How Do You Envision a Riverfront District?: Miguel Luna

The NELA River Collaborative project builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the Los Angeles River into a "riverfront district" and to create a focal point of community revitalization. For more information visit

KCET Departures is the media partner of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative.

On April 27, 2013, the Northeast L.A. Riverfront Collaborative hosted the River Bike + Walk Spectacular at Marsh Park in Elysian Valley. During the festivities, community members and visitors shared their stories and experiences of the river as part of the KCET Departures StoryShare event. Here are their stories.

Name: Miguel Luna
Occupation: Principal at GDML, a landscape and public relations firm

What has been your experience with the L.A. River?

My experience with the L.A. River has been an evolving one. I've seen it reach more people, I've seen it reach more habitat, and I've seen more people interact with it. It's been a personal experience for me, being able to enjoy it and now being able to enjoy it with my family.

How would you envision a "Riverfront District" in Northeast L.A.?

I envision a "riverfront district" as a place where people locally can enjoy it but that others, even from the region, can come and see the L.A. River for waht it is: a place that provides a space for people to relax, but that also has an economic value. I would love to see place where you can ride your bike to, enjoy a good meal, and not have to travel 2 miles to get to the river from a place to eat. A place where people can walk to. A place where people can bike to. And a place that really sets a different tone for L.A.

If there was one place in Northeast L.A. that you would change, where would it be and how would you change it?

What point in Northeast L.A. would I change along the river and why? That's a very difficult question for me to answer because we have to see Northeast L.A. as a whole. When we start seeing it as just Elysian Valley, Atwater, Glassell Park, Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park, it's the way that people that live in these communities don't want to see. They want to see it as a whole. So I can't give you a specific point, I just know that as a whole we have to see Northeast L.A. within the context of the whole stretch of the L.A. River as an important site.

How do you think these changes in the L.A. River will affect your community?

I think there's a two-way transformation for the L.A. River and the communities. One, that the community has such an important voice to what goes around in the river, and at the same time while the river is changing it also morphs the community into a different way that it interacts with it. I think that people once start to see it in a different way, interact with it in a different way, then both things will change. It's not always gonna be an easy change, change is hard, but I think in the overall goal, and in the long term goal, for the river, for our water, for our water supply, water quality, for habitat for humanity, I think it's gonna be a good outcome.

Tell us your vision for a Riverfront District using the form below. Click here to see more interviews.

How would you envision a Riverfront District?


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