River renovation in the heart of LA

Samy Mansour
Friday 28 Mar 2008

New plans released to transform 32 miles of concrete-lined river into public green space

Mia Lehrer + Associates led efforts to plan a comprehensive open space network in and around the Los Angeles River corridor. A bold commitment is made to restore riparian habitat and to reconnect park-poor neighborhoods to River green space. The plan presents a vision for transforming the River over several generations, creating a significant public legacy for the children and grandchildren of those who will witness its implementation.
Revitalizing the river includes four major goals: (1) enhanced flood storage, to slow flow velocities to enable reintroduction of vegetation; (2) enhanced water quality, through regional scale storm water treatment at river confluences, and localized “treatment terraces” at storm drain outfalls; (3) enhanced public access within the channel via terraces and ramps, small pocket parks and ponded areas; and (4) a restored riparian ecosystem.
Greening the neighborhoods extends the River’s influence into adjacent neighborhoods, encompassing five goals: (1) creation of a continuous River Greenway that serves as the City’s “green spine;” (2) reconnecting neighborhoods to the River through a system of “green streets;” (3) recapturing underutilized or brownfield sites in park-poor areas as neighborhood parkland, and incorporating stormwater management practices into all public landscapes; (4) enhancement of River identity through signature bridges and gateways, and through programmed events; and (5) incorporating public art along the River.
Making the River green and accessible is expected to transform an undervalued asset into a valued amenity. Estimates of economic benefits accruing to the proposed revitalization concepts for the five Opportunity Areas (combined, at full build-out) range from $2.7 to $5.4 billion in new development, 11,000 to 18,000 new jobs, and a long-term tax revenue increase ranging from $47 to $81 million annually. It is intended to be a 25-50 year blueprint for implementing comprehensive improvements that would make the River one of the city’s most treasured landmarks and a catalyst for a sustainable environment.

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