Written January 26, 2006 by georgia
Urban Rivers: Poetics

"What can 250 feet on either side do for a river?" This question was put to me by a student when I suggested that our group use the Los Angeles River (The LA River) as a case study in our political ecology course.

I first became intrigued with the river during a course on neighborhood landscapes in the spring of 2005. The Los Angeles River is 51 miles, more than half of its length (32 miles) runs through the City of Los Angeles. As part of the neighborhoods course, we spent time in Chatsworth, CA, a community bisected by the upper reaches of the river, part channelized, part in its natural river bed.

The LA River Revitalization Master Plan is what some folks consider to be the culmination of decades of nature-culture-politics wars to restore ecological function to the channelized portions of the river. The Master Plan calls for the laying back off 250 feet of property on either side of the river and in five places, to make quarter-mile city-water intersections.

Within the city, the river channel is sometimes 100 feet across. Add 500 additional feet; that is 600 feet of river bed. My 650 square-foot, one bedroom apartment is 30 feet wide.

An urban river is a river.

Urban Rivers: Poetics

The Negro Speaks of Rivers Langston Hughes
I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.
(Source: http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/poetry/hughes_langston.html#hughes4)

Written January 21, 2006 by georgia
Think about the local, act in the local

Note: This post was edited on Jan. 20, 2007. Hotlinked image(s) were removed. Follow the link(s) to the image location(s).

I am subscriber to Metropolis, a magazine on architecture, culture, and design. The January 2006 issue features "14 Design Visionaries" ranging from Ada Louise Huxtable, NYC-based architecture critic to Jonathan Ive, head product designer at Apple.

Of the 14 visionaries recognized by Metropolis, I think three are really thinking about the local and acting in the local.

*Majora Carter, founder, Sustainable South Bronx, NY
Sustainable South Bronx is a community-based sustainable development organization. Projects include the Hunts Point Farmers Market, the greening of Hunts Point Riverside Park, the South Bronx Ecological Restoration Training Program, and the Green the Ghetto Toxic Tour. http://www.ssbx.org/

*Jan Perry, councilwoman, Los Angeles
Fortunately Metropolis honoured Jan Perry because I have not found much online. One of the councilwoman's projects, the first South L.A. farmers market, is funded by revenue generated from the Downtown Arts District.

*Jaime Lerner, architect, Curitiba (Brazil)
Tube station; Source: http://www.uia-architectes.org/
Bus station (Curitiba, Brazil); Source: http://www.uia-architectes.org/

Written January 18, 2006 by georgia
Neighborhood Governance I

What do San Jose (California), Portland (Oregon), and Seattle (Washington) have in common? Several things actually. All three cities are located on the West Coast; each city has a history of natural resource extraction--agriculture in San Jose and logging in Portland and Seattle. Portland and Seattle are known for rainy weather and beautiful summers and Seattle and San Jose are technology centers. But, the reason for our question is the neighborhood governance programs the cities have in common.

Neighborhood governance is a deliberative partnership between the city and the neighborhoods of San Jose to create a co-evolving culture of community building and a politics of the local.

The San Jose program -- Strong Neighborhoods Initiative
Portland -- Office of Neighborhood Involvement
Seattle -- Department of Neighborhoods (Neighborhoods)

Written January 15, 2006 by georgia
An urban farm in New Jersey

Note: this post was edited on November 4, 2006.

(Ploch's Farm, photograph by local Ecology)

During the holidays we visited my family in New Jersey. On one of our drives we discovered the Ploch's Farm, Clifton, NJ. It has been in operation since 1867. The farm does not have a website but it is listed on the NJ Department of Agriculture website. The farm is open between April and October and grows a variety of fruits (peach, pear, apple), vegetables (eggplant, cabbage, pumpkin), and flowers.

(Ploch's Farm, photograph by local Ecology)

While in Scotland during the summer of 2005, we came across an urban farm--Gorgie City Farm. The Gorgie Farm is not a working farm like Ploch's. It is a community education center. The target audience for the farm is young children but we had a great time. View the Gorgie City Farm website.

Please send stories and photographs of your experiences with urban farms.

Written January 13, 2006 by georgia
changes are underway

We are still working on the localecology.org blog format including its name. Thanks for your patience through this process.

In the meantime, please have a seat and enjoy the trees and flowers...

Parker Street, Berkeley, CA
photograph by local Ecology





local ecology, 2005-2007

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