the River

river visions -- 2000

re-envisioning the l.a. river:
a program of community and ecological revitalizations

Re-Envisioning the Los Angeles River is a year-long series of programs sponsored by the Occidental College Urban and Environmental Policy Institute along with the Friends of the Los Angeles River and including more than thirty other organizational collaborators. These programs have ranged from educational forums, policy discussions, community activities, cultural events such as poetry readings and art and photo exhibits, and “physical” or recreational activities such as walks and bike rides along the river’s path. These events are designed to change the discourse and policy framework about the L.A. River to promote an agenda for community and ecological revitalization. By engaging community residents, policymakers, artists and others in these events, the program has helped create new constituencies for an agenda of community and ecological change. It has also helped educate Angelinos about the nature of the River and how they might begin to see the River in new ways, including the ways it can connect the many diverse communities along the River’s path.

More than forty events have been included in the Re-Envisioning calendar. In addition, a number of new events and activities have developed as spin-offs from the existing Re-Envisioning programs and activities. There has been a tremendous awakening about the significance of the Los Angeles River and how a re-envisioning process about the River and its multiple roles can also lead to a re-envisioning of the cultural and ecological and community life in our diverse region. The L.A. River, in all its barrenness and richness, in its concrete jacket and its reconstructed habitat, and through the industrial corridor and multiplicity of communities that border it, becomes the place where Los Angeles can begin to re-envision itself.

—Robert Gottlieb
   Professor, Occidental College


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