If you haven't visited the LA River yet, don't worry about it. At the moment, you're not missing much. In fact, walking by it, you might not even realize that you're crossing over a river....
A Bleak Scene
In the 1930s, the Army Corps of Engineers concretized the river to resolve flooding problems. As a result, the LA River flows down a bleak concrete channel. The channel functions as a water freeway that blends in with the rest of LA's freeway-filled cityscape. However, Angeleno city officials and residents alike are recognizing the untapped potential of the river's 51 mile stretch.
What Does "Revitalization" Really Mean?
Revitalization efforts center around de-channelizing the LA River, which means removing the concrete that lines the riverbed. Instead of a concrete channel, revitalization advocates want to see a living green space. The revitalized river would function as an extended park linking the neighborhoods it flows through.
Why Revitalize It?
Revitalizing the LA River benefits people and the environment alike. By weaving nature back into the cityscape, revitalization gives Angelenos a dose of green recreation space in the midst of concrete jungles like Arts District, Downtown, and Chinatown. City planners hope that a reinvigorated LA River may serve as a community hub that will bring people together.
Replacing the LA River's concrete channel with a soil and rock-based riverbed will improve water retention. Currently, rainwater runs straight down the channel out to the sea. Rebuilding a porous riverbed would allow water to percolate down into LA's groundwater, which increases the city's resilience to drought.
The LA River Revitalization Corporation and Mayor Eric Garcetti are leading a push to restore 11 miles of the river running roughly from Glendale to Downtown. Instead of concrete, the river will be lined with parkland that includes wetlands, terraces, cafes, and bike paths.
Explore the River
You can experience the LA river yourself by joining the Earth Day night run on Thursday, April 21st at 7pm. It's a non-competitive 5k that you'll need to register for, and the event includes post-run yoga, taco trucks, craft beer, and a bonfire. You'll see the river at night and play a part in activating the river as a community hub!