Marked by the winding and nurturing path of the Los Angeles River, Northeast Los Angeles is rich with the earliest history of the city. It was along the banks by the River that the Tongva people established their villages 3,500 years ago, and the Spanish founded El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles in 1781. There is no doubt of the River's deep connection to the past, present, and future of the city. But what is the future of the River, which has been encased in concrete for over 70 years? How is it a part of the ongoing development of the city and its ever changing population? How can its history, landscape and wildlife be preserved and simultaneously become more accessible to a public in need of natural space?
The Northeast Los Angeles River Collaborative (NELA RC) is working closely with residents and businesses in the area to research and explore these questions, and are in the process re-envisioning the future of the L.A. Riverfront along the Glendale Narrows. The collaborative is made up of a diverse group of partners from nonprofits and educational institutes, to private and public agencies from the city, county and federal government. Click here to learn more about the partners.
From the very beginning youth have been an integral part of this process, through participation in Departures Youth Voices. Students from three local high schools explored their relationship with their community and the River, by mapping neighborhood assets and collecting and sharing stories of its residents. All the while, they learned and expanded their knowledge of multi-media production, digital literacy, and civic engagement. You can see the works created by the students here.
In the videos linked below, three Youth Voices student producers share their feelings about the River and how their participation in the program influenced how they see the future of the Los Angeles River.
Click on each thumbnail to watch the video interviews: