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.

We’ve signed a book contract!

Prairieform's John Kamp and James Rojas of Place It! have just signed a book contract with Island Press!
Prairieform’s John Kamp and James Rojas of Place It! have just signed a book contract with Island Press!

Yep, it’s official: we’re writing a book – along with James Rojas of Place it! The book’s topic will, in a nutshell, be about creative, hands-on, and sensory-based ways of doing community engagement for urban design, landscape, and planning projects. We’re at an all-hands-on-deck moment with so many issues in our country and world at this point and time, so engaging everyone in the process – regardless of background, language ability, culture – is critical. More details as they come.

-John Kamp