Monday, June 19, 2006

hollywood's revitalization

not a lot of architecture stuff lately since I was hosting my BFF from new york this past weekend. and he can care less about architecture, so we instead spent the weekend at the beach, at the bars, and watching world cup soccer. I'm still confused about offsides and how a tie can be a loss, but I'm learning. and anyway, those players are HOT. seriously. so spending a few hours at duke's in malibu watching the game was far less painful than I thought it would be.

and I'm making strides on catching up with my reading. finally finished sore winners (great pop culture/political analysis using bush as a prism for contemporary cultural analysis), sped through the devil wears prada (what? I needed a little candy after sore winners. and it IS candy. terribly written, rambling, pointless, one-dimensional delicious candy), and am now concurrently reading assassination vacation (I wish sarah vowell and I could hang) and The Big Oyster: history on the half shell, a social and political history of the development of New York City, told through the lens of the history of the oyster industry. doesn't sound exciting? weirdly, it is completely fascinating because kurlansky excels at describing history through food. salt was a page turner.

I'm also reading through back issues of Los Angeles magazine. read through the issue on Hollywood last night and was struck by a comment in one of the articles on its revitalization. I'm paraphrasing but they were discussing the periodic publicity campaigns the hollywood chamber of commerce embarks on to herald its imminent revitalization. one component of each campaign: a pointless walk-through for journalists through the neighborhood. and then I got this email:

Hi friends and fellow walkers-

I am working with Alison Becker of Council President Eric Garcetti's Office and the Dept of City Planning on a Walkability Study of the Hollywood Community Plan area. We are conducting a Walk Audit of the major streets in the plan area to review the current build out of the street VS the street designation of each street. We will be sponsoring a grand event that we are calling "The Great Hollywood Walkabout" which will take place on Saturday June 24th from 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM with community volunteers.

Anyway, we are looking to develop new street designations as part of the Hollywood Community Plan Update that help to retain as much of the existing positive character of these streets as possible. The new street designations would be specific to Hollywood and become formally adopted street standards. If appropriate these new street standards can be adopted for other community plan areas as those plans are revised.

The way that we are going to get to the new street designations is to gather community support during the walkabout. We will evaluate the current walking conditions and character defining qualities of the important streets in the plan area.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well I need your help on the day of the Walkabout to facilitate groups of community volunteers for the walk audits. The event will start off with a training session for the community volunteers on what makes a great and walkable street. We will then break into groups and travel by public transportation to each of the streets that we have selected. We will utilize a Walkability Checklist that I will develop to evaluate each block face in the area.

Can I count on you to help keep Hollywood Walkable and to make it more walkable in the future? If so, we need professional volunteers in various areas of Hollywood, such as Downtown Hollywood - Hollywood Blvd. from La Brea Avenue to Gower Street, Sunset Blvd. La Brea to the Hollywood Fwy and others; in East Hollywood along Western Avenue, Vermont Avenue, Hillhurst Avenue and other streets.

Please respond to my email with which streets you would like to help lead a group of community members on or if you have any questions. Please pass on my email to others who may be interested.

We are at a turning point on these issues in Los Angeles and it will take the effort of all us to make it happen. You can walk the walk and make a difference or just talk the talk and see our streets destroyed parcel by parcel.

Thanks for your dedication to Los Angeles,
Deborah Murphy, Associate AIA
Deborah Murphy Urban Design + Planning
2351 Silver Ridge Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90039


At 1:50 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

The Big Oyster sounds awesome. Might have to borrow from you. I really need to be better about making reading a priority since that already scarce free time will disappear once Baby R-M comes on the scene.

As a Hollywood worker/resident I should participate in the walk about. But not sure if I have it in me right now...


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