Monday, October 13, 2008

Little ‘NoHo’ Model Draws Some Attention

"Little NoHo" as shown at the NoHo Scene festival last weekend. The "Little NoHo" project was created using common objects such as Lego building blocks, bottle caps, game pieces, dominoes, mahjong tiles, jewelry and lapel pins. The model featured parks, bridges, bike paths, plazas, streetcar lines and public art. Image Credit: Mark Kellam – Daily News

Little ‘NoHo’ Model Draws Some Attention

Artist and urban planner, James Rojas, who had built model planning projects which allow for viewer interactive input for the city of Los Angeles before, came up with a 3-D model and plan for the North Hollywood arts district and surrounding neighborhoods.

The model asks people viewing it to participate in the display by adding elements and discuss the project with Rojas so that the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency, the sponsor of the model display, can benefit from ideas shared through the brainstorm process of the interactivity.

Will any of the ideas placed in the Rojas ‘NoHo’ model ever see the light of day? Only time will tell; it is not known if any of the models that James Rojas has built have ever been adopted as a serious blueprint for urban development.

This excerpted and edited from the Daily News via -

Residents get to give input about 'Little NoHo'
Contributed by: Mark Kellam - 10/10/2008

Man-made streams along Lankershim Boulevard. More benches and a children's playground in North Hollywood Park. Improvements along Vineland Avenue.

Those were some of the changes proposed in an interactive art/urban development model that was on display at the NoHo Scene festival last weekend. Visitors also got to provide their own input.
"Little NoHo" was created by L.A. urban planner James Rojas, who was at the North Hollywood festival. He said visitors of all ages got into the act.

The feedback was varied. For example, some people said the buildings were too tall, while others said they'd like more tall buildings.

The model showed North Hollywood from Burbank Boulevard to Camarillo Street (north/south) and from Tujunga Avenue to Vineland (east/west).

He saw one woman doing something with model pieces at Camarillo and Vineland. "She said she was recreating all the traffic accidents that happen there," Rojas said, chuckling.

As part of the model, Rojas put a man-made stream running down the center of Lankershim, which got lots of positive comments.

He also created traffic roundabouts along Burbank, Tujunga and Camarillo. "There are super long streets in the Valley," Rojas said. "The roundabouts break things up and make the streets more pedestrian friendly."

Rojas made a park with a lake off Tujunga, which kids enjoyed and provided whimsical input. "They put mermaids in the lake," he said.

Rojas has done interactive models before, including a model for the L.A. River project last year and at an event in Watts a few weeks ago.

The models are sponsored by the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency, but Rojas does his work on the models as a volunteer.

"This is an exercise to get people thinking about the city and urban planning and break down barriers people have about the city," Rojas said. "It gets people comfortable. It's not contentious."
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