LA402L AHBE Long Beach Waterfront Studio

Excited to share that AHBE Landscape Architects is sponsoring my winter 2017 402L studio! This 4th year BSLA topic studio will develop strategies and tactics for the waterfront of Long Beach and communities along the Lower Los Angeles River to adapt to rising sea levels, urban flooding, and tsunamis. From tactics to schematics, projects will develop site-specific soft infrastructure typologies suitable for wide-scale deployment around Southern California to sustain our ports and vibrant waterfronts.

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-6-25-48-pm

Screen shot from Climatecentral.org showing the inundation from just a 10 foot rise in sea level.

Our field investigations will take us to Long Beach and out onto San Pedro Bay to explore the interface between water and land (the bravely curious students may need to take Dramamine).

Infrascape readers will be able to follow the students’ progress via their blog posts to  http://ahbelab.com.

Stay tuned for updates!

 

 

An Aqueduct Runs Through It

Southern California Planning Congress, in cooperation with the California Center for Land and Water Stewardship, Cal Poly Pomona presents

A Series on The Future of California’s Water Supply

Part 1 – Our Water, Our Lifestyle
3/19/2014 @ Taix Restaurant, Echo Park

The Next Hundred Years of the Los Angeles Aqueduct

The water history of Los Angeles is marked by natural scarcity, abundance, and drought. This year’s 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct celebrates a reliable and plentiful water source to match an expansionary vision for the city. Yet local water predictability produced resource depletion and legal wrangling in the Owens Valley where the watershed feeds the Aqueduct. Now a project called “Aqueduct Futures” proposes a cooperative 21st century realignment among stakeholders to balance water consumption, watershed ecology, economics, and culture.

Guest Speaker:

Prof. Barry Lehrman, MLA/MArch, ASLA
Project Director, Aqueduct Futures Project,
Department of Landscape Architecture, Cal Poly Pomona

Event Date and Venue:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 (Meet and Greet at 6:30 p.m., Dinner at 7:00 p.m.)
Taix French Restaurant: 1911 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Registration and Contact:

$40 general public, $30 Southern California Planning Congress members, $25 students with ID. On-site registration (checks only) is an additional $10 and not guaranteed. On-line registration for this event ends Friday the 14th at 5:00 p.m. Please register, select dinner option, and submit payment at :
www.socalplanningcongress.com
For further information contact Bob Fazio at (626) 765-4036 or at rjfazio@mac.com
This event is eligible for 1.5 hours of AICP Certificate Maintenance Self-Reporting Credit.

Resilience on my mind

There are days that I feel like a rubber band – being stretched in so many different directions. Then I snap back. That is resilience.

Climate resilience is such a seductive concept like regeneration that it is one of the primary topics I teach. But not sure if we actually have the political and economic means to pull it off (nor does Andrew Revkin). Check out the video [which refuses to be embeded] of Revkin’s recent appearance at Zócalo Public Square that focused on the topic.

So what am I doing to shift the status quo? Getting stretched in all sorts of ways organizing a symposium for the LA Aqueduct Centennial with folks from UCLA (including Alex Hall and Jon Christensen who are in the video), Woodbury’s Arid Lands Institute, and my mentor Lance Neckar at Pitzer. Target date winter 2014 if we line up the funding. Stay tuned!

A quick shout out to Dan Hill for a fascinating read about the ‘Urban Intelligence Industrial Complex’ aka the ‘Smart City’ movement…

Kowloon Walled City section

Kowloon-Cross-section_seccion-Hong-Kong-ciudad-amurallada.jpg (JPEG Image, 4716×1754 pixels).

Drawn by Japanese researchers before the 1994 destruction of the Kowloon Walled City, this section illustrates what was the densest settled place on the planet – it’s estimated 33,000 residents were living at a density of 3,250,000/sq mi! Now it is a rather banal park.

Surprised that this is my first post on the Walled City, as it is a place that I’ve been fascinated with ever since I read City of Darkness by Ian Lambot with photos by Greg Girard (source of the aerial above and two inside pics below). See Girard’s portfolio for more pics.

via Zoohaus

Ghosts of NAWAPA

Cross posted from the aqueductfutures blog

The Bureau of Reclamation is proposing a massive uphill diversion from the Missouri River to Denver. The Missouri River Reuse Project [pdf] would provide 600,000 Acre-Feet of water to the Front Range to as an alternative to desiccating the Upper Colorado even more.  This evokes the ghost of the continental engineering of North American Water and Power Alliance (1964) or towing icebergs from Alaska to provide water to Los Angeles.

Water Piped West to Denver Could Ease Stress on Colo. River - NYTimes.com

“The idea of constructing conveyances to move water resources between other basins and the Colorado has been raised before and was once again submitted as an idea in this process,” Bureau of Reclamation public affairs chief Dan DuBray said in a statement. “Any proposal will be evaluated for feasibility, broad support and realistic funding potential before further consideration would be given.” – The Denver Post

Continue reading →

The dark side of solar

The math isn’t adding up for the local economics of solar farms as reported by the LAtimes.

BrightSource Energy’s $2.7-billion Hidden Hills solar power plant in Inyo County was  first estimated to boost the County;s general fund 17%. But this didn’t factor in the federal solar tax exclusion on property. Fewer than 10 local workers get permanent jobs — just 5% of the construction jobs would be filled by county residents, who are likely to spend their money in Nevada – not Inyo County’s population center in Owens Valley. Improvements to public infrastructure like roads would cost the county $11 million to $12 million. Then in perpetuity would be  nearly $2 million a year in additional public safety and other services paid by tax payers. This reality contrasts with the rosy picture painted by Oakland-based BrightSource Energy, who promised 1,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent positions, generating wages of nearly $550 million over the life of the project contributing more than $300 million in local and state tax revenues. Not much discussion of the ecological side in the article beyond the expected higher property values and decreased public access to land as habitat mitigation areas are cordoned off.

“We’ve got county residents living in cargo containers near the solar site, seniors living in trailer parks on fixed incomes — they all manage to pay their 1% property tax fee,” said Kevin Carunchio, the county’s administrative official. “Nobody is outright against these projects on ideological grounds or land-use principles. We don’t think we should have to bear the cost for energy that is being exported to metropolitan areas.”

Then there is the visual impacts:

“Residents will live as close as 600 feet from a heliostat field replete with approximately 170,000 mirrors encircling two 750-foot towers as their neighbor.”

BrightSource maintained that the power plant would not create a significant visual impact. Instead the project has been pitched as a potential tourist attraction, with its twin 70-story towers envisioned as a magnet drawing sightseers to the Pahrump Valley.

Carunchio — who is open to most plans to bring attention to the region — is skeptical.

“I can’t believe that people will drive the long way to Death Valley just to look at the Eye of Mordor,” he said.

Elsewhere in the Mojave:

“Southern California is going to become the home to the state’s ability to meet its solar goals,” said Gerry Newcombe, public works director for San Bernardino County. “That’s great, but where are the benefits to the county?”

in San Bernadino County, the $2.2-billion Ivanpah solar project will be proving a $377,000 annual payment to the county in lieu of taxes. This doesn’t cover the public safety costs.

Gov. Jerry Brown has vowed to “crush” opponents of solar projects. At the launch of a solar farm near Sacramento, the governor pledged: “It’s not easy. There are gonna be screw-ups. There are gonna be bankruptcies. There’ll be indictments and there’ll be deaths. But we’re gonna keep going — and nothing’s gonna stop me.” …

“The solar companies are the beneficiaries of huge government loans, tax credits and, most critically for me, property tax exemptions, at the expense of taxpayers,” said [Riverside] county Supervisor John Benoit, referring to a variety of taxpayer-supported loans and grants available to large solar projects as part of the Obama administration’s renewable energy initiative. “I came to the conclusion that my taxpayers need to get something back.”

Solar development isn’t looking as bright as it was – but just contrast this with permanent destruction of groundwater, nearby resident’s health, and green house gas emissions of fracking and the negative impacts of solar still make it the best energy source (other than conservation) we have.  The best place for solar is on roofs and disturbed lands – not intact desert habitat There is a place for large utility scale solar energy development, but it needs to be done wisely, not quickly.

Solar power plants burden counties that host them – latimes.com.