professor at the Bartlett
School of Planning at University College London (England).
He is currently researching urban and cultural change along
the US-Mexico border, and has just completed a 4,000-mile
exploration of the borderlands (on both sides). His most
recent book is Postborder City: Cultural
Spaces of Bajalta California (Routledge, 2003; edited, with Gustavo Leclerc).
Lane Barden Lane Barden is a Los Angeles-based
photographer, teacher and writer. He has taught photography
at SCI-Arc and Art Center College of Design. His photographic
project "The Los Angeles River: 52 Miles Downstream" was
shown at SCI-Arc in a solo show in the Spring of 2005. Selected
images will be exhibited in L.A. River
at the Skirball Cultural Center April 6, 2006 and will be
published in a forthcoming book on Los Angeles infrastructure,
edited by Kazys Varnelis and ACTAR Publications of Barcelona.
Lane Barden's commitment to the future of the Cornfields
and the Los Angeles River is anchored in his vision of a
performance-based public space in the L.A. River at the Cornfields
created by a computer operated inflatable rubber dam installed
in the channel. "The Los Angeles Waterway Project" has
received coverage by the New Yorker magazine, National
Public Radio, The Los Angeles Times, and KCBS (Ch.
2) and KCAL (Ch. 9) in Los Angeles. The idea is
not to create a lake, but to invite people down to the channel
for a good time.
Alan Loomis is the principal urban designer
for the City of Glendale, California. Previously he was an
urban designer with Moule & Polyzoides Architects and
Urbanists, were he directed planning projects for Pomona
College, the University of California Santa Barbara, and
various cities in the Inland Empire and Central California,
in addition to participating in other urban design and research
projects throughout California, New Mexico and New Jersey.
He has taught urban design at Woodbury University, and written
for ArcCA, loudpaper, among other journals,
Los Angeles: Building the Polycentric
Region, a survey of
regional smart growth architecture and urbanism. He has served
on the board of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and
Urban Design, the local Congress for New Urbanism chapter,
and he is the creator/editor of DeliriousLA,
a comprehensive weekly listing of architecture events in
David Fletcher is an urban
and environmental designer, professor, and writer. He holds
an MLA with Distinction from Harvard University, where he
studied Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. He also
holds a Bachelor of Art in Studio Art and Bachelor of Science
in Landscape Architecture from the University of California
at Davis. He is presently working at Mia Lehrer and Associates
on a range of projects including civic spaces, parks, and
regional planning projects. He is interested in the unique
systems and forms that evolve from sustainable design practice.
More specifically, his work addresses process, void, symbiosis,
infrastructure, and post-industrial urbanism. As project
manager for the Los Angeles Revitalization Master Plan, he
is leading efforts to identify and plan a comprehensive open
space network that interfaces with channel restoration and
urbanism. He is also managing the Compton Creek Master Plan
and the LA Riverfront Park projects. He has taught urban
design and landscape architecture at Harvard Design School,
the Centre d'Etude et díUrbanisme in Saintes, France,
and at the USC School of Architecture. He has recently authored
a paper "Imprinting Watershed Awareness through Environmental
Literature and Art" in Facilitating
Watershed Management: Fostering Awareness and Stewardship, edited by Robert France
and his writings on the Los Angeles River will be published
in a forthcoming book on Los Angeles infrastructure, edited
by Kazys Varnelis. David was the assistant curator and exhibition
designer of "Inhabiting Infrastructure", at the
Harvard Design School. His temporary art installations have
been shown at Connemara Sculpture Park, Harvard Design School,
Davis, USC, and in Art Center's GardenLAb exhibit. His recent
work on postindustrial urbanism was been honored with a 1st
place national award from the American Society for Landscape
Architecture. He also received an Honor Award in 2004 from
the Boston Society of Landscape Architects for environmental
planning work in Beirut, Lebanon.
ABOUT THE NOT A CORNFIELD PROJECT
Growing in the historic center of Los Angeles, the Not Cornfield project transforms an industrial brownfield site into a cornfield for one agricultural cycle. Now the Los Angeles Historic State Park, the site popularly known as 'The Cornfield' had remained derelict for more than a decade. The project serves as a potent metaphor that provides a focus for reflection and action in a city unclear about the location of its energetic and historic center.
ABOUT LAUREN BON, NOT A CORNFIELD ARTIST
Lauren Bon resides in Los Angeles and holds a Masters of Architecture degree from MIT and a BA from Princeton. Ms. Bon is a trustee of the Annenberg Foundation and President of Not A Cornfield, LLC. Her recent urban, public and land art projects in the U.S., Hong Kong, Belfast and Northern Ireland, as well as her role as a trustee, make her uniquely poised to build the capacity of the Foundation in the area of site based philanthropy, serving communities through education, civic, health, artistic initiatives and programs. Not a Cornfield art project is being developed through a grant by the Annenberg Foundation.