Urban Forest

submission by MLA_Green

Organization Name

:

Mia Lehrer + Associates

Website

:

www.mlagreen.com

Indicator

Please select the one indicator that is most relevant to your project or organization: Environmental Quality

What is your idea and how will it impact your indicator?

:

Since the inception of the automobile, Los Angeles has been dramatically altered by the increasing amount of asphalt and concrete covering ground surfaces, which absorb incoming solar radiation and reradiate it as heat energy that raises the local air temperature. The higher temperatures increase the formation of smog, heat-related illnesses and the demand for energy as well as decrease the health level of people, plants and wildlife. Exacerbating this trend is the impact of the overall heating of the planet caused by global warming – something has got to give.

With a population of over 12 million people, the Los Angeles region is a major contributor of ozone and other pollutants that adversely affect climate and temperature as well as air and water quality. As the population continues to grow, the demand for land and services near Los Angeles’ urban center continues to increase, thereby increasing the amount of traffic, concrete and asphalt. The city is expected to reach a population of almost 40 million by 2050 - so the time to approach this problem- increasing heat island effect- is now. This problem is a significant opportunity to create a robust and effective program that addresses the issue in a truly innovative way. The City has already embraced tree planting programs with admirable results however, we propose to address this problem holistically in a two-fold manner – by providing more trees while also mitigating the effects of the asphalt surfaces already in abundance throughout the urban core.

Urban Forest is a pilot program for a nursery on private property, such as a private-sector business, that will provide trees to be planted in public spaces. Built on the idea of partnership, collaboration and exchange, the business (in this case American Apparel) will house the trees on their parking lot, allowing them to grow and be cared for in boxes. The Los Angeles Conservation Corps, a non-profit organization, will lend a hand in maintaining the trees - offering up their expertise to American Apparel to ensure that the trees are properly cared for. When the trees are large enough to be transplanted, they will be picked up by partnering non-profits and government agencies to be planted in public spaces throughout the City.

In return for space allotment, utilities, operations and maintenance, American Apparel will create a greener, healthier, and more beautifulparking lot that reverses the heat island effect and the City will gain more trees. In addition, Urban Forest also has the potential to be replicated in parking lots across the City - positively impacting even more acreage through the production of more trees at more locations around the City. As an increasing number of businesses join the program, the amount of trees available to be planted in the City will grow exponentially.

Through this program, as a true multi-benefit solution, several indicators will be addressed, primarily impacting health and environmental quality but also positively affecting the education, income and employment indicators. Initializing a program that not only improves upon existing in-use parking lots, but simultaneously provides trees for the greening of the City, will improve the environmental quality of the City and provide a healthier environment for both the employees of American Apparel and the locations where the trees are eventually planted.

The program will not only improve the environment, but also provide jobs for local urban youth (through the participation of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps) as well as educate staff and create new jobs at American Apparel. Through the visibility of the parking lot at American Apparel, the trees that are planted throughout the City, and a campaign initiated both online and through signage, awareness will increase about the program and the importance of green space in the City enhancing human development and making Los Angeles a better place to live.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

:

We have a history of partnering with non-profit organizations that are focused as a core part of their mission on urban reforestation missions especially in underserved communities throughout the region. Significant projects that contribute to urban greening include:


Natural History Museum North Campus – Los Angeles, CA

TreePeople Center for Community Forestry – Beverly Hills, CA

LAUSD Campus Greening – Los Angeles, CA

We have also partnered with multiple municipalities in master planning efforts that can be developed over time, directly relating to urban greening and infrastructural greening. Examples include the following:


Pacoima Wash Vision Plan – Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan – Los Angeles, CA

Orange County Great Park Comprehensive Park Design – Irvine, CA

Compton Creek Garden Park Master Plan – Los Angeles, CA

Mia Lehrer + Associates
Selected List of Parks, Open Spaces and Recreation Facilities:

Baldwin Hills State Park Master Plan – Los Angeles, CA
Ballona Outdoor Learning and Discovery – Los Angeles, CA
Confluence Park – Los Angeles, CA
El Cariso Community Regional Park, County of Los Angeles – Sylmar, CA
Grandview Park Master Plan – Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
International Friendship Forest - Badaling, CH
Los Angeles Riverfront Greenway Phase II – Studio City, CA
Lower Hesse Park Master Plan – Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Mullholland Highway Trail Head – Los Angeles, CA
Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program Phase 7a – Lone Pine, CA
Patton Park - Los Angeles, CA
Piggyback Yard Conceptual Master Plan
Piggyback Yard Feasibility Study - Los Angeles, CA
Peck Park Canyon – Prop O, City of Los Angeles – San Pedro, CA
Riparian Parks #12 & #14 at Playa Vista – Los Angeles, CA
Silver Lake Reservoir Master Plan – Los Angeles, CA
Silver Lake Reservoir Pedestrian Path Improvements – Los Angeles, CA
Silverwood State Park Visitors Center – Temecula, CA
South Los Angeles Wetland Prop O, City of Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA
The Painted Turtle Camp – Lake Hughes, CA
UCLA Teaching and Learning Center for Health Services – LA, CA
Union Station Master Plan - Los Angeles, CA
Vista Hermosa Natural Park – Los Angeles, CA
Westside Children’s Center – Culver City, CA
Westside Rainwater Park Prop O, City of Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA
Wilshire Boulevard Temple Campus - Malibu, CA



Mia Lehrer + Associates
Selected List of LEED Certified and Sustainable Projects:

Annenberg Community Beach House – Santa Monica, CA. LEED Gold
California Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters – Sacramento, CA. LEED Platinum
Pitzer College – Claremont, CA. Pursuing LEED Platinum
Rand Corporation – Santa Monica, CA. LEED Platinum
Santa Monica Village – Santa Monica, CA. Pursuing LEED Platinum
Silverlake Branch Library – Los Angeles, CA. LEED Platinum
TreePeople Center for Community Forestry – Beverly Hills, CA. LEED Platinum
Water + Life Museums – Hemet, CA. LEED Platinum

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

:

Partners:

American Apparel

Los Angeles Conservation Corps

Northeast Trees

Hollywood/Los Angeles Beautification

City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks



Potential Partners:

TreePeople

Million Trees Program

Public Works Street Trees Program

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

:

The Urban Forest project will be evaluated primarily based on the following criteria:

- The amount of trees planted in Los Angeles by December 2013

- A set of design guidelines and a production schedule for future implementation and replication

The Urban Forest will also be evaluated on the following criteria:

- The amount of under-privileged youth participating in and affected by the program in 2013.

- Evaluating the number of visits to digital presence as a metric for increased public awareness and contributions to Los Angeles in 2013.

- Evaluating the amount of organic items sold at American Apparel (percentage of which will be donated to the project) as a metric for increased public awareness and contributions to Los Angeles in 2013.

- The amount of businesses that adopt this program during the project period.

The Urban Forest will continue to be evaluated after the initial project period:

- The amount of trees planted in Los Angeles by December 2014, 2015, 2016 etc

- The amount of businesses that adopt this program after the project period.

- The amount of under-privileged youth participating in and affected by the program after 2013.

- Evaluating the number of visits to digital presence as a metric for increased public awareness and contributions to Los Angeles after 2013.

- Evaluating the amount of organic items sold at American Apparel as a metric for increased public awareness and contributions to Los Angeles after 2013.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles? Please be specific.

Today, Southern California has the poorest air quality in the United States. The combination of copious amounts of asphalt, a distressed urban forest, and low amounts of accessible public park land are the largest contributors of this effect. Not to mention that city temperatures are getting higher – but this trend can be reversed!

As a catalyst for sustainable thinking and partnerships, the Urban Forest program has the potential to improve the overall environmental quality and positively impact the public health of the City transforming Los Angeles from a concrete jungle into a greener city – perhaps to be known as the City of Trees.

The trees will be planted throughout the City with a special emphasis on low income neighborhoods, industrial corridors, public school and public parks. The trees will provide cooling through evapotranspiration and by providing shade. The trees will also help improve our air quality by removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere and replacing it with oxygen, making it easier for Angelenos to breathe and decreasing the asthma and respiratory health problems in the City. Furthermore, vegetation acts as a natural filter for water, picking up contaminants that will improve the overall water supply.

In sum Los Angeles will greatly benefit from this program through improving air quality, decreasing the heat island effect, improving water quality, increasing awareness, decreasing health related risks and creating a healthier, more livable Los Angeles for generations to come.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

:

In 2050, Los Angeles will be transformed from a City of Asphalt to a City of Trees and a true Urban Forest will have been created. The heat island effect will decrease and the City will be more livable for future generations to come.

One of the most exciting possibilities of this endeavor is its ability to be replicated in parking lots across the City creating a greener city at an expedited pace as the program grows. This means that over time, Los Angeles will become greener at a faster pace with the potential to be fully transformed into a sustainable city of the future in 2050.

This will only increase the positive effect Urban Forest will have on all the aforementioned indicators. Environmental quality and health will be improved while there will be an increase in education and employment of LA city at risk youth, the work sector that engages in the program, and the City’s community at large.

In addition to a citywide adoption of private parking lot nurseries for public benefit, the awareness and education that is raised could also spur other projects that capitalize on this type of private public partnership for the good of the City overall increasing the City’s well being and changing the course of the City’s future into a sustainable regenerative metropolis.

Discussion
76 Pink-talk-bubble-tail

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Amazing project that really got the brief! GREAT JOB!
LA can only reach a sustainable future with project ideas like this. It is strategic in the forming of partnerships between private and public sectors as well as being completely implementable, scalable, and sustainable! This is not a one-off idea - this is a great plan for the future of the city!

by LandscapeForever
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your great comment and for your support! We are very excited about the potential for this project to grow on multiple levels and positively impact more of LA as it flourishes!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

I didn't see any mention about the types of trees to be chosen... when we make these choices we need to plan for the long term future, a more sustainable future. We need to restore/rediscover the unique potential of SoCal to have an edible urban forrest. Edible for people and edible for our native fauna. What are your plans in this regard??

by leafyeye
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your great question! Together with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Northeast Trees, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, we will work to determine which trees will work best towards creating a sustainable future in LA (and are deemed acceptable by the City). This includes natives and fruit trees! You got it!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is a really fantastic idea that solves a great deal of the heat island problems we have in Los Angeles WITHOUT a huge overhead investment of time or capital. Good job MLA peeps and keep up the good work.

by BethTimme
over 1 year ago | Reply

a friend sent me to this as he knows i am a fan of urban forestry. love this project ~ such a big idea!!

by tricia.bhatia
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you Tricia!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

urban 4ests 4eva!

by seans
over 1 year ago | Reply

I

by cameron.amick
over 1 year ago | Reply

've read about this in other cities. Finally, someone is trying to fix ours!

by cameron.amick
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you for your comment! We think that idea is innovative in that a private business IS willing to contribute to making it happen. Also, we are partnering with several organizations that are responsible for and install trees in urban spaces in LA right now:

Los Angeles Conservation Corps
Northeast Trees
Hollywood/Los Angeles Beautification
City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks

Together they will be assisting in the transporting and planting of the trees. Thankfully American Apparel has willfully volunteered to participate in the pilot program as an example to other businesses in LA!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Really? Haven

by Landscraper
over 1 year ago | Reply

Haven't LArchs in the city been advocating for more trees for decades?! How will you get private entities to all of a sudden be OK with adding trees while also requiring them to front the costs? What is stopping them now? This scheme relies too much on willful participation and volunteerism while failing to deal with the realities of installing trees within the urban environment.

I fail to see how this idea is either new or innovative in any way and is quite disappointing.

by Landscraper
over 1 year ago | Reply

Great place to start the urban forest. Los Angeles will definitely benefit from it!

by brenda.h
over 1 year ago | Reply

We think so too!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is a great idea! So exciting!

by taghrid.chaaban
over 1 year ago | Reply

We are excited about the possibility as well!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Fantastic idea to leverage existing spaces that have excess capacity for the greater good of LA and the planet! Really smart & scalable, it will set an example for other cities to grow their own urban forests!

by mikiaso
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you for your input! We want to set an example of how public and private institutions can combine resources for the good of the city! Public space is shared by all and so why not add another layer of functionality onto private spaces that only serve one purpose right now (ie parking!!)? Also, if we are going to have cars in our society, we should at least try to use the infrastructure that supports them to simultaneously offset their carbon footprint. Let's hope in 2050 all our cities have urban forests!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

A very smart concept for LA. Often municipal ideas are introduced in a vacuum and not alot of pragmatism is applied. However, this idea goes beyond concept and allows for the project to exist in perpetuity which makes it an actual implementable policy. Further, it taps on the notion of public private partnerships like no other submission in the LA 2050 project. Unlike the million trees Initiative which was a noble idea but not very realistic, this concept relies on private partners to care for the trees until they are mature enough to require little maintenance. After the trees are transferred to another location, there is very little up keep which translates to less maintenance (read: less money) for the city or a another propriator. This idea is very well rounded and addresses several problems that LA faces -heat island effect, limited urban foliage, lack of air quality- in a way that is really sustainable and for that reason it deserves a chance for implementation.

by mgarakianzgmailz
over 1 year ago | Reply

We really appreciate you taking the time and leaving such a thoughtful response. We are glad that these ideas are coming through as we put a lot of energy into coming up with a concept that is good for LA and realistically implementable. We think that having local businesses sharing the responsibility of maintaining trees in public spaces is a win win situation for everyone! We need to capitalize on the available resources and form smart partnerships in order to quickly move forward on sustainable path for LA. The time is now!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

One step closer to environmental sustainability. Such a wonderful idea.

by iritabook
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much! Let's make it happen!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Love this project! trees forever

by dg12345
over 1 year ago | Reply

YES! TREES FOREVER!!!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

YES! More trees please. LA is ideal for this.

by Treevor
over 1 year ago | Reply

YES! We think so too! LA is ready and waiting!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Very much needed project for a more sustainable and conscious Los Angeles and for a global inspiration and emulation.

by elena.vipera
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you! We also think that implementing this project will not only being more green to the city but increase awareness about how we can achieve a more sustainable future!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is great! What a fantastic idea. We need more trees, especially in urbanized areas. Lots of research shows that improves everyone

by annablu
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you for your support!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Great idea! Trees and parks increase everyone's well being both physically and mentally. this will be great and i really hope it happens!

by annablu
over 1 year ago | Reply

We agree that having more trees can improve everyone's mental and physical health! It is time to start implementing projects that bring more nature into everyone's lives!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

We agree that having more trees can improve everyone

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Let

by martinecajucom
over 1 year ago | Reply

Let's make this happen!

by martinecajucom
over 1 year ago | Reply

Fantastic project,
Let

by Laerke
over 1 year ago | Reply

's make downtown green ; )

by Laerke
over 1 year ago | Reply

It is time to bring more plant (and human) life back to the urban core!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Smells like money laundering.

by ididntkillthedeputy
over 1 year ago | Reply

Great plan. More trees makes LA seem less scary. I hopethishappensso much

by mollywjacobs
over 1 year ago | Reply

We hope it happens too!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

I

by jwbcraig
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yes! What an awesome idea!

by angela.arnett
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you! It would be AWESOME to get this grant so that we can implement this idea! It has the potential to greatly impact the future of this city! GO LA! GO URBAN FOREST!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you! It would be AWESOME to get this grant so that we can implement this idea! It has the potential to greatly impact the future of this city! GO LA! GO URBAN FOREST!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yes! What an awesome idea!

by angela.arnett
over 1 year ago | Reply

More trees = a healthier planet. Great concept! This really does seem like win-win for everyone involved.

by I.A.
over 1 year ago | Reply

We think so too! Thanks for your comment!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

More trees are better!

Theresa Rossoff

by stellaluna.rossoff
over 1 year ago | Reply

More trees ARE better!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Great proposal for establishing public-private partnerships, with benefits that translate to Angelenos of all colors, shapes, and sizes!

by Dr. Octogon
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you! We think that forming public-private partnerships is a great strategy for sustainable initiatives in Los Angeles, especially one that involves a private partner like American Apparel, one of our city's largest manufacturers, that has the power to raise awareness not only in LA but internationally!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Looking forward to the day when people think of the city with the most trrees, they think of Los Angeles instead of Paris.

by LA-Transplant
over 1 year ago | Reply

We completely agree. We look forward to that day as well! Thank you for your comment!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is a fantastic opportunity for Downtown!!!
I love to see Local Businesses involved!

by michelle.frier.10
over 1 year ago | Reply

It is true! The more local business participate, the better chances we have at revitalizing Downtown! Not to mention creating a better LA for future generations!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

This project sounds perfect for LA. We need more green trees!

by JJJM
over 1 year ago | Reply

More Trees = A Better LA!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

More trees = a healthier planet. Great concept! This really does seem like win-win for everyone involved.

by I.A.
over 1 year ago | Reply

We totally agree! Initiatives like this will make LA a leader in sustainable practices!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

We totally agree! Initiatives like this will make LA a leader in sustainable practices!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Really awesome!! We could definitely use more trees in LA.

by raffi.akopyan
over 1 year ago | Reply

More Trees! Breathable Air! Cleaner Water!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

More trees for Los Angeles !!!
And hopefully one day, less cars too!

by anais.vandenbosch
over 1 year ago | Reply

We are definitely aiming to minimize the amount of cars by increasing awareness and adding more green space to the City! Hopefully endeavors like these will inspire people in LA to get out of their car and onto a bus or a bike!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Very cool idea. Los Angeles is lacking trees and this looks like a great place to start this nursery. Hooray for plants !!!

by sullivancarter
over 1 year ago | Reply

This parking lot is well known to many Angelenos as the entryway to one of the largest manufacturers in the city and the largest sewing facility in North America! American Apparel is committed to sustainability - concentrating their entire operation within a few square miles and recycling over 150 semi truck loads per year! Not to mention their use of solar power and made in the USA mentality! Way to go American Apparel! A perfect partner for moving LA forward on a greener path! And yes, HOORAY FOR PLANTS!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

This looks really neat. The heat can be pretty unbearable, especially in parts of the city with sparse allocation of plants and trees. This seems like a great idea to ameliorate the worst of that, plus make the air a bit more breathable and improve the local scenery... I

by milt.deherrera
over 1 year ago | Reply

More trees CAN help with the heat as well as benefiting our air and water quality. We think it is a pretty goo d idea too!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

A win win deal. Pleased I it!

by dawn.white.106
over 1 year ago | Reply

Urban Forest IS a win win situation! Thank you for recognizing that!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is an exciting, innovative idea. Bravo for encouraging the use of exisiting space and showing us that truly good design doesn't have to start with a blank slate, but can be flexible! I look forward to a future with more trees!

by tattiya.k
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you! We think it is important to take a look at what we already have and see how we can use it to our benefit. The truth is LA has A LOT of parking lots and we wanted to take advantage of these existing spaces in way that is beneficial to the community, economically viable, and relatively easy to accomplish. Why not take all this car infrastructure and use it to our advantage? We look forward to a future with more trees too!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Really great way to engage the private sector to help make LA more environmentally friendly and livable for its citizens. The idea of public nurseries on private land also opens up a lot of educational opportunities.

by jillnussbaum@gmail.com
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yes! We are excited about engaging partnerships between the private and public sectors to quickly achieve environmental solutions AND increasing the level of awareness in Los Angeles! Thank you for your feedback!

by MLA_Green
over 1 year ago | Reply

Pink-ribbon-award-box-icon
Award_topvotedidea
$1,000,000 in total grants
Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-submission-inactive

Submission Began
Tuesday, February 26

Submission Ended
Thursday, March 28
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2-inactive Step2-title-voting-inactive

Voting Began
Tuesday, April 02

Voting Ended
Wednesday, April 17
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-3 Step3-title
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address

Winner Announced
Wednesday, May 08

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