Los Angeles River Urban Agriculture Plan | Los Angeles, California | 2014
Client: Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation
The study area is located in the City of Los Angeles just northeast of Downtown LA and bridging the LA River. Its extents coincide directly with those of the 660-acre Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (CASP) area.
By explicitly allowing urban agriculture as a zoning type, the CASP provides the foundation for this project, while the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan helped create the vision.
Currently characterized by unevenly utilized industrial and commercial properties with some residential pockets, the study area is a food desert, has mobility gaps, and likely sits on varying degrees of contaminated soil.
However, the area connects to and supports numerous well-established yet resource-lacking adjacent neighborhoods and looks forward to a future vision that accomplishes the following goals:
IMPACT • Activate the Los Angeles River • Inspire and motivate stakeholders • Catalyze green urban development • Support area neighborhoods
IMPLEMENTATION • Innovate with longevity in mind • Incorporate multiple scales • Prototype food service development • Outline flexible, enduring strategies
IDENTITY • Curate clear purpose and vision • Reach advocates and stakeholders • Develop a neighborhood brand • Showcase demonstration project(s)
SUSTAINABILITY • Reduce regional carbon footprint • Stimulate good food processes • Create community and jobs • Reach consumers on the value chain
THE PROPOSAL This project seeks to create a healthy, sustainable neighborhood by strategizing a single green planning framework inclusive of a multiplicity of goals.
The process as well as the result is assisting in facilitating responsible community and economic development focused on environmental and food-based activities in the area of study. The expansive area within the CASP is reimagined through a combination of district-wide and site-specific strategies.
The district-wide strategies propose ways to weave the CASP back into the greater urban and social fabric of Los Angeles—including connection to the LA River.
The site-specific strategies focus on key areas within the CASP that present themselves as particularly suited for catalytic investment and sustainable development. Both address needed green infrastructure improvements in the public realm as well as on private property. The task of reimagining this urban district requires building upon the existing contextual landscape in a positive way.
The goal is not to create a completely new neighborhood, but instead to leverage underutilized physical conditions, current food-related operations, community desires and newly implemented public policies to improve upon what exists; to set up a framework for private, public, philanthropic and residential partners to plug in and remain stewards.
Three of the most significant conclusions from this study are:
1. Explicitly permitted by the CASP, urban agriculture can energize this unique neighborhood by testing new sustainable project types, partnering strategies and community development.
2. Urban agriculture in this currently industrial area should be defined in a broad sense, including processing and distribution as well as cultivation.
3. Underutilized sites, food-related operations, community wishes and new public policies cluster to form catalytic opportunities for neighborhood change.