Sunday, September 12, 2010

August Recap: Moving Beyond Cars and Vertical Veggies

August was packed with two, yes, two de LaB events! Our first event, Moving Beyond Cars, was held in partnership with GOOD, railLA, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the Coalition for Clean Air. We took over the LA Beyond Cars exhibition in the Jewel Box at City National Plaza for a night of conversations about alternative transit in LA. As people compared stories on how they got there, and drew their routes and forms of transit on a large map of LA, the incredible James Rojas lead several of his urban planning workshops, asking people to build their ideal "beyond car" LA using found objects. Metro even gave us some awesome public transit temporary tattoos, which guests applied at the door.

We also would like to acknowledge three people who came to the event in unique ways. The grand prize went to Justin Bensan, who not only documented his multi-modal trip from Long Beach on Twitter, he also made a stop on the Blue Line to enjoy Watts Towers on the way up to LA. We love that! Our second award went to the most creative form of transit, a Pon-e Tribred, designed by Charlie Becker of the Silver Lake LA Trikke Shop. And third place went to a woman who left before we could get her name, but she very enthusiastically told us that she walked five blocks, took the 475 bus, then the Gold Line, Red Line and then went up Angels Flight! Talk about dedication!

Special thanks to Carren Jao, who wrote a beautiful recap of the night for the LA Downtown News. These photos were shot by the lovely Carla Choy, and you can see more of them on our Facebook page. And don't forget to go to CicLAvia on 10/10/10 when ten miles of LA streets will be closed to cars!

Then, the next week we gathered at the amazing Homegirl Cafe in Chinatown for Vertical Veggies! We started out with Homegirl's tasty all-you-can-eat mini tacos and delicious fresh sangria while Fandango Sin Fronteras serenaded us with live music. Then we broke into three workshops: container gardening, vertical gardening, and cooking with fresh, homegrown produce. Guests spread out into Homegirl's various gardens, including a massive vegetable garden by Woolly Pockets where they grow many of the ingredients for their restaurant.

Depending on which skill they learned, guests took home planters of pea shoots made from plastic containers, seeds tucked into folded newspaper containers, or yummy heirloom tomato salsa. Thanks to our workshop leaders, master gardener Milli Macen-Moore, Meg Glasser from Urban Farming and chef Patricia Zarate, who each donated their time and knowledge for the evening. And a big thanks to Trekking LA for partnering with us on such a fun night!

There are more photos from the Vertical Veggies event over at our Facebook page. And be sure to check out LA Commons, Trekking LA and Homegirl Cafe for more fun events!

See you on September 17 for Park[ing] Day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Park[ing] Day LA > September 17th!

It's baaaack! We're pleased once again to join our friends at Park[ing] Day LA as we transform a lowly concrete parking space into an eco-friendly pocket park on Friday, September 17th from 10am to 4pm. We will once again be in front of neighborhood fave, LOCAL restaurant, at 2943 Sunset Blvd. Come by, order lunch, have a lemonade, and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

This year, we plan to build a public performance space, with the help of talented architect Christian Chaudhari. Got a band? A guitar? Some bongos? Let us know! We're looking for musicians to play in our park all day.

Can't make it to our park during the day? Head to the Echo Park Film Center at 6pm where they'll be showing the movie Breaking Away in their ride-in theater park!

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Not familiar with Park[ing] Day? Here's more:
Too often, when people think of Los Angeles they envision a maze of asphalt, smog and traffic congestion. The automobile reigns supreme and as a result one’s ability to navigate through the City becomes compromised with the burden of too many vehicles clogging the road. Sidewalks have been narrowed and opportunities for open space, parks, civic plazas and public places have been sequestered into the hills, which unfortunately are often inaccessible to anyone without an automobile. Despite being home to one of the largest urban parks in North America (Griffith Park), Los Angeles significantly lacks adequate & accessible open space, urban parks, plazas and civic centers.

In 2005, the Rebar group, a small group out of San Francisco, opened eyes worldwide by transforming a metered parking spot into a park-for-a-day in an effort to make a public comment on the lack of quality open space in American cities. Their goal was to reprogram the urban surface by reclaiming streets for people to rest, relax and play and to:

  • Promote a critical dialogue among artists, designers, activists, citizens, corporations, and government regarding the need for urban open space and they way in which streets are currently used.
  • Energize civic life by questioning basic assumptions about urban space while offering provocative and meaningful alternatives.
  • Connect artists, designers, and activists with ways to permanently reclaim the street for people.