street life

Volunteers Needed for a Walk Audit around Future Purple Line Stations

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First / Last Mile planning for the Purple Line Extension has begun for the Wilshire/Rodeo, Century City/Constellation, Westwood/UCLA and VA Hospital rail stations. We invite you to participate in a Walk Audit, which is part of Metro’s First / Last Mile program to develop plans and implement strategies to ensure safe, accessible, and pleasant trips to and from transit for all riders. A Walk Audit is an in-the-field analysis of the streets surrounding a transit station.

Here LA will lead the walk audits on the days specified, training auditors in the field about best practices for auditors and how to use the mobile App that we helped to develop. We will take all of the information from the audits and compile results into a proposed set of streetscape projects and designs.

Hope you can join us!

Saturday, January 12th: 10:00am – 12:00pm  
Wilshire/Rodeo Station & Century City/Constellation Station                            

Saturday, January 12th: 2:00pm – 4:00pm  
Westwood/UCLA Station & VA Hospital Station

Monday, January 14th: 10:00am – 12:00pm  
Westwood/UCLA Station & VA Hospital Station

Monday, January 14th: 2:00pm – 4:00pm  
Wilshire/Rodeo Station & Century City/Constellation Station

Listening to Each Other: The Long Beach Safe Streets Story Bench

Coming Soon to your Neighborhood: the Safe Streets Long Beach Story Bench!

Do you have a story about how traffic violence or street conditions have impacted your life or the life of someone you know? Please come and share your story at the Story Bench. You will be able to record your story and make a pledge to ensure safer streets in Long Beach. Your stories will inform the City’s Safe Streets Action Plan. The Story Bench has been roaming around Long Beach and will continue to do so, through November 2018. Check out the Safe Streets website to learn more. Can't attend a Story Bench date? Go here to record your story and send it directly to the Safe Streets team.

Here LA designed the Story Bench, as part of the Safe Streets project. The goal is to gather stories to personalize traffic violence and put a human face on the problem.

Calling All Vinyl!

Here LA is piloting a fence beautification project, using woven strips of re-purposed vinyl advertisement and construction signage to transform chain link fences.  The decorated fences will add color and 'vigor' to the street while helping to reduce waste by re-using all sorts of temporary signage from construction sites and businesses around LA.

To get started, we need your help - Let us know how we can rescue your organization’s decommissioned vinyl signage and put it to use! Send us an email at hello@here.la to donate your used vinyl today! 

A Community Dialogue with Little Tokyo & the Arts District

Last weekend we installed a temporary interactive sculpture at Metro's Regional Connector 'Halfway There' Celebration in Little Tokyo.  The large-scale installation had spaces for people to add their thoughts and ideas, as we asked them what they most wanted to see at the Little Tokyo / Arts District Metro station.  We heard about local restaurants, local markets, affordable and senior housing, and lots of trees and green space!  We designed and fabricated the activity as part of Metro's Joint Development program.  A shout out to our project partner Studio One Eleven and our friends at LA Metro - thanks for the collaboration! We will be using the findings as we develop the vision for the site. 

We are Too Accepting of LA's Hostile Urbanism

Photo of Vernon by: Dave Bullock, June Gloom Series 

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)

Read about Hostile Urbanism here, in a recent article from LAist, with insights from Here LA's Amber Hawkes.

See you at the New Urbanism Film Festival this Weekend!

Here LA Workshop

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:

Tactical Urbanism Short Films, Thursday, October 19th, 7:30pm

Street Art Short FilmsFriday, October 20th, 9:30pm

Get tickets to the Festival and read more about it here

Two Awards for Here LA and the City of Santa Monica

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. 

See the full list of APA LA Awards and join us at the Gala on June 22nd.

Also: Join us at the Westside Urban Forum Awards Luncheon on June 9th.

See you at the 2017 West Coast Urban District Forum

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Here LA's Amber Hawkes will be speaking at the 2017 West Coast Urban District Forum about: "Using Tactical Urbanism for Testing, Engaging, and Building Community"

 

Tactical urbanism employs temporary interventions to the urban fabric to create an alternative environment from the one typical experienced on a daily basis. Whether for a single day or a couple years, tactical urbanism can be used to test ideas, engage stakeholders, shift narratives and build momentum for transforming communities. The session will share examples of tactical urbanism projects in various Southern California communities employed to serve a variety of these purposes

 

Join us!

Studio One Eleven, 245 East Third Street, Long Beach, CA

Thursday, March 16 | 2:30pm – 4:00pm

More Information, including registration

Program Details:

Moderator: Brian Ulaszewski, Principal and Executive Director, City Fabrick

Speakers:

  • Sean Warner, Place Making Manager, Downtown Long Beach Alliance
  • Amber Hawkes, Co-Director, Here LA
  • Christopher Koontz, AICP, Advance Planning Officer, City of Long Beach
  • Devin Strecker, Director of Communications, Hollywood Improvement District

SAMO's MANGo Project is Moving Along

Come out for the Community Forum tomorrow, Monday, January 9th, between 6:30PM – 8:00PM - to give your input about the next phase of the MANGo (neighborhood greenway) project on Michigan Avenue in Santa Monica.  The project is transforming a residential corridor into a walkable, bikeable, and beautiful green street.

Here designers Amber and Shannon oversaw the initial planning phases of the project in 2014, which included conceptual design, a pilot installation along the corridor, and a community festival that drew hundreds.  In 2015 the first phase of the project was constructed - a series of traffic circles, as envisioned and tested in the pilot.  Now regarding the eastern end of the route, the Forum will discuss the planned improvements near the Edison Language Academy.

See more information and Forum location here

 

How Self-Driving Vehicles will Transform Urban Planning & Urban Places

Image from: Marc van der Chijs

Lots of dreamy articles and pieces are circulating this year about the impact of self-driving vehicles on our cities. 

Here are some of our favorite take-aways and thought points:

"Vehicle automation will require 80 percent fewer cars on any given highway"
- Carlo Ratti, Director, MIT Senseable City Lab

At the same time, the easier it becomes, the more that people might opt to take a self-driving vehicle. "Unless these vehicles are shared, we’ll probably see a dramatic increase of the number of cars on our streets."    
- From: Gizmodo

"Distances will become less of an obstacle as our autonomous vehicles promise media-saturated interiors that smoothly deliver us from walkable bubble to walkable bubble."
- From: Beyond Google’s Cute Car


"...many transportation plans which project outcomes decades into the future focus almost exclusively on the problem of automobile congestion and prescribe increased infrastructure in the form of new roads as the primary cure. Experts and trends, however, point to a future that will be increasingly multi-modal."
- City of the Future, National League of Cities


"...exactly how cities will change depends entirely on one thing: who owns all of these self-driving cars. There are three options for ownership when it comes to autonomous vehicles. We could continue with our current system, in which people own private cars. We could begin using shared fleets, owned by companies like Google, municipal cab companies, or cities themselves, that operate a bit like taxis, picking up one person at a time. Or—and this is the method preferred by many urban planners—we could turn to shared fleets that also offer shared rides, like Uber Pool, in which you take the backseat with some strangers headed in the same direction."
- From Slate.com

We need to take care: "Rivers of older cars—who, in the future as today, tend to be poorer—may be excluded from certain parts of the city (as they already are in Paris) or shunted into traffic jams while AVs race by in another lane."
- From Slate.com

Keep your eyes on one of the first test cases, as Uber tries out a fleet of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh
- Uber's roll out of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh.
 

New Pictures of our Santa Monica Crosswalks Installation Ribbon Cutting: Santa Monica's 'Embrace'

Check out some pictures from this morning's ribbon cutting for the Here LA designed crosswalk art at 2nd and Arizona (and another HD design at Ocean and Broadway).  

The artwork at 2nd and Arizona is titled, Santa Monica's 'Embrace'.  

Thanks to the team that made it happen at the City of Santa Monica and at NowArt LA.

Read More on Curbed LA  and Santa Monica Next

Check out the NBC LA News Story

And the NY Times

Santa Monica Crosswalks Art getting Installed This Week!

This morning, two of the three Here LA designed art crosswalks in Santa Monica - at Ocean and Broadway - were unveiled after an all-night install by the awesome install team! The final full-field art crosswalk will be painted tonight 9pm - 6am, so look out for the new colors at Arizona and 2nd tomorrow morning.  The crosswalks pilot is part of the City's Pedestrian Action Plan and Vision Zero goals adopted earlier this year. The crosswalks will be in place for up to 12 months.

Join us for the ribbon cutting opening ceremony, Wednesday 9am during the Santa Monica Farmers Market, at 2nd and Arizona.

The colorful hands at 2nd and Arizona are a welcoming embrace, a message of inclusion, openness, and hope, welcoming people to the Santa Monica beach community - a hand shake, a physical touch, the barter and trade of fresh vegetables, fruit, and flowers at the Farmers Market. 

The sunsets at Ocean and Broadway are an ode to the City's orientation to the west, looking out high over the Pacific Ocean. They also nod to the Camera Obscura adjacent to the crosswalks with their simplified, almost projected horizontal landscape drawn on the street. Be sure to take a look at the crosswalk art on Ocean from the Camera Obscura itself!

All of the crosswalks celebrate the City and the Downtown, while also raising the visibility of pedestrian-ism and the walking culture in Santa Monica, encouraging people to slow down and take a look.  

Here LA Selected for High Speed Rail Station Area Plan

Here LA was selected as part of the AECOM team to provide urban design support and creative outreach to engage the Burbank community about changes that High Speed Rail may bring in the coming years.  Throughout the Fall and Winter, we will be crafting a strategy for community engagement and carrying out two workshops and creative pop-ups in the field.  Perhaps a chance to integrate some Augmented or Virtual Reality into our community events!

Surveying the Creative Crosswalk Pilot Intersections

We are imagining the potentials for the Santa Monica Crosswalks Pilot, which will install temporary crosswalk enhancements in Downtown Santa Monica, two at Ocean and Broadway and one full field design at 2nd and Arizona.  We are designing the art and working with a installation team and targeting early Fall for install.  What colors, motifs, and ideas mean "Santa Monica" to you?  Let us know at: SM Crosswalks Pilot Survey

Keep your eyes peeled for colorful asphalt in the Fall!  

Popping Up in Long Beach

This weekend we will be popping up in Long Beach at the Live Long Beach Festival to hear from community members about bicycle planning.  Come and make some music on our power-generating bicycle, eat some popcorn, and enter for a chance to win a membership to the Long Beach Bike Share.

pilot tactical Fun City street festival pop-up creative outreach Long Beach bicycle planning

Now That's What You Call an Active Storefront!

Greetings from First Fridays in Long Beach, where one storefront window was made alive by dancers in playful outfits.  We all know now that a great ground floor helps nurture a vibrant street life and indoor-outdoor interaction but sometimes it doesn't hurt to be reminded!

The Bohemian Mermaid: Making Long Commutes Brighter Since 2015

We love to check on this piece of street art along the walls of the 10 Freeway hoping that it stays put.  Two important ingredients for successful cities: Fun and Surprise in the urban realm.  In L.A, it's nice to see the human handprint on the City.