Our River, Ourselves

The moribund state of the Los Angeles River reflects the zeitgeist of the city that it runs through, says The Economist. A mile wide but an inch deep, revitalization proposals are too conceptual at best and too feeble at worst.

"Once it emerges from the San Fernando Valley to run through downtown Los Angeles and various industrial cities before spilling into the Pacific near the port of Long Beach, the 'river' is really a pathetic trickle composed almost entirely of treated sewage. It runs in a concrete channel under freeways and along railway tracks, invisible to most people. Graffiti mark the turfs of rival gangs. It smells not of fresh water but of hobo urine, slaughterhouses and factories. [...] A Parisian, Londoner or New Yorker might find this sad-no quays, cafés, promenades, boat cruises," states the article.

"Nothing about it is natural; and yet nature constantly reclaims parts of it. In a city that worships, without irony, organic, local food grown with distant water and bodies simultaneously toned by holistic yoga and cosmetic surgery, the river mirrors what it runs through."

Full Story: Through culverts to the sea

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
poster

A Short History of America

From comic book artist Robert Crumb, poster shows how the built environment has changed throughout the decades.
$14.95