Greening the Los Angeles River
The revitalization of the Los Angeles River is regional priority that encompasses recreation, ecologic, economic and social goals. Although significant planning and fundraising efforts are still underway, a few portions of the 51-mile river have been revitalized. Among them, the Valleyheart Riverwalk in Studio City is an example of a community-driven effort to green part of the LA River. Through fieldwork and archival research, we studied the community effort to establish this greenway, and how this space contributes to the neighborhood’s quality of life. Our analysis showed that local residents access the greenway for the physical and mental health benefits that the place provides. We also found that community involvement in the planning, implementation, and maintenance of the site is vital to the success of the project. However, while Studio City is an affluent community with many active organizations, low-income neighborhoods might not have the capacity to develop similar projects, and might be further left behind in terms of park provision. Therefore, although local efforts are important, larger policy and planning frameworks are necessary to complete the LA River revitalization. If successful, the new LA River could renovate the region’s City Beautiful ambitions introduced by the Olmsted-Bartholomew 1930s plan.
, Granada Hills
Confirmed SpeakerErlyn Gonzalez and Raquel Menanno are research partners on this project. Raquel Menanno is a junior at California State University of Northridge, majoring in Urban Studies and Planning and minoring in Geographic Information Systems. Her focus is in environmental and sustainable planning. She is part of the Associated Students Sustainability Committee as the Lead of Student Life working to collaborate with students on initiatives to increase awareness and education. Research is another aspect of her life as she works alongside her professor to create a database of all the nonprofit supported park projects in Los Angeles City. Raquel is a native to the San Fernando Valley and is in the process of furthering the research on the LA River in relation to residential property values. Erlyn Gonzalez is a senior attending California State University of Northridge, majoring in Urban Studies and Planning while minoring in Geographic Information Systems. She volunteered with the International Student Volunteers (ISV) in South Africa this past summer to work on community development and nature conservation. She is currently volunteering at the East Valley Animal Shelter. When she is not volunteering or attending school, Erlyn works as a nurse full time. She is interested in increasing access to urban greenways for local communities as a way to promote healthy lifestyles.