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L.A. River/Piggyback Yard
Friends of The Los Angeles River (FoLAR)
Los Angeles, California
Size: 125 acres/50 hectares
In service to the nonprofit Friends of Los Angeles River (FoLAR) and completed in coordination with the City of Los Angeles River Office, the Piggyback Yard (PBy) Conceptual Master Plan investigates the potential to convert the underutilized 125-acre "Piggyback Yard" rail facility, strategically located adjacent to the river in downtown, to serve a more riverly purpose. Moving beyond a singular use solution, the vision integrates the contextual fabric and interests of numerous public agencies, area stakeholders and government leaders on issues such as light rail, high-speed rail, clean air, water quality and economic development. The ultimate goal is to utilize one of the largest single-owned riverfront parcels as a catalyst for integrated urban regeneration.
Using the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan as a starting point, this project addresses four major principles: restoring the Los Angeles River at the heart of the city while incorporating solutions for flood control and sound water management; creating significant public open space; connecting adjacent neighborhoods while maintaining existing rail use; and fostering smart growth for a diverse, vibrant community. The proposed plan celebrates the river's presence and improves the quality of life for the city while capitalizing on the site's strategic connections to adjacent neighborhoods including East LA, Downtown, USC Medical Center, The Brewery and the Clean Tech Corridor. As a regenerative solution to a disturbed industrial site, the vision enables natural and cultural ecologies to grow and enmesh, resulting in an environmental and social advocacy that resonates among these neighboring communities.
Over the course of seven months and as part of our Social Responsibility Initiative, our Los Angeles and San Francisco offices coordinated and participated in a pro-bono, cross-disciplinary collaboration titled The Piggyback Yard Collaborative. The group also included three other local Los Angeles design firms and several technical advisors. The resultant master plan has the potential to transform the way Angelenos live, work, play and learn and to integrate the city in a way that has never been achieved before.