River LA and Gehry Partners Launch the LA River Index Upon Completion of LA River Phase 1 Research

June 21, 2016                                                                                          


River LA and Gehry Partners Launch the LA River Index upon Completion of LA River Phase 1 Research

The online resource is the culmination of one year of data collection and analysis by a team of experts that includes Gehry Partners, Geosyntec and Olin


Los Angeles, California – Today, River LA and its partners have unveiled an innovative and revolutionary new tool for planning and design along the Los Angeles River called the LA River Index (lariverindex.org). This is the first time that data, reports and findings relative to the river’s past, present and future along the river’s entirety has been centralized in one location for the public to access. The LA River Index is an online, resource accessible to the public that spans the issues of water, public space and community needs along all 51 miles of the Los Angeles River. 

In the Fall of 2014, a team comprised of River LA, Gehry Partners, Geosyntec and OLIN began studying the vast array of research surrounding the LA River and creating a single, equitable framework to use when evaluating the river’s possibilities along all 51 miles, without the limitations of political jurisdiction or public agency mandates. The result of that Phase 1 work is the LA River Index. Building upon 25 years of work, the Index includes data from new and existing studies and master plans, informed by input from community members, peer organizations, state and local agencies and technical experts, and will continue to evolve and be updated as the team continues to study various aspects of the river.

The LA River Index evaluates the river’s potential across nine dimensions, using data to identify possible benefits to our region in terms of water, open space and people:

  • Flood Risk Management: Expand the LA River from a single-purpose flood channel to multi-functional waterway without reducing the flood protection we enjoy.
  • Water Recharge: Capture up to 28.6 billion gallons of water per year to replenish our aquifers.
  • Water Quality: Improve river water quality to help meet beneficial uses and positively impact our natural ecosystem.
  • Greenhouse Gases: Reduce greenhouse gases equivalent to 660 million miles driven per year to cut our carbon footprint.
  • Ecology & Habitat: Enhance and connect the region’s rich natural biodiversity.
  • Open Space & Parks: Create potential for 2300 acres of accessible and equitably distributed open space within a mile of the river.
  • Public Health & Social Equity: Promote healthier, more socially connected communities.
  • Transportation: Unite our region through improved mobility and access to public transportation.
  • Programming: Invigorate our communities with shared access to the arts, culture, education and recreation.

“We are excited to share the results of our past year of data collection and research with the greater public,” said River LA Executive Director Omar Brownson. “The Index is intended to be a shared resource that we hope will help inform future work and design of the LA River, keeping in mind that design changes anywhere within the river affects the whole 51-mile river system and watershed. We can’t wait for the public to use the index and work together with us to learn more about the possibilities of the river for our region.”

Frank Gehry and his partners, Tensho Takemori and Anand Devarajan, will continue to work with a team of experts on updating the Index with new data insights for the public.

“The goal of our study is to explore how to reconnect communities along the 51 miles and to create open space that serves the communities most in need, said Frank Gehry, “We hope the Index acts as a catalyst to more broadly address how the river can help transform people's lives including through reclamation of water, creation of more parks, recreational spaces and cultural zones, and better policy-making to directly aid in the health and well-being of all the citizens of the communities along the river.”

Joe Edminston and Mark Stanley, the directors of two regional conservancies dedicated to river revitalization efforts, have awarded grants to River LA to assist in the data driven effort led by Gehry Partners.   

“We are pleased with the release of the LA River Index and the vast amounts of information and data it will provide us and many others who are working on river projects,” said Joseph T. Edmiston FAIP, Executive Director, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, “This detailed amount of information on the river’s entirety helps us realize new and better ways to utilize this regional resource.”

“The LA River Index is a valuable resource in helping us understand the current construct of the river and to begin realizing all of its future potential,” said Mark Stanley, Executive Officer of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy. “I am thrilled that this online site has been created and will be accessible to the communities along all 51 miles so we can approach the River as a regional asset.”

The LA River Index was made possible by the tireless work of River LA’s partners and the generous funding from public and private sector supporters, including the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, The City of Long Beach, Achieving America Family Foundation, California Community Foundation’s Opportunity Fund, the California Water Foundation program of the Resources Legacy Fund, Goldhirsh Foundation, The JIB Fund, JP Morgan Chase Bank, The John W. Carson Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Andrea Gibbin, Luann and Bob Williams, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, Amy Gordon Yanow and Tony Yanow, and matching donations to the Yanow gift raised online from many individual donors.


About River LA

River LA is a nonprofit organization with a mission to ensure the 51-mile Los Angeles River integrates design and infrastructure to bring people, water, and nature together.

River LA believes in championing river-oriented policy and sustainable public spaces and creating innovative models for community betterment and participation. The goal is to foster job creation, economic development, improved public health, and community revitalization. River LA policies advocate for alternative transportation, enhanced public amenities, and recreational green space, and programs that are meant to raise awareness of the river as a signature public resource. As an independent nonprofit, River LA wants to create community and economic benefit for all, and as a social enterprise, they bring the know-how to translate good works into good business. As a convener they bring public, private and philanthropic partners together to enhance the quality of life across our region.

 About Gehry Partners

Gehry Partners has been commissioned by River LA to be the lead consultant in its effort to create a coherent vision for the 51-mile length of the LA River.

Gehry Partners, LLP is a full service architectural firm with extensive international experience in the design and construction of academic, museum, theater, performance, commercial, and master planning projects. Founded in 1962 and located in Los Angeles, California, Gehry Partners currently has a staff of approximately 130 people. Every project undertaken by Gehry Partners is designed personally and directly by Frank Gehry and supported by the broad resources of the firm and the extensive experience of the firm’s senior partners and staff. The firm puts a great focus on the functional needs of clients, resulting in on-time and on-budget projects that often-time add value to the clients and to the surrounding communities. Frank Gehry’s passion for eliminating waste in the construction process has led to vast reduction in change orders on projects. The work of Gehry Partners has been featured widely in national and international newspapers and magazines, and has been exhibited in major museums throughout the world.

About OLIN

OLIN is providing expertise in landscape architecture, land planning, ecology and habitat, river functions and public health studies.

OLIN is a landscape architecture and urban design firm whose work is predicated upon social engagement, craft, detail, materiality and timelessness. Appreciation of the urban environment is paramount. They love cities and they celebrate their complexities, contradictions and constraints. OLIN believes in their continued evolution and enjoy collaboratively shaping the way they look and function. OLIN values multi-functional, flexible and environmentally sensitive design solutions. Through craft, landscapes have potential to be catalysts for human interaction, recreation and community. They approach each project individually, basing design decisions upon the underlying expressive power of a particular site in conjunction with specific programmatic requirements. In all of their work, they carefully assess the distinguishing spatial characteristics of a site, its connections to surrounding areas, local traditions and history, the natural environment, and social and cultural conditions. OLIN synthesizes and integrates findings in new site elements and systems that they manipulate, amplify and layer to create expressive designs.

About Geosyntec

Geosyntec is providing expertise in water supply, hydrology, hydraulics, water quality, flood risk management and greenhouse gas issues.

Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. is an award-winning, internationally recognized environmental and scientific consulting firm known in the greater Los Angeles area for its expertise in stormwater and urban runoff, hydraulics and hydrology, watershed management, long-term strategic perspectives, and innovative solutions. 

About 72andSunny

72andSunny is an award-winning advertising agency providing strategic and creative consulting.

72andSunny creates cultural impact on behalf of brands. The company is recognized as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies 2016 and is a two-time “Agency of the Year” winner for Advertising Age and Adweek. With offices in Los Angeles, Amsterdam and New York, 72andSunny’s clients include Activision, adidas, Axe, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s, Carlsberg, Coors, ESPN, Google, General Mills, Instagram, Samsung, Seventh Generation, Smirnoff, Starbucks, Target, Tillamook, and truth. 72andSunny deeply committed to expanding and diversifying the creative culture of Los Angeles. For more information, visit 72andSunny.com

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