Designing Coexistence With LA’s Urban Wildlife

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Photo: Katherine Montgomery

One of the reasons I love Los Angeles is its blurred line between urban and wild life. Hawks are often sighted soaring above the 101 freeway, and P-22, our Griffith Park resident mountain lion, has become a new kind of Hollywood celebrity. It is easy to champion these interspecies citizens from a distance, but we must also support their habitat as part of our community.

Living so close to wildlife is becoming unavoidable as humans encroach more and more upon their territory. I have encountered many coyotes on my early morning runs through Highland Park. A friend of mine just posted a video of a bear in his neighbor’s pool in Altadena. We’ve all seen the video of the mountain lion in a Los Feliz basement. These animals are charming, but they are also doing their best to live in altered and often hostile environments. As landscape…

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Lichen: A Welcome Resident For Our Old Trees

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Photos: Gregory Han

I came across Nature all Around Us: A Guide to Urban Ecology the other day, remembering briefly flipping through as a student. I decided to read it during my commute last week, remembering how the book’s subtitle first caught my eye. “A Guide to Urban Ecology”– the book’s subtitle made me ponder the meaning of the word ‘ecology’, formulating a picture in my mind about what systems come into play out in nature versus urban ecology.

Nature all Around Us sheds some light on the subject, utilizing explanations spanning across micro to macro scales of basic ecological concepts and processes.  Of the numerous takeaways and inspirations discovered within the pages of this book, I’m motivated to focus on a single topic of interest: lichens.

Ecology is first and foremost a science, an interdisciplinary field related to the landscape, and in turn indirectly to our profession. With this foundation…

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How Autonomous Driving Vehicles Will Reshape Los Angeles

An interesting possibility: because of the economy and convenience of self-driving cars, owners might actually choose to keep their cars perpetually driving until needed instead of parking them to avoid costs. That would be horrific for traffic and the environment.

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When autonomous vehicles become the rule rather than the exception, what we’ll witness across Los Angeles and the rest of the nation will be the greatest change in transportation infrastructure and habits since horses and carriages gave way to the automobile. We’ll turn from a nation of primarily single occupant drivers into a society of passive passengers left to our own devices (literally). The question is whether self-driving vehicles will evolve into an affordable communal resource easing traffic or become an ever present hindrance related to the economics of driving vs. parking, as explained below:

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From Fancy Funicular to (500) Days of Summer: Bunker Hill’s Angels Flight

Though the movie (500) Days of Summer made this section of Downtown Los Angeles and a bench famous – again – Bunker Hill’s history and the funicular go way back. Perhaps equally interesting is the second hillside rail known as Court Flight that was a significantly steeper ascent.

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You may be familiar with this scene from 500 Days of Summer: a young couple sitting at a bench at the top of Angels Knoll Park and looking upon the city below.You may be familiar with this scene from 500 Days of Summer: a young couple sitting at a bench at the top of Angels Knoll Park, looking upon the city below.

I recently attended a meeting where city representatives updated a local business group about planning efforts for Downtown L.A. development. One of the topics of discussion was the sale of a parcel of land which includes the historic Angels Flight funicular, a grassy hillside known as Angels Knoll Park, and Angels Knoll Plaza located directly below the park.

During the meeting, a city staffer made a passing remark about citizens’ inquiries regarding the fate of a particular park bench made famous by the 2009 romantic film, “(500) Days of Summer”. Most of us in the room knew the reference.

Angel’s Flight by Millard SheetsAngel’s Flight by Millard Sheets

Angels Knoll Park is now closed to the public. If you…

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10 Things You Should Know About El Niño

Everything you wanted to know about El Niño…but were afraid to ask.

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What is El Niño, and why does it happen?
El Niño refers to the fluctuations in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific, resulting in a series of climate anomalies every few years. It is the warm part of the whole ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) cycle, with La Niña as its cold counterpart. The video above explains the process.

Why should you care about El Niño?
El Niño is part of the global climate system, thus influences not only regional, but also worldwide climate and weather. Due to the climate anomalies that come with its arrival, there are higher chances of extreme climate and weather occurrences, including floods, droughts, forest fires, and landslides during an El Niño season. There are also global environment and economics repercussions, alongside effects upon the marine biology of the Pacific Ocean, during El Niño.

What are the climate anomalies related to El Niño?
The major anomaly connected to El Niño is the higher than…

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