RiverLAnding: An expedition to prototype a “landing” on the banks of the Los Angeles River
This summer we propose to install River Landing, a temporary park that inhabits the concrete channel of the Los Angeles River, making its banks and dry-season waters accessible and universally enjoyable. This park and accessway in Elysian Valley will serve as a precedent for future parks on the 51 miles of river banks, a continuous blank space that is almost as large as New York’s Central Park. The project seeks to address immediate open space shortages and create a platform where the citizens of Los Angeles can develop a relationship with their river and deepen their involvement in the eventual large-scale modification of the river channel.
A standard film permit will enable us to install River Landing for a weekend, and we will make a movie about the event to spur community and political support for future, public installations during all the summers until the river banks are permanently improved. River Landing will use a temporary scaffolding system and innovative designs to turn the bank into an accessible and multi-purpose space without threatening the integrity of the channel. Because this intervention is only currently possible as a film shoot, we will cast the local community, river stakeholders, and other interested citizens to be in our film about inhabiting the river in this new and visionary way.
Inspired by Parking Day LA, which transforms parking spaces into semi-permanent Parklets, we believe that this project will lay the groundwork for the city and river adjacent neighborhoods to advocate and execute summer-long river-bank parklets all along the Los Angeles River. By building and filming our River Landing we will demonstrate the value and feasibility of these installations. Furthermore, the project introduces a format by which Angelenos will become instrumental in reinventing their river, while also beginning to enjoy it now.* We believe that the L.A. River has the potential to rival the beach and mountains as the premier accessible open-space in L.A. but it needs our voices, vision, and support to help it realize its full potential! What better way than to actually inhabit the river with community-generated designs!
*This summer, due to a city pilot program, a portion of the River Channel will actually be legally accessible! However, under the current public trust doctrine agreement you can only enter the channel through limited access points and there will be no amenities.
By creating a prototype for temporary summer parks on the banks of the L.A. River, River Landing will become a precedent for the entire 51 miles of the river, thus potentially alleviating immediate open-space shortages throughout the city and county. Furthermore, by creating a format by which Angelenos can reinvent how they inhabit the river, future River Landings will both galvanize public support for permanent modifications and allow us to collectively build a new vision of the river through actual use. The river will be the landmark open space improvement in Los Angeles for this century – this project both helps this happen and ensures we know exactly the kind of space we all want and need.
The Los Angeles River will be transformed into the most valued open-space of our city – rivaling our mountains and beaches and reflective of Los Angeles and the unique and creative spirit of its citizens.
Project team: Alexander Robinson, Abigail Feldman, Margot Jacobs, Jodie Bass, Kelly Majewski, Daveed Kapoor, Lars Jan.