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Ricardo Diaz

CicLAviaCicLAvia is an event in Downtown Los Angeles where they close major avenues and streets to host a cycling event. Although it is not limited to just cyclist, people can use their skate boards, scooters, tricycles, unicycles or simply by foot. This event is unique to the area since there is nothing like it, in Southern California. This event originated from Colombia where the city of Bogota would close the streets and basically tell the people to use them with no cars.

In Los Angeles there has been a push for CicLAvia in the previous years. When it first started it was held once a year. Now it is held four times a year and every time there is different routes that take you to different parts of the city. The one I attended was on Sunday April 23, 2013 and it was from Olvera Street to Venice Beach, roughly fifteen miles. The event was schedule to start at 10:00am to 3:00pm. I got there half hour earlier and waited for my friend to get there since I was the only one to make it to the train. Once we were all together we decided to start earlier than the 350,000 people that went. I felt weird with no cars around me and experiencing the city in a totally different way. I felt naked in comparison when I had gone in a car. I was able to see the scale of the streets, buildings and city. I also noticed how the elevation changed and we just take that for granted when we are in a car. When we were about midpoint to the destination I started to feel tired and started to doubt if I was going to make it to the end. I also noticed how the buildings got smaller. Once we got to Venice Beach, the pedestrian and bicycle traffic got really bad but in overall experiencing the city this way made me realize the scale of Downtown Los Angeles.

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Eckbo Residence - Flower FountainGarret Eckbo was born in Cooperstown, New York in November 28, 1910. In his early life Eckbo struggled financially and had to sacrifice some years to save money and attend college. He attended Marin Junior College for a year before going to the University of California, Berkeley where he majored as a Landscape Architect. After he got his B.S. he worked in Armstrong Nurseries in Ontario, California.  During this time Eckbo designed more than 100 gardens in less than a year. After working for Armstrong he wanted to continue with his education and expand on his creative ideas and entered to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He entered the university through a scholarship competition which he won. Later Garret Eckbo became the most noticeable Landscape Architect in Southern California in the 1940’s and 1950’s and he represented a new type of Landscape Design. Eckbo created over a thousand gardens, large and small. One of them being the ALCOA Forest Garden in Los Angeles, 1956-1966.

In 1956 ALCOA asked Eckbo to design a garden to promote aluminum as a soft and peaceful material. This came about because in those times aluminum was used widely in the war years since it was the main material for the aerospace industry. Eckbo accepted the challenge and incorporated aluminum in different ways in this garden for example he used it in the screens, trellises and in the centerpiece fountain that is shaped like a flower. Eckbo also thought that plants should be used to express their natural form and growth and only where spatial enclosure was necessary to be used in masses.

Source: Garret Eckbo, “Eckbo Residence/ Alcoa Forecast Garden, “in Environmental Design Archives Exhibitions, Item #814, http://169.229.205.173/cedarchives/exhibitions/items/show/814 (accessed May 15, 2013).

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Technique of how a high-rise building can change the landscape of Manhattan but at the same time the building is revealed.

Source: Steenbergen, C.M., Weide, A.B. van der, Homan, A.H.: ‘High Rishe Belvedere: transformatic van der Villa Urbana’, in: Kooji, E. van der: Buiten Plaats. Ontspanningsveld. Delf 2000 (Page 52). Drawing: A. van der Weide

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This deck was the solution for a polluted soil that had to be removed. Instead of removing the contaminated ground the designer, Thomas Christoffersen, layered a deck on top.

Source: Thomas Christoffersen, 2004. Copenhagen Denmark. http://www.big.dk

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This project was created to bring people closer to the landscape by the natural thermal showers and the geometric architecture highlights the forest.

Source: German Del Sol, 2003. Pucon, Chile. http://www.germandelsol.cl

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Blog Post # 4: Themed.

At the Border Field State Park and Tijuana River National Estuarine a person can experience many thoughts, feelings and emotions.

A person can feel not welcome since there are Border Patrol helicopters circling around the area. At times there are four helicopters flying at the same time and can get very noisy. The surveillance of the Border Patrol can also feel uncomfortable since they are circling the area by land in their automobiles and motorcycles. Besides the obvious presence of the Border Patrol a person can also feel watched by the cameras and sensors they have hidden. Also a person can feel calm and relax. They can feel this because they can be walking and enjoying the landscape. The landscape consists of the texture sand with shrubs that bloom a purple flower in late winter. In the background you can see the hills of Tijuana along with some buildings and hear the waves of the ocean crashing. Another scene at the State Park that a person can enjoy is at the beach. A person can sit and enjoy a picnic day hearing the sound of the waves crashing and if they are lucky enough a spectacular sunset. A person can also feel tired from all the walking from the parking lot to the beach. Although most of the pathway is paved or is hard packed dirt it is quite long. It is roughly 5,500 feet to reach the beach from the parking lot. From the point a person reaches the beach to the actual border fence is another 2,750 feet, roughly. Also the texture of the beach can make a person get tired faster and harder to walk on.

In the end the whole experience is unique. There are very few places on earth that you can experience this since there are not that many borders like the one from United States and Mexico. Makes a person think of how the landscape and atmosphere is changed by just having a fence separating two countries.

Blog Post # 3: Chronological

In the San Diego field trip one of the days we had to meet at the Border Field State Park and Tijuana River National Estuarine. The day was a nice sunny day with some partial clouds since it had rained a couple of days ago. Once we arrived to the State Park we waited for more students to arrive since it was hard to find. Around eleven in the morning a park ranger came up to meet with us and give us some instructions. He also told us what to look out for. For example, he mentioned to us that the Tijuana River runs through the State Park and that is where Tijuana dumps their sewage. He told us to think where the mud comes from because some of it might be contaminated. He told us where to walk to and where to turn. We walked for about ten minutes and I took the picture above. In the picture you can appreciate the landscape the State Park has. You can see shrubs and ground cover in mix with the beach sand. In the distant you can see the Tijuana hills as well as some structures across the border. We continued to walk for about another twenty minutes and we reached to the beach. The sound of the waves crashing and just taking in the moment was relaxing. After we waited for about ten minutes we turned left towards the border fence. In the distance you could start to distinguish two fences. The first fence is shorter and looked not finish. The second fence was higher and looked more durable that went into the ocean. Once we were about ten feet away from the fence the border patrol came up to us and told us we could not touch or get near the bigger fence. As I was looking at the landscape next to the fence I felt that it was disrupting or crashing the beautiful landscape.