Long Beach: After Successful Small Projects, City Fabrick Launches and Aims for the Grander Scale

City Fabrick, the nonprofit urba-nerd group in Long Beach, has officially launched. And this, Long Beachers, is a good thing.

The organization has no little–or amongst cities like San Francisco, New York, and even good ol’ Los Angeles, not an uncommon–task: to rearrange the city’s physical space to “promote progressive urban design that enhances the livability of communities and the health of residents in Long Beach,” according to Executive Director and urban guru Brian Ulaszewski.

And even before the formal brouhaha of launching “officially,” they did so quite literally in the streets.

Take the rather successful Park(d) Plaza. Sitting across the street from the parklets of Berlin and Fingerprints, the space reconfigured an entire parking lot into a 30′-by-75′ foot public space–while simultaneously improving ADA access and adding an additional parking spot. Oh, and they have tetherball courts to bring out your inner third grader competitiveness.

Click to enlarge. Various Walk LB cards. Image courtesy of City Fabrick.

Then we can meander to Walk LB, a simple albeit essential project that involves that highly old-school task of walking. The first Walk LB–held in Cambodia Town–had a simple goal: show people their neighborhood in slower light to see what their neighborhood actually looks like and what has to offer. This has now developed into thirteen walking routes (with more to come) through various Long Beach neighborhoods that ask people to not just regard the highlights–significant architectural, pedestrian, and historical points–but the bad as well–dilapidated sidewalks, unsafe crossings, etc.

And their future projects are even more ambitious, particularly what they call The Yards, a series of planning proposals that alter the entire westside of Long Beach. Spanning from Anaheim Street north to Dominguez, the proposal revolves around five major projects: relocating the Union Pacific’s Intermodal Container Transfer Facility; repurposing the land of the Southern California Edison corridor; realigning the San Pedro Branch Railroad with bypass; replacing the Terminal Island Freeway with a neighborhood street; and sharing the Long Beach Unified School District recreation areas.

If all goes as planned, the park created would be some 350 acres, making it only second to El Dorado in size and making it the largest within the adjacent communities of Carson, Torrance, Compton, and Wilmington. This, of course, is in addition to shifting freight facilities further west–both of which act as catalysts in increasing the health of its residents.

Click to enlarge. Various phases of The Yards project. Image courtesy of City Fabrick.

“This plan incorporates significant investment proposed for the area to reduce land-use conflicts and transportation impacts from nearby goods movement infrastructure and industrial uses while creating substantial public benefit,” said Ulaszewski. “City Fabrick developed the concept and is working with local stakeholders and government agencies to implement the plan.”

The next public event presented by City Fabrick will be their lecture series, Context + Discourse, that will discuss park development in compact cities. It will take place March 25 at 6PM in the solarium of the Willmore Building.


From Park(ing) Day to Park(d) Plaza

Last year, City Fabrick–an urban design nonprofit which attempts to transform physical environments for people–opted for a different approach to Park(ing) Day. Instead of occupying a metered space, they opted–via nothing but black and white masking tape–to create a space for the public without losing a single parking stall. Their newest project, Park(d) Plaza, doesn’t […]

What’s Next? A Re-Boot of Long Beachize

For just over a year, the Southern California Streets Initiative, the co-publisher of Streetsblog Los Angeles and publisher of Santa Monica Next, has teased that a “Streetsblog Long Beach” is just around the corner. After forming a local advisory Board, and publishing news/opinion pieces by the Long Beach Post‘s Brian Addison, we’re proud to make […]

Long Beach: Finding Ways to Get More People Walk

Walk Long Beach inaugurated its walk audit tours this weekend in the Cambodia Town neighborhood huddled north of Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero Avenues. The audits–a collaboration between YMCA of Greater Long Beach, Building Helathy Communities Long Beach, and the newly minted urban design non-profit City Fabrick–have a simple agenda: to walk around five […]