Release the balloons! We are thrilled to share our charter membership in the High Line Network. This peer-to-peer group launched by the Friends of the High Line includes 19 infrastructure reuse projects from across the continent, including River LA. The High Line Network will be the first of its kind to collect news on the growing field of infrastructure reuse, showcasing complex projects that can learn from one another. Each project in the network has a purpose to transform underutilized infrastructure into new urban landscapes to help communities reach their full potential.
As one of the 19 projects, River LA will illustrate our plan to rethink all 51-miles of the LA River, leveraging design and advocacy for thousands of acres of accessible open space. Using the High Line Network, River LA will have the unique opportunity to learn from and collaborate with other member organizations on best peer-to-peer practices to develop innovative public spaces. We are incredibly excited to be in the company of these innovative projects, and are eager to work together and engage others on how best to revitalize the present-day, channelized river into a healthy, resilient resource for all.
Get excited, folks! We are a part of a growing movement of infrastructure reuse projects transforming public space across the nation.
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At River LA, our mission is to integrate design and infrastructure to bring people, water, and nature together along all 51-miles of the Los Angeles River. Over our last six years, this has meant different things and it continues to evolve today. We think that’s the exciting part, but we realize it can leave the community with some questions about our work and why we do it.
Today, we’re going to explore an essential part of our work: Placemaking. This on-the-rise buzzword has been a focus of River LA over the years and is at the heart of a number of events we’ve hosted recently. These gatherings, which you can find more of on our events page, have brought together all sorts of folks across Los Angeles. It’s an important part of our work and we’re excited to share it with you.
What is placemaking
Placemaking is designed with community-based participation as its core purpose. Defined by the Project for Public Spaces, the ‘Placemaking process capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, and it results in the creation of quality public spaces that contribute to people's health, happiness, and well being.’ It empowers communities to re-imagine their space for potential opportunities to improve lives through intentional development.
This can mean a number of things. In some instances, Placemaking is physically developing an area, like transforming empty buildings into open creative spaces. Other forms of Placemaking include temporary art installations or even pop up events. Regardless of the medium, all Placemaking is intended to engage communities to celebrate and consider their spaces.
How we’ve done it
Our Placemaking work began in earnest in 2016, when we decided to take a page out of the Goldrisch Foundation’s LA 2050 “micro grant” making program and develop a micro grant program of our own for Rio Vistas. We started with this project because it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate and practice the principles of Placemaking.
What’s made our Placemaking work so powerful is what we haven’t done. Instead of managing each event, we have fostered the ideas and plans for individuals and community members to lead themselves. Most recently, we began our Rio Vistas Micro Grant program. The Rio Vistas program consisted of $1,000 micro-grants we awarded to individuals and groups that wanted to celebrate people and space along the LA River. This has led to remarkable events that represent the needs and communities they serve.
This Rio Vistas activation was designed to celebrate the memory of loved ones past. The installation by artist Rosalie Lopez used living houseplants and repurposed objects to create an inviting space called Debbie’s Inheritance. In exchange for a take-home rooting plant, voice recorded or written memories were collected and shared in a digital memory archive.
I think Debbie’s Inheritance was about creating and engaging environment and making an archive of stories from a specific region in Los Angeles. The LA River connected with the installation through the need for creating green spaces and connection to water. -Rosalie Lopez
Broccoli City’s Hashtag Lunchbag Event (pictured below)
Broccoli City’s Rio Vistas satellite event emphasized bringing diversity to give back to the community along the river. Broccoli City partnered with Hashtag Lunchbag to host an afternoon of dancing, courtesy of DJ Printz, sandwich making, and celebrating our great river.
La Walks is hosting a Rio Vistas “Walk ‘n’ Roll” to walk the LA River to advocate for safe, accessible, fun and equitable walking. This Placemaking event will highlight areas of the river in need of repairs, while bringing together walkers of all ages!
Why it’s part of our work
As River LA continues to explore the opportunities presented by the LA river and the public space of the channel, we find it essential to help lift the voices and the communities that call this river home. Placemaking is at the core of this work, as it’s designed to empower the neighborhoods to reclaim and guide the future of the space.
Want to get involved?
We have several opportunities to join us at one of these Placemaking events this summer. You can RSVP for one of these events here. Or, even better, get involved by signing up to volunteer with River LA.
We are excited to share EverWalk the LA River, an upcoming event in partnership with EverWalk, founded by the EPIC Cuba-to-Florida swimmer Diana Nyad and her expedition partner Bonnie Stoll. EverWalk is on a mission to inspire Americans to get up and move. The EverWalk journey is to create a nation of walkers to reverse the impact sedentary lifestyles have on our collective health.
EverWalk the LA River is a 6.5-mile walk through Atwater Village to Fletcher Drive, beginning and ending at North Atwater Park (though, folks are able to turn around at any point!). This walk is meant to celebrate the development of a safe and accessible 51-mile no-car bike and pedestrian path along our LA River. This is our first annual walk and we hope you can join us!
What makes the LA River so powerful are the communities, organizations, and people it brings together. Time and time again, we develop partnerships (and friendships) with inspiring and energizing organizations. Today, we bring you one of these organizations and, even better, an event you can join!
EverWalk and River LA are combining forces to start an annual walking event. The purpose of this 6.5-mile walk is twofold, aiming to raise awareness about our great LA River and all its opportunities and encourage folks to get moving with the EverWalk Nation Pledge! What’s the EverWalk Nation Pledge, you ask?
I pledge to walk at least three times a week.
I will be an example to my family, friends, and neighbors about the importance of walking and leading an active lifestyle.
I commit to being an ambassador for EverWalk’s mission and want to get America walking.
This event will be attended by folks of all ages, Diana Nyad and Bonnie Stoll of the EverWalk team, the River LA gang, and hopefully you!
The When (and the Where!)
Saturday, May 20th, 2017
8:30 am Check-in
9:15 am Get inspired by a pre-walk Never Ever Give Up Talk by Diana Nyad
9:30 am Walk Begins
11:00 am After the walk the Border Grill Food Truck will be onsite for those that might want to buy lunch and hang out together for a while longer
North Atwater Park
3900 W. Chevy Chase Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Yoga classes, immersive art installations, pop-up parties, art workshops, interactive performances. Sounds like fun, right?
Recently, we shared a blog post about our upcoming Rio Vistas events. As a refresher, Rio Vistas are street ends along the LA River that community members are programming to celebrate aesthetic, recreational, and environmental benefits of community space for neighborhoods along the LA River. We offered $1,000 grants to help activate these areas to empower people to plan and create experiences that reflect what they believe the power of the LA River is to connect community at these street ends.
Essentially, our Rio Vistas programs highlight the incredible people that work, live, and play along the LA River. We’re delighted to announce one coming up this weekend, and we’d love to have you join us
This weekend’s Rio Vista activation is designed to celebrate the memory of loved ones past. The installation will use living houseplants and repurposed objects to create an inviting space called Debbie’s Inheritance. In exchange for a take-home rooting plant, voice recorded or written memories will be collected and shared in a digital memory archive.
Rosalie M. López is a conceptual artist whose artwork involves reforming cultural iconography, often referencing the idealized perfect with more true-to-life icons, in order to highlight and recognize the strength, power and influence of our communities, while also speaking about cultural and social expressions. She primarily uses printmaking, papel picado, installation, and the altar/offering to relay experiences of survival, loss, and hope.
The When (and the Where!)
May 13, 2017 at 11am - 3pm
At the end of Coolidge Street
3050 N Coolidge Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Google map and directions
We hope you’re able to join us. This weekend promises to be a unique opportunity to celebrate those we love and the community we treasure. We sure hope you can join.
Imagine a dead end–the only thing between you and a walking path along the LA River is a chain link fence.
Now, imagine that instead of a fence, there was open access to the LA River Bike Path. Instead of a fence, there’s a little ‘parklet,’ providing shade, a place to sit, a water fountain to refill your bottle, and a beautiful mural. Instead of a barrier, an entrance, and a spot to celebrate all of this in the middle of LA.
River LA set out to help make these visions a reality through our Rio Vistas program. Rio Vistas are designed by the community for the community in an effort to breathe new life into street-ends in the most creative and inclusive ways possible.
What are Rio Vistas?
Rio Vistas are street-ends that are public rights-of-way we’re transforming into opportunities to access aesthetic, recreational, and environmental benefits along the LA River. But more than that, they’re just really cool.
LA River High School students, community members, Glen Dake/Miguel Luna (GDML) and the NELA Riverfront Collaborative, industry professionals, and everybody in between have teamed up with River LA to design and develop ‘shovel-ready’ projects along the LA River in Elysian Valley.
Why Rio Vistas?
More than 300 streets intersect with the LA River, many of which have barriers that prevent safe access to the LA River. We believe the LA River is at the heart of a healthy, vibrant, and resilient region we all deserve. Rio Vistas are one solution to the lack of access to the LA River.
As part of the River LA’s Placemaking approach, a key component of the Rio Vistas program is activating the places we build. We’ve done that through a Micro Grant program, awarding $1,000 grants for people that feel a passion for the LA River to plan and create experiences to share with their friends and neighbors at our Rio Vistas.
More than physically building improvements to space, these individuals and organizations are creating experiences that celebrate the area and the surrounding neighborhoods.
When Will These Launch?
Landscaping on our first three Rio Vistas has already begun with the next phase of construction scheduled to begin later this spring. For those of you too eager to wait until the parklettes are complete (like us!), we have some events in the spaces we’d love for you to attend:
May 13, 12:00 pm | Rio Vistas Micro Grant Activation featuring Rosalie Lopez
May 27, 12:00 pm | Rio Vistas Micro Grant Activation featuring Broccoli City
June 17, 12:00 pm | Rio Vistas Micro Grant Activation featuring LA Walks
July 15, 12:00 pm | Rio Vistas Micro Grant Activation featuring Las Fotos
July 29, 12:00 pm | Rio Vistas Micro Grant Activation featuring SKNSMK + BENDER
Want to get involved?
We’re so excited about these Rio Vistas and the work of these individuals, organizations, and their networks. If you’re as excited as we are, and want to join our work, consider starting a project like these for your neighborhood. We love to hear stories of the LA River Community empowering each other, so be sure to follow us on social media and share your #OurLARiver pics!
We can’t do this without the support and work of river advocates like you.