Curbed LA: 15 Big Ideas For Making an Awesome LA of 2050

From Curbed LA, by by Bianca Barragan, September 12, 2014:

The "innovation"-focused Goldhirsh Foundation is at it again, putting up a total of $1 million towards 10 ideas for making Los Angeles more awesome in the year 2050. Voting for LA2050 submissions—which range from audio games to disaster prep—is on now and ends in six days; five winners will be chosen by popular vote and five by a jury; each will get $100k. The 267 projects are grouped into five categories on the LA2050 site: PlayConnectLiveCreate, and Learn. Here are some of our favorites:

The LA River Public Art Project: Local architects, planners, and art organizations will work together to create a Cultural Master Plan for the LA River that includes "recreation, restored habitats and curated art sites" along the channel.

Bicycle Libraries: The good folks at the Libros Schmibros bookstore want to unleash upon the city a fleet of volunteer-pedaled "bespoke" bikes equipped to hold a mini-lending library of up to 25 books. At least 50 percent of rides will be on the Eastside, where the Boyle Heights bookstore is based.

Play the LA River: Hoping to get Angelenos to reconsider the river as a thread running through communities and an opportunity for interaction, this project would launch "a first-of-its-kind guide to the LA River designed as a playable card deck; an interactive website and online community; and a year of public events along the entire river."

Trail City LA: This project would create a web-based tool that would allow people to create and map urban walking trails through their neighborhoods, turning the city into "an open walkable book, an exploratory public space archive, a playful gallery about itself." One organization that already does walking tours (LA Commons) is lined up as a collaborator.

Flight of the Angels: Billing itself as "a pervasive audio game about DTLA," Flight of Angels is a location-sensitive game that sounds a lot like the coolest walking tour anyone's ever been on. The game would offer history, plus info on present-day and "possible future" LA, and use GPS to "hide clues" within the city.

Unlock the Block: Unlock the Block would create "play streets" (temporary, car-free recreational spaces on streets) in underserved areas, offering space for residents of all ages to have some fun.

Kids Play at Pershing Square: To stay in step with Downtown's new family-friendly vibe, Pershing Square is in need of some playgrounds.This project by the Pershing Square Park Advisory Board ("a volunteer organization chartered by the City of LA") would bring two new ones to the central greenspace at sites near Sixth Street and Olive.

Expo Line Safari: Developed by the UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program, the Safari would serve as a guide to riders, informing them about the natural elements—plantlife, wildlife, climate zones—that they pass as they ride the train. It will work Ballona Creek, the Natural History Museum and Gardens, and the Pacific Flyway into the mix, among others.

Cypress Park Pocket Park: Nonprofit From Lot to Spot, dedicated to improving LA's blighted neighborhoods with more open space, is hoping to turn a vacant, 4,800-square-foot lot in Cypress Park into a pocket park designed by the community, with a walking path, new trees, and native plants.

Center for Sustainable Communities in Compton: Why not turn an abandoned grocery store in Compton into the Center for Sustainable Communities? The center would offer the community access to resources on everything from "housing, transit, economic development, environmental stewardship, job training, skills development, urban agriculture, and healthy living."

Our Skid Row Community Design Studio: This project would create a design hub in Skid Row where residents and others could "design catalytic projects that will appropriately improve the neighborhood in the short term, while pushing for an equitable vision for long-term sustainability."

Leimert Park Village Studios: Leimert Park is working on a "renaissance" that could include a network of "production and recording stages, performance and screening rooms, boutique theaters, green screens, editing bays, and internet broadcasting systems" in cultural venues throughout the neighborhood and centered on the Vision Theatre.

Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles: Way to go big. This project commits to having "100% sustainability in water, energy, and nature" in the LA region by 2050, meaning that energy and water would all come from local sources.

Mapping Los Angeles Air Pollution: MyAir LA would be a mobile app that users could rely on for information about air cleanliness, including sources of air pollution in their immediate area and air quality updates.

Los Angeles Resilience Rating System: Here's one for all the disaster-preppers out there. This project from the US Green Building Council-Los Angeles would help to develop a rating system that works with existing tools to "help decision-makers implement resilience strategies for projects ranging from new construction to existing building operation" on any scale, large or small.