Catalytic Convergence

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Project Team

Author: Lani MacLean

Institution: California Polytechnic University Pomona

Instructor: Claire Latané

Studio: Healing, Just, and Restorative Education Spaces for Southern California; Graduate Landscape Architecture; Spring 2021

Partner: TNC Dangermond Preserve

Collaborators: Maryam Eskandari, Cal Poly Pomona LA 4562 Capstone Studio; Brian Holguin, Archaeological Research Advisor and Cultural Liaison for The Nature Conservancy

Project Description

The layers of history encapsulated within the Pipeyard site reflect major chapters of the Preserve as a whole. The ancient village site of Xalam was once a gathering place between inland and coastal villages, and a stand of olive trees placed by Spanish missionaries still stands as a memory of European colonization and the labor of native peoples in California. The ensuing years of ranching on the Preserve are active to this day. The Pipeyard is reimagined as a regenerative site and laboratory for the teaching and practice of cultural methods of tending, gathering, designing, and management in relationship with the land.

Restoration of grassland, woodlands and riparian ecosystems is interwoven with the engagement of the Chumash community and intertribal networks, emphasizing the practice of traditional methods of tending that are central to the preservation, transmission and expression of cultural lifeways that have survived centuries of colonial occupation. As a ‘living laboratory’, the Dangermond Preserve presents an opportunity for the advancement of indigenous leadership long overdue in the fields of conservation and environmental management.

As a guiding theme, pattern language and metaphor for the task at hand, the significance of weaving cannot be understated. as access, sovereignty and leadership is restored to tribal communities in the ensuing crisis of climate change. Rematriating the land and the practice of traditional arts represents a means of integrating traditional knowledge for a resilient future.

To truly manifest the intentions of The Green New Deal, overdue respect and reparations must be granted to Indigenous communities of Turtle Island, as the knowledge necessary for a sustainable future is intrinsically tied to the deep knowledge of place preserved for centuries by indigenous peoples everywhere.


Additional Links

Project on JSTOR

Studio Description

School sites, which are spread throughout communities and regions, are ideal places to build in regenerative, overlapping, redundant food, water, energy, economic, and social systems to create community resilience centers that connect into their surrounding neighborhoods. The CPP LA6121L studio explored strategies to create healthy environments for environmental and social justice. We partnered with The Nature Conservancy, the City of LA Planning Department, and the Los Angeles Unified School District to assess and redesign school sites and their surrounding neighborhoods for a positive, healthy future. We also worked with the LA4621 Capstone Studio to prepare guiding plans for The Nature Conservancy’s Dangermond Preserve outside of Lompoc, a site that provides opportunities to immerse K-12 students in a rare, largely intact natural ecosystem. Using John T. Lyle’s Design for Human Ecosystems as a loose framework, we explored design strategies that:

  • Increase physical, mental, and social health

  • Improve air, water, soil, habitat, and food health

  • Incorporate environmental literacy and green jobs training

  • Increase equity and environmental and social justice

The studio worked within the prompt of the LAF Superstudio to develop solutions that fit H.R. 109’s Green New Deal agenda of “jobs, justice, and decarbonization” with the added goal of increasing biodiversity. Students chose one of four sites to focus their research and design energies:

1. Augustus F. Hawkins High School, Critical Design and Gaming School (CDAGS) students with teacher and restorative justice coordinator Alvaro Medina: 825 W 60th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90044 (with TNC Cities)

2. Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School (ERHS), sustainable design and horticulture students with teacher Jeff Mailes: 1750 Yosemite Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90041 (with TNC Cities)

3. The Nature Conservancy’s Cities Group (TNC Cities) to develop one or more natural infrastructure typologies connecting one of the schools to the greater community.

4. The Nature Conservancy’s nature preserve group (with TNC Dangermond Preserve) on a 24,000-acre site outside of Lompoc in conjunction with Maryam Eskandari’s LA4652 studio

CPP MLA students developed guiding plans for their selected sites, and presented them to their site partners at the end of the semester. The plans, design strategies, and narratives developed for this LAF Superstudio may be used for community education, grant applications, and/or to help schools and communities advocate for policy change and funding at the district, state, and/or federal levels.