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Model Imagines a Sustainable Downtown

4:57 PM PDT on June 11, 2008

Fantasy v Reality

Last weekend James Rojas and a team of volunteers created a model of the Downtown Los Angeles of their dreams.  The team’s vision is slightly different than the Downtown we know today, the automobile is basically banned from city streets.  Replacing traffic and gridlock are a series of greenways and trolley lines that would connect to light and heavy rail stations to move people to and from their offices and other destinations.  It’s a pretty fascinating vision and represents pretty much the complete opposite of the transportation policy that we see from the Mayor’s office.

Realistically, Downtown Los Angeles isn’t going to resemble Rojas’
vision anytime soon, but it is interesting to see what transportation
reformers would Imagine for a sustainable Los Angeles.  For example,
between the recent press and the Street Smart conference last month trolley cars
were popular enough with the group that lines ran down a half-dozen
streets including Broadway.

Beyond reclaiming the Downtown’s streets from the grips of Car Culture for people; Rojas’ group also set aside a lot of space for parks.  That’s not an unfinished part of the model in the upper left corner, it’s a giant park bordered by Olive, Figueroa, Temple and 4th Streets.  Smaller parks appear dotted throughout the Imagined Downtown.

Also appearing at the 7th and Fig Art Space is Gary Leonard’s photography exhibit entitled The Changing Skyline: The Photography of Downtown L.A.  The photographs are exactly what you think they are: various construction projects, demolitions and skyline views from the last 10 years.

Curating the exhibits is Linda Pollack who is also administering a survey to all interested visitors to gather information on people’s lives, from their commutes to what they eat.  The goal of the Habeas Index is to “aggregate a composite that will reveal us.”

The model and the other exhibits will be available for public viewing for “the next couple of
weeks” at the 7th and Fig Art Space, located at the outdoor mall at the
corner of 7th and Figueroa Streets.  The Art Space isn’t on the mall’s
directory yet but don’t be dismayed, it can be found on the level
directly below street level.  The gallery is open weekdays from noon
until 4 P.M.

Photos of Models: Damien Newton
Photos of Actual Skyline: One Crucial Guy/Flickr

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