In LA and in so many cities across the country we've grown too used to hostile forms of urbanism that make it unpleasant to walk, bicycle, and generally hang out outside. 'Hostile urbanism' refers to streetscaping elements or design moves in the public realm that are generally unfriendly to the human being. As an example, think about what it's like to walk next to a freeway edge or through an underpass with chain link on all sides and no light. Think about the noise and smells that we've gotten used to, as we walk along the edge of a 10 lane arterial street. Good design, thoughtful urban design needs to be prioritized and needs to be funded to avoid these mistakes, these inhumane moments all around our city. It's a matter of respect - respect for the human, respect for our city, respect for ourselves. (Picture: Flickr Oatsy 40)
Here LA is happy to announce the kick-off of the Inglewood First/Last Mile Planning project with LA Metro and the City of Inglewood! The Inglewood First/Last Mile Planning project signals a critical point for First/Last Mile implementation in the County. This project, although not the first application of Metro’s First/Last Mile analysis, will result in the development of innovative and forward-thinking methods of capturing data during the First/Last Mile analytical process.
This project is also a precedent-setter as Metro will be directly partnering with City staff to develop and provide critical feedback at every stage of the First/Last Mile planning process. This relationship is invaluable, and will ensure continuity and project understand as next steps are taken in future implementation phases.
Keep an eye out for more information about the project and ways to get involved!
From now until the beginning of 2018, hop on the Downtown Glendale trolley, which circulates along Brand and Central, around the Americana and up to the residential areas north of the 134 Freeway. A great First/Last Mile solution, the trolley makes it easier to walk and take transit to your destinations. Here LA designed the trolley stop signage and large side-panel trolley graphics, with a fun hand-drawn look, inspired by the sites around Downtown.
Lots of fun last weekend at One Arroyo Day in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl! Here LA made these 'rainbow stackers' to facilitate a 3 dimensional dialogue with the community about their memories, hopes, and dreams for the Arroyo Seco. We gathered stories about the Arroyo and watched over the day as the structure took shape.
This week, Here LA kicks off the Transit to Parks Strategic Plan for LA Metro. The physical and psychological benefits of urban parks are well documented. Benefits range from reduction in obesity, depression, and air quality-related health issues, to support for healthy brain development and overall healthy living. But for so many people living in the LA region, accessing a park is not easy. Most of our neighborhoods aren't built around a local park; we can't walk out of our front doors and bike or walk to meet our friends for a pick-up game at a nearby basketball court or the like. Fewer than one-third of Los Angeles children live within walking distance of a park or playground.
The Transit to Parks Plan investigates how we, as a region, can get better access to parkland and open space areas, including the 75 miles of LA County coastline. Solutions will likely include a full range of access improvements, like public shuttles, bike lanes, greenways, programmatic incentives, creative partnerships, non-traditional or shared ride possibilities, and others. The focus will be on providing solutions for car-less, transit-dependent Angelenos and on getting people to the specific types of parks that they want to explore.
Map from the recent LA County Park Needs Assessment.
Here LA is excited to announce the kick-off the Artesia International Downtown Strategic Plan with Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio. As LA Metro moves forward with plans for the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor, (a transit line that would connect Downtown Los Angeles to Artesia) the City of Artesia is aiming to enhance its environmental and economic sustainability through transit-oriented development.
The goal of the plan is to develop an effective Downtown Specific Plan that will help the City prepare for and leverage its assets at the terminus of the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor. Here LA will be supporting the team by providing urban design and creative engagement services, referencing our recent work with LA Metro on the Transit Supportive Planning Toolkit, the First/Last Mile Strategic Plan, the Green Places Plan, and the Active Transportation Strategic Plan.
Look out for more information about the project as we kick-off the engagement workshops in January!
Here LA will be at the ASLA Conference this weekend. We hope to see you there!
Co-Directors Shannon Davis and Amber Hawkes will be meeting up with an ASLA Field Session walking tour "Lessons About Safety: Urban Design for Better Security" to talk about lessons learned from the MyFigueroa streetscape project, which the two were involved with for many years from early concept phases through approval. The Field Session includes a walking tour that takes participants through Wilshire Grand, City National Plaza, Maguire Gardens, and Downtown LA's city streets. Shannon and Amber's talk will focus on urban design best practices relating to safety and security - ways to passively and actively design for safety.
Friday, October 20, 12noon-4:45pm
Also, be sure to come and see Here LA Urban Designer's Chad So in 2x1 Visions of Los Angeles - a program curated by LALA (Los Angeles Landscape Architecture). 30 participants will speak for one minute each on the image of the Los Angeles landscape, perceived or real. 2x1 Visions will be held in in the courtyard of the A+D Museum.
Sunday, October 22, 6:30-10:30pm
Join Here LA's Co-Directors Shannon Davis and Amber Hawkes at the 5th Annual New Urbanism Film Festival this weekend, a four day event in Los Angeles October 19-22, 2017.
The festival screens short and feature length films about the urban environment. Shannon and Amber are part of two panels that follow short film screenings about street art and tactical urbanism, sharing Here LA's stories and insights about bringing beauty and fun to the urban realm:
This past week, Here LA installed a temporary art piece that illustrated a year's worth of feedback from community workshops in the City of Glendale, as part of the City's Pedestrian Plan. Since 2016, the design and planning team has been speaking with people who live, work, and play in Glendale about what it's like to walk in the City. Each triangle in the community mural represents one person's answer to the question, "What would make you walk more in Glendale?"
Each color is a specific response. You can see frequency and patterns of response and read the community sentiment through color. Blue tones indicated safety-related responses - people who said they'd walk more if they felt safer walking, or if vehicles would slow down, for example. Pink indicates an accessibility-related reason (more space on the sidewalks or more destinations within walking distance) and green/yellow tones indicate aesthetics and comfort issues (better lighting, more shade, more people out walking, or better sidewalk condition).
The temporary mural will be up for a little while in its current home in the plaza in front of the Museum of Neon Art on Brand in Glendale and then will be roving around to various sites around the City.
Here LA is currently working on the One Arroyo project with the City of Pasadena. This effort aims to identify and prioritize projects that will enhance and preserve the Arroyo Seco for current and future generations.
This week, Here LA is working with the Arroyo Advisory Group (AAG) to launch the One Arroyo Survey. Here LA will be supporting the AAG as they reach out to Arroyo Seco stakeholders, users, and community members.
Here LA will be at the California APA conference, September 23 - 26 in Sacramento. Come say hi at our panel as Here LA's Amber Hawkes, AICP talks about creative open space and parks planning strategies:
"Lean, Green, Park Planning Machine: Strategies for More Equitable Parks and Open Spaces"
How can cities equitably plan for parks and park systems that serve the needs of all residents? This session will explore ways in which park planning professionals, representing a diversity of expertise, have aligned community needs and desires with innovative funding and design strategies to achieve more impactful open spaces.
Moderator: Connie Chung, Director, HR&A Advisors, Inc.
Speakers: Eduardo Santana, Executive Director, Pershing Square Renew; Pauline Louie, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Amber Hawkes, AICP, Co-Director, Here Design Studio (Here LA); Scott Jordan, ASLA, Principal, Civitas, Inc. CM | 1.5
Fun times again at the Blue Line Summer Series, this time at the Slauson Station, together with LA Metro, Trust South LA, LA Conservation Corps, Fehr & Peers, and Metro Bike Hub. The event included a great DJ, food, 2 local artists, a bike repair station, as well as HereLA's Blue Line pop-up elements. The DJ really got people dancing and the artists were live painting a cultural piece related to the event and community. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!
See you this Sunday Aug 27 at the Metro Blue Line Vernon Station - North East corner of Vernon Ave and Long Beach Ave.
Here LA is in the workshop this week exploring public murals as a city place making tool. Murals add character and aesthetic values to the public realm, but more importantly they tell stories set in time and space. This week we are testing materials, application methods, and installation techniques. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.
The Blue Line Summer Series continues on August 23rd at Slauson Station and August 27th near Vernon Station. Each pop up includes interactive elements designed by Here LA, as well as fun activities organized by local community groups. For a teaser, see the DTLB Station Pop-up. We look forward to seeing you!
Here LA's Amber Hawkes and Shannon Davis visited Planetizen's LA office today in Koreatown to film a segment for Planetizen Courses about First/Last Mile and 'Storytelling'. Amber and Shannon discussed their experience helping to craft the First/Last Mile Strategic Plan and open-source process for LA Metro, sharing lessons learned and best practices from over the years, as the process has been applied to some of the 88 cities in LA County. Here LA's discussions about Storytelling today were about everything from visual communication to tactical and pop-up urbanism - essentially finding ways to touch the hearts of people participating in the Planning process. Getting people to see, feel, smell, and hear the possibilities of an enhanced community and encouraging Urban Planners to Think Big.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Metro Blue Line Summer Series Pop-Up in DTLB, Promenade Square Park! We enjoyed talking to the community and received great feedback about First/Last Mile Improvements around the DTLB Blue Line Station.
The event featured great music, food, and a bike ride to the beach with Healthy Active Streets.
Look out for more events coming soon!
Be sure to join us on August 6th for a pop-up event for the Metro Blue Line First/Last Mile Summer Series! The pop-up event will include a community "Bike to the Beach" coupled with an interactive area for feedback and ideas. Here LA will be there with a kit of Blue Line temporary street furniture, talking about the First/Last Mile. Music, food, and giveaways too!
The Bike to the Beach event is part of a series of events, happening in August and September along the Blue Line, aimed at getting feedback about what sorts of walking and biking improvements would be best for the areas surrounding the Blue Line, from Downtown Los Angeles, to Downtown Long Beach.
Can't make it to the Long Beach Event? August 3rd, 6pm - 9pm, the First/Last Mile Summer Series will be at the Parks After Dark, at Roosevelt Park, right near the Florence Blue Line Station.
See you there!
We have been enjoying using the Global Street Design Guide in the office! The Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI) and NACTO have teamed together to create a graphically rich and informative resource manual for planners and urban designers. Check out the URL below to qualify for a free digital copy!
Here LA is proud to accept two new awards along with the City of Santa Monica for the Creative Crosswalks Pilot Project: the 2017 APA LA Award of Excellence for Urban Design and the 2017 Westside Urban Forum Award of Merit for Public Open Space.
The project is a precedent setter in the region, state, and nation. Catch up with the story of “Embrace” here.
The success of the project is due to strong collaboration and bold ideas from the City of Santa Monica, the project team, and the engaged Santa Monica community.
This week, the West Hollywood City Council approved the Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan, which Here LA has been working on for the past year. The Plan is organized around the principle of a “Complete Network.” Given the dense urban context of West Hollywood, not all streets can serve all modes of transit - like buses, walking, cycling. The Plan achieves a Complete Network, prioritizing some streets for certain modes and other streets for other modes. This means that no matter what mode of travel you choose, there will be safe and comfortable options for you in West Hollywood.
Congratulations to the City of WeHo!