Mental Maps of the L.A. River

John Arroyo's MIT master's thesis: Culture in Concrete: Art and the Re-imagination of the Los Angeles River as Civic Space gives us an opportunity to investigate what could be: a healthy and multivalent future for the Los Angeles River. Arroyo believes that using maps, one can browse through ideas from individuals who could be instrumental in supporting its livelihood. Arroyo's "personal love" for his hometown as well as from "encouragement from other city planners, artists, and policy-makers," Arroyo's view for urban development and revitalization of the Los Angeles River is realized through the lens of arts and culture. Arroyo has always lived by the river, and "grew very interested in the way a city like Los Angeles interprets abandoned and industrial spaces".

After significant research, Arroyo came to realize that "a space like the Los Angeles River, despite the many negative connotations associated with it, has the potential to be the civic space Los Angeles has long dreamed of but never achieved. From Latino families to urban youth to large homeless encampments, the River is an environment that allows for a freedom of expression for anyone, regardless of race, background, or any other social, cultural, economic, or political factor. It is a 52-mile long space that is unique among any other existing or planned space in Los Angeles". Arroyo found the Los Angeles River to be Los Angeles' "truest civic space", unifying physical and cultural elements of Los Angeles.

Click below to browse Arroyo's thesis:

John Arroyo began posting maps in February 2010

Thanks to John Arroyo and CoLab Radio for sharing the research.


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