Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saturday's Pomona Experience

So Saturday I rode my bike to the Pomona Baking Co. one word. AWESOME. Owner operated and extremely friendly owners. So friendly it's surreal. Since they were closing for the day and I was a new customer I was given a free loaf of Curry Bread on my way out. That Curry Bread is GREAT. It's DELICIOUS, something about the flavor lingering in your mouth makes you just want to have more of it. I'm trying to figure out what to eat with it because the flavor is full enough on its own.
Just outside the Antique row street fair was going. Though i didn't purchase anything i found a lot of things I was interested in. Namely some old kitchen utensils. I am currently on the hunt for a water buffalo figurine so I'm hoping I'll eventually find one.
Later on that evening my girlfriend and I went clubbing at... you guessed it, The Locust Lounge in the Antique Row. We arrived early and that enabled us to check out the space before anyone showed up. The bar is fully equipped and there is a lounge area/balcony overlooking the bar, one won't get lost in the club and the dance floor is a tad small, there was a flat screen up on the wall next to the dance floor but it seemed a bit small and slightly out of place, I figure they had to put SOMETHING on the wall. We left for a little while and came back, the woman at the door said she'd recognize us and we found out why later. When we returned, though not packed, it was a good enough crowd to where it was only a little difficult to walk through. They played strictly hip hop which is just fine for dancing. The people at the door were very kind both times we came and there was a TON of security. Here's why the woman recognized us, the crowd was predominately black, very much so, but for me I'm used to being a minority everywhere I go (because i'm mixed). There were small numbers of Whites and Hispanics and the only Asian was my girlfriend. It's a nice club, but the crowd isn't very diverse, even though it's not diverse no one gave us any strange looks for being there. People were there to have a good time and they did. oh yeah, door charge was 10 bucks for each of us because we got there early. So though Locust Lounge is brand new, it has a ton of potential and if they had a strictly 60's - 70's funk & Soul night(James brown, Curtis Mayfield, George Clinton) I'd definitely go more often.

Pomona Baking Co. Two Thumbs up.
Locust Lounge... I'm waiting to see what you become before I make my final decision.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Semantics: The Dao of Nature (Landscape Arch.)

Way to the waterfall
Originally uploaded by tienoz
Today in class after discussing an article titled "Ecology and Landscape as Agents of Creativity" by James Corner I have the following thoughts.

What is Nature? Many people view nature as separate from man. Most people categorize things as either "man-made" or "natural" never seeing them as the same.

This is a fundamental mistake in our language as well as our actions and how we go about things. Man-kind can never be separate from nature. We grew out of nature and we will thus be a part of it forever. We must learn to put ourselves back into the context of nature. Our earth is going to change and we must thus change along with it. We may or may not affect that change, but regardless our actions are a part of the flow of nature and we are responsible for those actions.

Imagine an ant, the anthill it builds, or a bird and its nest. We have those too, they are called buildings, parks, roads and cities. Our cities form like crystals growing out of a Petri dish. Those “natural curves” are just as natural as straight lines. Some people say there are not straight lines in nature, but halite crystals are rectilinear and the last time I checked slate was pretty straight.

We can no longer separate ourselves from nature in any way. In every way it is fundamentally incorrect fallacious to do so. We ARE nature whether our actions are construed as “good” or “bad” towards the environment. Pollution, carbon dioxide emissions, nuclear wars, saving trees, replenishing the ozone layer, recycling, cloning, hiking, extinction, ALL part of that is our contribution to the flow of nature even if that extinction is our own. Everything we do is within the context of this planet. Even those that travel outside the planet not only developed the means from here but they are still a part of the bigger picture of nature: the universe. We must stop separating ourselves we are not better than our planet.


What is art? In eastern cultures "Art" is interchangeable with "Way". An anglicized version of the Chinese word "Dao" is beginning to be utilized to describe an almost spiritual practice of something. The famous book by Lao Tzu the "Tao Teh Ching" means the "Way (or Art) of Life." In Korean it's "Do" as in "Tae Kwon Do" the "Fist Foot Art/Way". Even in western culture, when one receives a Bachelor of Arts they have learned the "Art" of their field.

Landscape Architects often brush the line of the traditional sense of what art is. Art appeals to the senses and emotions, it is often expressive and almost always creative. But this version of art is not sufficient to describe what it is we do or at least should be doing.

The Art of Nature. The Way of Nature. The Means, The Practice, The DAO of Nature. This is where we must internally and externally, in thoughts, words and actions, in rewriting language, this is where we must look to not in the future but now.

I find that in order to become a meaningful Landscape Architect one must learn to practice nature as an art form. As simply put as that, we must learn the Dao of Nature.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Freeway? Another Carpool Lane?

I heard today that the 730 million dollars was approved to add carpool lanes on the 405 between the 101 and the 10 and the Pomona portion of the 71fwy is finally underway this month.

The 71 fwy finally being completed makes sense. Since the only part of the freeway that is not done is in Pomona. It seems silly that somewhere between Mission and Rio Rancho the 71 just becomes a normal street.

BUT another carpool lane? seriously? 730Million? In our car culture with high gas prices, a depleting oil supply, and an environment in danger is there really no other choice? I don't think so. If we keep expanding freeways people will keep buying more cars.

That money could be used for a better mass transit system. The New Aqualine looks promising connecting Downtown LA to Santa Monica. But this new carpool lane to ease congestion? Will that really help? We could relieve congestion by adding a more extensive rail line along that same stretch. It doesn't even need to underground. In fact it doesn't even need to take up as much land either!

In 1963 a monorail system was offered to be built in LA for FREE. Of course we'd have to foot the bill now, but the reality of extensive monorail systems could definitely help ease congestion.

Monorails are quiet. They don't cost as much. In SoCal they are perfect because of the weather. A giant tunnel doesn't need to be dug, and they are modular! It's 2008 and the only Monorail in Southern California is STILL in Disneyland.

Here is a list of cities with a monorail. It IS a proven system.


If you don't like monorails there are always Light Rails. many people are more used to those but they are an older technology and there is still a lot of disagreement about which one is better than the other.

The point is, if we're expected to stop depending on oil to live we really need to start looking at alternative modes of transportation INCLUDING Mass transit. It's seriously, really, time to stop expanding freeways and start expanding mass transit modes. No more transitioning, do it now Governator.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Landscape Architecture: Economy and Job Security.

I've been thinking about this a lot. Last year I had a meeting with other student chapter presidents of ASLA and a few on the professional board. I remember there was a push to get more students enrolled and interested in Landscape Architecture.

Since that meeting I had been thinking, "Do we really want that many people in the profession?"
Now that the economy is on a downward spiral and job security and the job market isn't what it used to be, these thoughts are again resurfacing.

It's simple really. If we have a lot of Landscape Architects on the market there is more competition. More competition means competing salaries, not from firms competing with higher salaries but from individuals competing for a job at lower pay. More Landscape Architects on the market mean more competition for projects, meaning not only will projects go to the lowest bidder but the quality of the work could be less (getting what you pay for). More Landscape Architects in an "economic crisis" could mean more unemployed Landscape Architects.

I'm not saying "lets get rid of some of the Landscape Architects" what I'm saying is "Let's keep our profession the well kept secret that it has been for the last hundred years."

Why do we need to push for more students to study Landscape Architecture? The market is balanced just enough. Landscape Architects get paid well, and they should continue to be getting paid well with a demand slightly higher than the supply. With the economy the way it is we don't want a bunch of jobless Landscape Architects.

Let's NOT push students to study Landscape Architecture. Let's keep it a secret, pass it on to our kids tell our close friends and instead pick and choose those that will do our industry some good.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chino Wetlands Educational Park, Inland Empire Utilities Agency

Originally uploaded by andrewkanzler
About a week before it opened myself and some classmates took a private tour of the IEUA Treatment Wetland Educational Park. Dr. Stephen Lyon one of the leaders in Wetland sciences gave us our tour and though it's still in its infancy it's pretty awesome.

Located in Chino at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency is a state of the art treatment wetland facility. Forget that the buildings are LEED Platinum, and much of their own energy is produced from methane and solar energy. Their wetlands can really help educate people alternative water usages and sources.

Almost all the different types of wetlands were shown here. Subsurface wetlands with different sizes of gravel and different plantings and also submerged wetlands. These wetlands are actually used to treat water but only as tertiary treatments not primary or secondary. After the water is cleaned it is sent to the Chino Creek just across the street.

What's really cool about this is that all the plants are California Native plants. The roots of the Bulrush reach three feet down in the subsurface wetlands and the gravel also creates more surface area for algae to grow on. In the traditional wetlands instead of mosquito fish the native Arroyo Chub is used to eat mosquito larvae.

Some of the coolest of the features is the reuse of materials, a sign post uses waste pipes and a bench (though it's a little too high) uses an old grate and pipe. Throughout the park one can see many reused materials most of which are leftover from the construction of the IEUA Headquarters and wetlands.

This reused water tower was fashioned to serve as a lookout tower. The 360 degree view photos I took (click on the photolink above) are from this vantage point, one can get an overview of the entire park and some of the surroundings.

Even the parking spots at the headquarters is pretty cool. These spots use decomposed granite and the handicap spots use permeable paving with colored paving stones instead of paint. No water runoff = good

Now if I were a critic I would say the design of the park isn't all that intriguing, but for what it is, a very utilitarian wetland educational park it does everything right. From the parking, to the planting, to the benches and even the choice of fish this "park" does it all. Here is a map of the park which is located at one end of this giant thing.

... except, I can't tell if this was a mistake or if it was done on purpose.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I want my bike lane and I want it NOW!

The Green Wave
Originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness]
One of the bloggers over at M-M-M-My Pomona Mentioned the lack of a bike lane in Pomona.

This is something I've been thinking about for a while, and I WISH WE HAD ONE! I ride my bike to school/work a couple times a week and that's about 6 miles of riding each way. I generally take Garey Ave. from near the DMV up to Holt and go west on holt until I get to campus. Even my campus doesn't have a bike lane and that's about another mile just riding on campus.

there are some parts of the city that are pretty scary. especially where there is street parking. I'll sometimes ride on the sidewalk, but with the sidewalks in such poor condition in some areas and how narrow it can get in some spots along with pedestrians it's not always the best option. Where Holt turns into Valley, it's the worst. Cars whizz by at lightning speed and there is NO sidewalk.Thankfully most drivers in Pomona are very courteous when I ride.

I've noticed that there is plenty of room for bike lanes on almost all the streets I ride on, even if it is on the street side of the street parking. AT least a demarcation would help. Now I DRIVE TOO! So I know what it feels like to approach a bicyclist when I'm driving. As drivers we often unnecessarily make extra room for the bicyclist, some people even swerve into another lane a bit to give the rider more room. But with clearly defined lines that help us determine that the bike rider is in another lane and we are NOT in that lane would up us avoid swerving to avoid a rider. Those lines help us in determining our position in the road and help us to avoid hitting riders. And as a rider it helps us know how much room we have to deviate from our riding path and it helps give us confidence that cars are able to know where we are LONG before they even see us.

Come on Pomona. We used to be the city of firsts, must we become the city of lasts? Let's get some paint and make a BICYCLE LANE, WE HAVE THE SPACE, ALL WE NEED IS THE PAINT!