A painted sign advertises affordable breakfasts at El Gran Burrito at Vermont and Santa Monica in East Hollywood. Saturday, October 31, 2020. (Elina Shatkin/LAist)
A painted sign advertising affordable breakfasts at El Gran Burrito at Vermont and Santa Monica in East Hollywood (Photo courtesy of Elina Shatkin/LAist)

Can a schlocky burrito joint be a space for a cross-section of people from all walks of life to gather and commune as strangers around late-night food before heading on home? Can it also be an animator of urban life despite its less-than sleek design? Our article on the closing of the famed late-night burrito joint El Gran Burrito just ran on LAist and looks at precisely these questions, while serving as an ode to a deeply loved place.

While the site El Gran currently inhabits will be replaced by much-needed housing, the article aims to challenge all of us to question how and why we have created an either/or situation in which there has to be a choice between housing or El Gran. We’d like to imagine and reach for a world in which BOTH are very much possible and could exist together within the same grand (burrito!) site.

Read the full article HERE.

Our article featured on CommonEdge on what kids who’ve grown up in a world of screens want to see in their ideal cities

With students facing mountains of screentime for the foreseeable future, what will their best memories of this time be? How do we make for positive memories of this time for them? What kind of world/kinds of cities do they want to live in?

In pre-Coronavirus times, James Rojas and I led a hands-on workshop with students from SOKA University of America on building their favorite childhood memories and building their ideal cities. Curiously, very few built anything remotely related to technology or screens. To find out why, we interviewed them afterwards. The result of the interviews and the workshops is an article just published on CommonEdge. Read the full article HERE.

Flex your street

Flyer for upcoming interactive workshop on making our streets more ped-/-bike friendly
Flyer for upcoming interactive workshop put on by NorCal APA on making our streets more ped-/-bike friendly

In the day and age of social distancing and Coronavirus, it is becoming ever more apparent how little space we have allocated in our cities and suburbs to pedestrians and cyclists. Oftentimes, it is simply impossible to be six feet apart on our sidewalks as they are simply too narrow. Meanwhile, traffic counts are way down, and many of our asphalt-lined streets are virtually empty. It is indeed time to rethink the balance – or, rather, shift things back into balance so that our streets can be shared by all. On Tuesday, July 28, We’ll be co-leading a hands-on workshop on doing precisely just that. Sponsored by NorCal APA, we will lead folks through two interactive exercises involving childhood memories and model-building to come up with creative ideas for more walkable, bikable streets.

All welcome. Register HERE.

Weekend viewing

The first in an ongoing series of videos on the wide wild world of landscapes and how you can be a part of and engage with landscapes and the natural world in the ways that are meaningful to you. This video looks at how to go from a lawn to a garden and manage what can suddenly seem like an overwhelming number of choices and details. “A landscape comedy,” one person described it as. I’ll take it. Happy viewing.

John Kamp