Was one of your new year’s resolution to exercise more? If yes, where have you been doing your exercise routines? Nowadays, many people immediately think of private gyms like LA Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness as the most effective and/or popular places to get fit. But as we all know, gym membership is not cheap and not everyone can afford it. As part of my research as a doctoral student and my work as a park planner, I have learned that the median household incomes in a number of urban unincorporated communities (like Florence-Firestone, Lennox, East Los Angeles, and Willowbrook) in Los Angeles County are well below the countywide median ($55,909 in 2013). This suggests that many residents are more likely to rely on free or lower-cost options for recreation and exercise because they simply have little or no money to spend on amenities and programs offered by private recreational facilities. So what opportunities are there for those do not have the means to join a private gym? [Read more…] about Where Do You Exercise? – Public and affordable fitness resources in LA
Cruising one day along Commonwealth Avenue in Fullerton, CA, I noticed a sequence of fallen birds that were either decayed or decaying on the sidewalk. It seemed to be the result of a complex context; an intersection of natural habitat and built (man-made) artifact (in this case a tunnel with a vehicle underpass and train overpass). So I thought to myself, built environments almost always have to interact with and react to their context. Whether it is regarding the slope of a site, or natural soil conditions, or even existing natural habitats: animals, flora, fauna, etc. [Read more…] about Common Birds of Commonwealth
NI-HILL-ISM – Niland, CA
If we take, for example, nihilism, lodged between blasé and cynicism, as a superficial and yet interstitial thread we can begin to start the process of reconciliation, mutual understanding, and compromise.
We should all be on the same page, be of one fabric, united and complete.
NI-HILL-ISM – Hills and Valleys
It is a symphony of euphony, of discrete organisms and contradictions. A confluence of fluent artistic languages.
It is also about the blurred distinctions between hard objects and soft landscapes. Or within the ebbs and flows of artists pioneering and re-engineering the folk art movement in mainstream or livestream media.
NI-HILL-ISM – Good PR from Isms to prisms
(Inside ‘Salvation Mountain’ – Leonard Knight)
Three such filters as Holism, Euphemism, Racism, and Sexism are some of myriad nodes to connect to and react from. A play on color, form, and part-to-whole relationships.
Finally, we can see the call-to-action tweet (#We are saved!) or on ribbons and buttons, too.
As the year winds down, I think this is a good time to reflect on the happenings of 2014 and look ahead to 2015. Since I have already shared my reflections (see What is this Planner Thankful For?), I want to take some time now to talk about some events that planners, architects, and landscape architects can look forward to in the new year. For those of you who follow my writing, you know that I am a big fan of conferences. As I explained in Rest for the Weary Planner, I see conferences as opportunities to learn, grow, network, and be encouraged. I always return to work from conferences feeling refreshed and more prepared to take on the work that awaits me. In 2014, I was fortunate to be able to attend four events or conferences that contributed to my professional and personal growth: UCLA Extension Land Use Law & Planning Conference, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr: A Vision for the American West, National Outdoor Recreation Conference, and APA California Conference. Without further ado, here are ten conferences and meetings that may be of interest to those in the fields of planning, architecture, and landscape architecture: [Read more…] about Looking Ahead to 2015: Events for Planners
It is that time of year again when we think about giving and receiving gifts. Last year, I shared my ideas on the perfect gifts for planners in Presents for Plannerds which has turned out to be one of my more popular articles. This suggests to me that: a) planners are generous and want to find gifts for their colleagues; b) planners are eager to find unique gifts for themselves; c) planners just have some really good friends who want to get them the perfect present; and/or d) all of the above. All joking aside, I am pleased that my list has been helpful to some folks. While most of the items I mentioned in 2013 are still valid and available, I would like to highlight various new products that I learned about this year. Without further ado, here is my 2014 edition of Presents for Plannerds: [Read more…] about Presents for Plannerds: 2014 Edition
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is unequivocally my favorite holiday of the year because it gives me more time to both spend with my family and think about how blessed I have been. And I believe that it is important and good for my soul to reflect upon what I am particularly thankful for. Here are the things that quickly came to mind and perhaps you can relate to them as well. [Read more…] about What is this Planner Thankful For?
If you have to capture “urban planning” using just two or three words, what would you say? I distinctly remember being asked this question while I was a graduate student. The words that immediately jumped to my mind were foresight, hope, and coordination. [Read more…] about Coordination: Can’t Plan Without It
The Campanile at the University of California, Berkeley, will be turning 100 years old next year -for those that do not already know. To celebrate this special centennial occasion the school is planning several events around summertime culminating in the 2015 Homecoming celebration (LaDawn Duvall, Campus Executive Director of Visitor and Parent Services). [Read more…] about Happy Birthday, Campanile!!
Earlier this summer, I published an article on these pages remarking on the growing scholarship on informality in the U.S. housing market.  My article was intended as an opening salvo to planning academics who, as I see it, fail to understand American informal housing from the implementation side of planning—the enforcement and regulatory standpoint. [Read more…] about Response to Comments: The Informal Housing Debate Remains Open
Rest is defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as “cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength” (verb) and “an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity” (noun). While it may be obvious to all what “rest” is, I started this article with the above definitions to get us on the same page. In particular, I want to make sure that we do not simply equate “rest” with taking a nap or getting some sleep; if we did, this article would be very short! But what I want to focus on are some ways that planners can use to relax, refresh ourselves, or recover strength. After all, even though Business Insider listed urban and regional planners as one of the top “15 High-Paying Jobs for People Who Don’t Like Stress,” those of us who work as professional planners know firsthand how stressful and challenging our work can be. [Read more…] about Rest for the Weary Planner