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 9:06 AM

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 10:26 AM
great post erp Thursday, Apr. 27, 2006 at 6:46 PM
The real LA is just over the river LA Si, Gehry No! Friday, Apr. 28, 2006 at 8:05 AM
architecture and the homeless Meyer London Friday, Apr. 28, 2006 at 9:02 AM
A major "where is the outrage" situation Secret Shopper Friday, Apr. 28, 2006 at 12:12 PM
Heard Some Crap on KPFK sausau Friday, Apr. 28, 2006 at 9:54 PM
Which show... Secret Shopper Saturday, Apr. 29, 2006 at 1:12 AM
yuppie gentrification hailed on KPFK Meyer London Saturday, Apr. 29, 2006 at 6:02 AM
Jason Leary Jason Friday, Jul. 28, 2006 at 4:27 AM
More like modern. johnk Saturday, Sep. 23, 2006 at 1:06 PM

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

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