Hong Kong & Kowloon

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It had been 9 years since I’d been back to Hong Kong, the city where my dad was born and raised.  Many of our relatives have since moved away and the high costs of the city have kept us away for this period.  Lots has changed.  We stayed on the Kowloon side of the city.

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Sidewalks _ Kowloon.

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A wonton shop that my dad and my grandpa used to frequent _ Kowloon.

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Nathan Road _ Kowloon.  Walking down Nathan Road, the main north-south thoroughfare of Kowloon.  On the right is Kowloon Park.

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Nathan Road _ Kowloon.  A strip mall fronting Nathan Road, carved into the hill of Kowloon Park.

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Kowloon Park _ Kowloon.  On the rooftop of the strip mall.

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Victoria Harbour -Kowloon.

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Pedestrian-only street off of Kai Chiu Road near Sogo _ Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

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Sogo @ Hennessy Road _ Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

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Central Elevated Public Walkway over Garden Road _ Central, Hong Kong.

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Public Staircases _ Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.

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Central Elevated Public Walkway over Connaught Road _Central, Hong Kong.

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My dad’s old neighborhood _ Kowloon

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Goldfish Market (Tung Choi Street North) _ Mong Kok, Kowloon.

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Hong Kong Central Library _ Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

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Symphony of Lights _ Hong Kong / Kowloon.  A nightly light show on over 40 high-rises along both the Hong Kong and Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour.  Lasers!

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Michelle & Jordan’s Apartment _ Murray Hill, Manhattan

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Good buddies Michelle & Jordan have one of those views out of their Murray Hill apartment that makes one grateful for open spaces in the city.  Otherwise, skylines could only be appreciated from afar.

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WYEP Summer Music Festival _ Schenley Plaza

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Schenley Plaza, next to the iconic Cathedral of Learning, wasn’t always a green expanse in the middle of Oakland.  For decades, the plaza was an asphalt parking lot.  In 2006, the Pittsburg Park Conservancy and partners converted the parking lot back to its intended use: a park.  It was the perfect setting for WYEP’s Summer Music Festival.

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Valerie June!

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The Passage Ride _ The Afterlife of Architecture

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The Brown Derby Dome _ Wilshire & Alexandria

"Los Angeles is known as a place ready to bulldoze its past in order to make way for what it sees as its future. This has less to do with instances of individual, architecturally-significant structures being demolished (though examples of this are not hard to find either), than the city’s willingness throughout its history to erase whole neighborhoods from its grid in the name of economic development — or, all too often, highways. The callousness (and classism and racism) needed to see people’s homes as, essentially, empty space on the map is galling.

This is perhaps the big story, but it is not the whole story. Because the city’s relationship to its built environment is quite complicated and probably unique. For one, there is the seismology factor: many older structures that would be perfectly satisfactory in most other places come to be understood as unsafe here. Some are torn down; some sit unused for decades as they await their fate. And then there is the motion picture industry: buildings that, elsewhere, would probably either be actively repurposed or otherwise meet the wrecking ball live on as only occasionally occupied shells here. Countless “available for filming” signs designate this ubiquitous backlot crosshatching the city.

Other stories exist as well, of course, but there’s only so much one can (or should) say in an event announcement email, right? So let’s get to the point: this week’s ride will visit a few sites that have managed to escape the urban cycle of erasure and live on past the end of their initial usefulness in one way or another — sometimes heroically and sometimes decidedly otherwise — be it through conscious and caring preservation, reuse and recycling, or merely historical accident.”

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The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools (the former Ambassador Hotel) _ Wilshire & Alexandria

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The Bunker Hill Towers _ Figueroa & 3rd St.

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The John Ferraro Building _ 1st St.

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The State Office Building _ Spring St. & 1st St.

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San Fernando Rd. & Arroyo Seco Parkway

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Heritage Square Museum _ Montecito Heights

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Morengo St. & the 10 Freeway _ City Terrace

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City Terrace Park _ City Terrace

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bruce’s buddies pancake brunch

in collaboration with Really Awesome Great Experiments and their “8 1/2 x 11 Experiment”, Bruce’s Buddies threw a supper social, pancake brunch edition.  We really wanted to take over the sidewalk, redefine Occidental Blvd. as one that has the possibility for more than something pedestrian and static: Occupy Sidewalk.

I love Los Angeles.  Bags of oranges, all year round for fresh squeezed O.J.

photo by Jamilah Welch.

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Outside the Planter Boxes _ Toronto

As some of you might know, I’m a huge proponent of livable streets, and improving the landscape and beauty of our greatest community asset and public space - sidewalks.  I even took part in Mulching trees up and down Sunset Blvd in Echo Park. I found this really great project in Toronto that I would love to meld into our own little project here in LA.

"Public planter boxes are great in theory. They’re a refuge for nature in the city. A way of cleaning our air and beautifying our streets. But in practice, many public planters are untended or empty, too big or too small for the plants they’re meant to contain, or simply falling apart.

Last month, Sean Martindale decided to do something about it in his home city of Toronto. With a grant from the arts organization Toronto FEAST, Martindale organized a project called Outside the Planter Boxes. He rounded up a group of local “artists, designers, gardeners and urbanites” to execute “planter interventions” in sites across the city. In the end, 17 participants made more than 30 projects in a single 24-hour period during the weekend of May 20.”

Beer Box Origami Flowers by Karen Abel

Grass Spills by Sean Martindale.

Snake Tail by Hyein Lee

Airport planter by Martin Reis.

"We all have stakes in our shared environments, and this public project directly engages with Toronto’s urban fabric. One of the primary intents of the Outside the Planter Boxes project is to encourage more direct participation and interest in our shared public spaces – to demonstrate that the public can play a more consciously active role in how our city is shaped. Hopefully you will find the project reveals possibilities for alternatives and perhaps more biodiversity, creative gestures, and better city infrastructure." - Sean Martindale

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mulching in echo park

some trees up and down Sunset Blvd. in echo park received some lovin - MULCH!

sources have told me that the Echo Park Time Bank & the Micheltorena Elementary Community Garden might have been involved.  highly unlikely.

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Steve Duncan of Undercity led Andrew Wonder, a director, on one of his urban excursions.

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I recall being captivated by Paris during my residency there, mainly because of the mole-like metro tunnels which connected the city.  The subterranean world, which doesn’t necessarily reflect or mirror the infrastructure above ground, has these nodes of interface which requires some sort of coordination, yet can dive under a city without anyone knowing, invisible.  The marvel of modern engineering to accommodate human existence and convenience.  Pipes, sewers, subways, wires, all running under our feet.  can you hear it?

steve-duncan

undercity

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Really inspiring and beautiful video from Monocle re: urban farming.  The video follows Prinzessinnengarten (Princess Garden) in the middle of Berlin, which took an empty lot and made it into a garden, complete with beehives and a cafe.  The only difference from other urban gardens is that this one is mobile.  Nothing is planted into the ground; rather everything is farmed in crates and above-ground planters.  The idea: at anytime that the landlord want to sell the land, they are able to.  It’s a symbiotic relationship between the gardeners and the landlords, increasing property and neighborhood values by [temporarily] transforming a vacant lot with greenery.

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It got me thinking about implementing the practice of mobile gardens here in Silver Lake and Echo Park, on sites we pass everyday, and forget about.  Such as:

Sunset & Alvarado

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Wide Traffic Islands on Glendale Blvd., North of Sunset

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Glendale Blvd. & the 2 Freeway

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Bellevue & Occidental

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Sunset & Micheltorena

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Sunset & Hyperion

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Sunset & Sanborn

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Sunset next to El Cid

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