The Fifth Ecology: Los Angeles Beyond Desire


I love L.A. and there is nothing I would change about this beautiful city, except maybe peoples attitudes but that’s another story. Gallery 727 and Department of Architecture at the Royal University Collage of Fine Arts in Stockholm and the Latino Urban Forum present what will be a great show on how L.A. can survive without fossil fuel.

From their press release:

Professional students from the Royal University Collage of Fine Artsʼ Department of Architecture in Stockholm Sweden will be descending upon downtown Los Angeles to propose an alternate future for Los Angeles in which the concrete-encased Los Angeles River is radically reconfigured to become a catalyst for a new Los Angeles. This team of Swedish architects, planners, artists, engineers, writers, and set designers will transform g727 into a three-dimensional, full-scale day-glo pink model of a section of the LA Riverbank. This version of the LA River will cut a hot pink swath through the gallery space, its riverbanks lined with a host of artistic proposals on how to develop the LA River into a transformative public space for Los Angeles communities.

In preparing for this project, the students have created a strategic plan specifically for the section of the LA River that flows through the eastside of downtown, specifically through communities such as Elysian Valley, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights. This strategic plan, called The Fifth Ecology, emphasizes architecture and planning strategies for environmental sustainability, and proposes a chain of urban places which transform a currently dysfunctional urban zone dominated by industrial infrastructure into an energy producing, post-material public space of spectacular urban qualities.


Here’s a description of what the class entails,

Beyond Ikea and Carl Larsson:Exploring the wide (wild) world of contemporary Swedish Design course guided by John Benjamin Kamp
Traditionally one thinks of Swedish design in one category:  Ikea.  Clean lines, light-colored wood, with accompanying names such as Ekdahl and Pamela.   For those who know slightly more about Swedish design, there is Carl Larsson, representing the opposite end of the spectrum:  rustic, curvaceous, colorful, folksy.   However, what lies within and beyond this oversimplified spectrum? This course welcomes a group of artists and designers from Sweden who, over the past year, have been crafting specific architectural strategies for a more sustainable Los Angeles, particularly in and around the Los Angeles River.  They will bring their unique design and cultural perspective to the table, to help broaden the American mind with regards to Swedish design and all that it encompasses.  Additionally, the course will seek to introduce students to approaches to the design process that might be distinctly Swedish, and what cultural and environmental conditions of the country might give rise to both the process and the product. Beyond Ikea and Carl Larsson is a course gruided by John Benjamin Kamp who also is an landscape architect living in Los Angeles.

Class Schedule

10:00 am Meet and Greet at Public School
10:30 am Public School Opens
10:45 am Beyond Ikea and Carl Larsson Starts
12:30 pm Class Ends

November 15, 2009 at 10:30am
The Public School (951 Chung King Road)
John Benjamin Kamp

The exhibit runs through Dec. 12 and the opening reception is this Sunday from 5 – 9 p.m. Regular Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Be sure to stop by the gallery this Thursday for the Art Walk. Till then, you can view the whole project online before seeing it first hand at the gallery.

7 thoughts on “The Fifth Ecology: Los Angeles Beyond Desire

  1. Yeh, this blog wants to see homelessness, gang violence, and school dropouts. That’s been their message from day one…

  2. “post material”? Part of this dysfunctional urban zone includes, or used to include, a lot of necessary businesses like textile and food processing. Also, there are existing communities there. It’s not just industry.

    You can’t have a society that eats only imported Swedish meatballs and exists in stuff made in China.

  3. BTW – I like a lot of the ideas in their program.

    Some of it is like the 1970s all over again. Somewhere in my big pile of old crap is a bikeway proposal from around 1973. It reads like the dream of the bike coalition, combined with some ideas from this project.

    Makes you kind of wonder why it doesn’t ever happen.

  4. But more to the point, I was talking about the beautiful scenery found all over the city. Very postcard like, specially walking on the briges to East Los during sun set. Breath taking.

  5. im sure that theres so much we can do to LA, but it would take decades to make all these people conscious and want to better their city. Sad to say, but a large percentage of Angelinos dont give a fuck about their city.

  6. All I can say, is this Swedish crap makes me more than a little sick to my stomach. This is a brilliant plan for yuppies–in Portland. Of course, I hate yuppies in Portland, which is why I live in Boyle Heights, around normal, working people. Obviously, the money will never be there for this kind of travesty to be built–I hope–but dear Lord, why does every plan to “improve” Los Angeles = whitewashing and erasing its history and its industry, to say nothing of the people who live where this shit is imagined to go? Is Los Angeles perfect? No, but eliminating Los Angeles from Los Angeles to “improve” it is pretty horrifying. Maybe people should visit Disney World for this type of phony futurism. Or, hell, go with the flow, and move to Portland. Then you can ride a bike and have vegan soup brought to you by bike, and make crafts for the “Crafty Wonderland.” Whee! Good luck, I’ll even tell you where the “cool” bars are so you can meet people who just LOVE Portland and are so into sustainability and being “green” that they drive a hybrid car, with the most poisonous batteries ever manufactured. Oh my God! SOOO awesome.

    And I don’t know why I even bother with Mr. “this blog is all about homelessness, etc,” but for fuck’s sake–there is a big difference between fixing things that are wrong with somewhere you love, and replacing all of it with shiny new things for shiny new people. I’ve been thru it twice already. Liking the traditional parts of Los Angeles the way they are does not in any way suggest being pro-homelessness or anything else. I mean, for Christ’s sake!

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