Architecture project seeks $100,000 grant

Students and faculty in USC’s River Landing Collective have been furiously planning how to revamp the Los Angeles River with lush, effective green space.

Waterway · There are 51 banks along the Los Angeles River. The River Landing Collective hopes to install a park on one of these channels.  - Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan

Waterway · There are 51 banks along the Los Angeles River. The River Landing Collective hopes to install a park on one of these channels. – Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan


But now they’re eyeing a different kind of green, The collective is among the top 10 in the running to win a $100,000 grant from LA2050, an organization that works to shape the future of Los Angeles.

The River Landing Collective, which is composed of USC architecture students and faculty, has created a prototype of a park they hope represents the future of the Los Angeles River. With the $100,000 grant, the group would fund the installation of a temporary park along concrete channel on the river in Elysian Valley.

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Alexander Robinson, who led the group of students in developing the project, said the prototype will serve as a model for future parks at the L.A. River. All combined, the usable space along the river is almost enough to match the size of Central Park in New York City.

“We want to generate a lot of excitement about the river and help people develop high expectations of how it should be and how it could be a part of their lives in the future,” Robinson said.

One of 279 submissions received in the contest, the River Landing Collective made it into the top 10 by earning enough votes on Facebook. Jean Yang, a graduate architecture student involved in the project, said the group secured their ranking by utilizing various social networks.

“The last stage was focusing on getting out the vote,” Yang said. “[Robinson] mobilized us to get on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and encourage people to vote for the River Landing project.”

The River Landing Collective argues that the project benefits the city by providing it with more park space and encouraging residents to develop a relationship with the river.

“The idea is that eventually everyone has these summer parks,” Robinson said. “I think it’s important that we start to develop a more meaningful and colorful relationship to the river.”

Because of legal reasons, however, the park may be a long way off.

The group’s first step will be to acquire a standard film permit from the city in order to make a short film about its park prototype over the summer season. With the money from the grant, the group would construct a temporary park for one weekend and make a film about the build.

Robinson said he hopes to cast both students and residents of the local community in the film, which will be used to promote city and residential support for the project.

“The film would be about building this park landing and using it and imagining what it would be like to have a park here,” Robinson said.

Even if the collective does not earn the grant, Robinson said he hopes that the idea will continue to inspire students.

“If we don’t get the grant, I think it will still take on another form and continue because there is so much interest in it,” Robinson said. “We obviously wouldn’t be able to do anything close to what we had in mind, but we would re-assess it.”

The winner of the grant will be announced no later than May 8.