Documenting L.A.'s Reclaimed Industrial Sites

Community activists across the city have fought to clean up, preserve, and enhance former industrial sites as parks, community gardens, and green spaces.

July 13, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


In a piece for High Country News, photographer Stella Kalinina documents Los Angeles communities that have taken action to create healthy green spaces out of degraded former industrial sites in their neighborhoods. Featured projects include:

  • West Carson's Wishing Tree Park: "This site was created to serve as a buffer zone between the Del Amo Superfund Site toxic-waste pits and the community. Between the 1940s and 1970s, Montrose Chemical dumped hazardous levels of DDT in a ravine on which homes were later built. The DDT was removed in the 1990s, and 67 of the houses were torn down, but some heavy metals remain. As an extra precaution, another two feet of clean soil has been added."
  • Los Angeles State Historic Park: "Los Angeles State Historic Park opened in 2017 at the former site of the Southern Pacific Transportation Company’s River Station. In one of LA’s landmark environmental justice victories, a large and diverse alliance of community and civic groups fought for years to turn this contaminated former rail yard into a park instead of a massive warehouse complex."

As Kalinina writes, "[t]his reuse of industrial space, often spearheaded by communities of color that have historically lacked easy access to parks and gardens, provides an inspiring blueprint for how to reclaim and replenish the land, both for ourselves and the generations to come."

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 in High Country News

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