The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors announced today that the county has attracted a world-class team to help update the LA River Master Plan, a comprehensive blueprint covering all 51 miles of the river.
The effort to update the LA River Master Plan was launched in late 2016 to modernize an existing 1996 plan, synthesize more recent ideas for portions of the River, and bring a coherent and comprehensive vision to the transformation and re-imagining of the LA River.
The Master Plan Team will be led by the LA County Department of Public Works with support from engineering firm Geosyntec, which is responsible for the technical water and engineering elements of the Master Plan.
Joining Geosyntec on the Master Plan team are the celebrated architecture/design firms OLIN and Gehry Partners.
Nonprofit River LA will lead the development of an extensive and inclusive community engagement and outreach process.
The team was selected via a competitive process.
“A little over a year ago, the county embarked on an important and innovative reimagining of the whole length of the LA River,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, also chair of the Board of Supervisors.
“We began by bringing together all the people who have contributed ideas and plans about discreet portions of the river in recent years, in order to develop one coherent Master Plan for this important natural asset,” she said. “The team we’ve assembled is built on great talent, including two world-class leaders in urban design and architecture, and is bringing us one step closer to our goal of an updated Master Plan that is nothing short of a masterpiece.”
“Today’s announcement validates the Los Angeles River as a river for everyone,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, who co-authored the motion that established the directive for the Master Plan.
“This world-class team, including LA County, Frank Gehry, and other partners, as well as wide community input and participation, will ensure that the LA River serves the mental and physical wellbeing of residents and tourists for generations to come,” Solis said. “I am excited to see where these financial and visionary investments bring us.”
A stakeholder engagement process is already underway in partnership with River LA. County officials will be seeking input from the public online and through community engagement events. In addition, a Steering Committee is being formed, comprised of community leaders, technical experts, and a wide variety of other stakeholders. The Steering Committee members are expected to be named in mid-March.
For the last several years, architect Frank Gehry and his team have studied the Los Angeles River in hopes of better understanding both its limitations and its abundant opportunities.
“I am proud to share the data we have assembled to inform the county’s updated Master Plan,” Gehry said. “We will be exploring and studying meaningful options for open space use while respecting the flood control mandate and other water engineering requirements of the river. I look forward to working with the county, our many partners in the city of Los Angeles and other county cities, nonprofit partners, and the public through the Master Plan process as we translate ideas into action.”
“As landscape architects, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to reconnect the River to the diverse communities of Los Angeles County and to one another — to be part of a rich public engagement process that will bring this transformative work to fruition,” said landscape designer Laurie Olin.
“Few such opportunities exist today anywhere in our country to help so many as the enhancement and transformation of the multi-functional historic Los Angeles River infrastructure into what will become 51 miles of community serving park and recreation space,” Olin said. “Frederick Law Olmsted would applaud the county’s ambition.”