imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Frank Gehry and LA’s New Downtown

by Art For A Change Thursday, Apr. 27, 2006 at 4:06 PM

Photo by Frank Gehry Partners. The future of downtown Los Angeles? Billionaire real estate developers have unveiled a plan to "remake" downtown Los Angeles. Artist Mark Vallen gives us the details. Reprinted from Vallen's weblog: www.art-for-a-change.com/blog (Tuesday, April 25, 2006).

Frank Gehry and LA...
gehry_la.jpg, image/jpeg, 288x198

On April 24, 2006, architect Frank Gehry unveiled his plans for the 0 million dollar re-design of downtown Los Angeles, an undertaking that is the first of a three phase .8 billion "improvement" project to be overseen by real estate tycoons, The Related Companies of California (www.related.com/index.asp?model=homeRelated&view=1&companyid=7). Construction is slated to begin this coming December. Mr. Gehry envisions "developing" a three acre area adjacent to the Walt Disney Concert Hall (which he also designed), situated along historic Grand Avenue - a district to be bursting at the seams with majestic luxury hotels, grandiose condominiums, restaurants, rooftop pools and bars, splendid retail pavilions, a health club and spa, and oh, yes - "100 affordable apartments." Something tells me a humble painter like myself won’t be able to come up with the money for one of those allegedly reasonably priced apartments.

The New York Times reports (www.nytimes.com/2006/04/25/arts/25gran.html?_r=1&oref=slogin) that the goal of Mr. Gehry, with backing from the Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority (comprised of county and city officials and chaired by billionaire Eli Broad), is to "create a new, tightly woven community downtown as well as a fresh destination for the area’s 17 million residents and the 24 million visitors it has each year." The re-design will apparently connect the Grand Avenue neighborhood to LA’s downtown cultural center, which is comprised of Disney Hall, the Music Center, the Colburn School and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Mr. Gehry is supposedly straining to design public space that will capture downtown LA’s identity, and he is quoted as having said "It’s not New York, it’s not Paris - it’s a different image and we’re struggling to find it."

I’m not struggling to find it, it’s not difficult to locate at all, it’s right there on the streets of the area to be gentrified. Grand Avenue is already home to a "tightly woven community" of poor working class Spanish speaking immigrant families and their businesses. On March 26, 2006, some 2 million of them demonstrated for immigrant’s rights (www.xispas.com/blog/2006/03/2-million-people-march-in-los-angeles.html), marching in the same area targeted by Gehry and his backers. Mr. Gehry should take a walk in that quarter of the city, but then, perhaps he already has, and he promptly put out of mind what he discovered. It’s a fair guess no one actually bothered to ascertain the needs and desires of those who live and work along Grand Avenue, but then, they can’t afford luxury condominiums, so why bother?

I was born in Los Angeles and I grew up on its streets, I know every back alley of downtown LA and once had an art studio in its abandoned industrial area. I’ve been drunk on those downtown streets, and wandered the asphalt labyrinth looking for inspiration. I’ve been chased by the riot squad along downtown boulevards and had illuminating conversations with homeless sidewalk philosophers. I’ve conspired with poets and artists in seedy downtown bars, and followed dreams along the concrete banks of the LA river - this is my city, I love it and I belong here. But no one ever asked me how I thought the downtown area might be improved. There was no debate or vote, billionaires simply swept down and told us how things would be - they decided the fate of my city.

You can see the skyline of downtown LA from Skid Row - where some 11,000 people live and sleep on the filthy cold streets in makeshift huts constructed from cardboard and rubbish. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority reported in 2005 that the number of homeless people in LA County on any given night had reached approximately 90,000 individuals, making Los Angeles the homeless capital of the United States. 0 million dollars would go a long way in alleviating such human misery. Despite promises made by the Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority, many large businesses have not been lured to the downtown area. The LA Times reports (www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-grand25apr25,0,2713405.story?coll=la-home-local) that high-end retailers are fearful of the homeless and low returns on corporate investments. "We’ve looked at downtown a lot, and I have not been able to answer the primary question of who is my customer on evenings and weekends," said Rick Caruso, the developer behind several super mega malls in Southern California.

I’ve spoken here of the social realities framing the announcement of a new downtown center for Los Angeles - but what about questions pertaining to aesthetics and architecture? The Gehry/Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority plan is promoted as an avant-garde venture with its glittering high-rise towers, cubist buildings of translucent materials, and pavilions of glass and limestone, but to me it all masks something unspeakable and profoundly undemocratic - it’s a monument to hyper-consumerism and centralized power. Andy Merrifield, writing a book review for Harvard Design Magazine about the French Situationists and their views on architecture (www.gsd.harvard.edu/research/publications/hdm/back/12books_merrifeld.html), put his finger on what bothers me: "Ultimately, the Situationists remind us of what’s gone, of the cheap thrills of the everyday city, the city now beleaguered from every side, airbrushed by corporate logos, plagued by burgeoning rents and inflated property values, greed and exploitation. The Situationists still sing a paean to the oppressed minor leaguer, to those who play in worn-out city ballparks—to those who still mix and mingle in street-corner societies in the fast-disappearing affordable parts of the city."

Surely, it is argued, the renewal of downtown LA and its transformation into a vital cultural center would be a good thing, a truly progressive accomplishment - but is this in point of fact, being offered to the people of Los Angeles? Let’s not get sidetracked in a discussion over Gehry’s abilities as an architect, the real issue here concerns the relevancy of a "city center" for a huge sprawling megalopolis like LA that actually contains several very diverse focal points. Dispersing .8 billion worth of development money to underserved and forgotten communities, with the express purpose being the construction of cultural centers, would do much to advance the arts and improve the quality of life in LA. The needs of bureaucratic government and corporate greed are served well by the Gehry/Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority plan - the people are not.

####

"Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare." - Japanese proverb

www.art-for-a-change.com/blog

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 16 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Dreams of Bunker Hill cine-arsed Thursday, Apr. 27, 2006 at 5:26 PM
great post erp Friday, Apr. 28, 2006 at 1:46 AM
The real LA is just over the river LA Si, Gehry No! Friday, Apr. 28, 2006 at 3:05 PM
architecture and the homeless Meyer London Friday, Apr. 28, 2006 at 4:02 PM
A major "where is the outrage" situation Secret Shopper Friday, Apr. 28, 2006 at 7:12 PM
Heard Some Crap on KPFK sausau Saturday, Apr. 29, 2006 at 4:54 AM
Which show... Secret Shopper Saturday, Apr. 29, 2006 at 8:12 AM
yuppie gentrification hailed on KPFK Meyer London Saturday, Apr. 29, 2006 at 1:02 PM
Jason Leary Jason Friday, Jul. 28, 2006 at 11:27 AM
More like modern. johnk Saturday, Sep. 23, 2006 at 8:06 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Irrémissible, l'inhumanité acquise en héritage S26 6:37AM

Addendum: Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Tucker Did Not Advocate Voting in Businesses S25 11:45PM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy