January 26, 2006

Urban Rivers: Poetics

"What can 250 feet on either side do for a river?" This question was put to me by a student when I suggested that our group use the Los Angeles River (The LA River) as a case study in our political ecology course. I first became intrigued with the river during a course on neighborhood landscapes in the spring of 2005. The Los Angeles River is 51 miles, more than half of its length (32 miles) runs through the City of Los Angeles. As part of the neighborhoods course, we spent time in Chatsworth, CA, a community bisected by the upper reaches of the river, part channelized, part in its natural river bed. The LA River Revitalization Master Plan is what some folks consider to be the culmination of decades of nature-culture-politics wars to restore ecological function to the channelized portions of the river. The Master Plan calls for the laying back off 250 feet of property on either side of the river and in five places, to make quarter-mile city-water intersections. Within the city, the river channel is sometimes 100 feet across. Add 500 additional feet; that is 600 feet of river bed. My 650 square-foot, one bedroom apartment is 30 feet wide. An urban river is a river. Urban Rivers: Poetics The Negro Speaks of Rivers Langston Hughes I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset. (Source: http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/poetry/hughes_langston.html#hughes4)

2 comments:

  1. Hi Georgia,

    I'm going to be coming out to your neck of the woods in February. There's a company that's interested in me and I may need to relocate. How do people afford to buy houses in Berkeley? Where are the affordable homes? I'd appreciate any help you could give.
    Thanks! I found your blog off candy blog. Isn't Cybele's blog the best?
    Deb

    ReplyDelete
  2. For housing: craigslist.
    Here is a good map of Berkeley neighborhoods: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/neighborhoods/
    Also check out the Berkeley Daily Planet newspaper online.
    UC Berkeley info: http://calstuff.blogsome.com/
    West Berkeley blog: http://www.cameliastreet.org/

    Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete

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