Los Angeles, CA, 2012

AlleyCEQUIA is a concept proposal submitted for the 2012 California Architectural Foundation William Turnbull Drylands Design Competition. Design team members are Steven Chavez, PLA, Aaron Clark, Ph.D, Brian Gerich, and Ian Horton, PLA.

This project aims to relocate food production within the urban watershed, both geographically and hydrologically. It proposes to retrofit the existing open spaces of alleyways and vacant lots in Los Angeles with the capacity to store, clean and harvest stormwater.

Water within this system will be managed on a block by block, or modular, basis. As stormwater falls on the roofs and impervious surfaces of adjacent lots on a given block, it will be conveyed in the conduit of the alley and stored in below ground agricultural cisterns. The water will be reused on vacant lots along the alley – which will be retrofitted to support urban agriculture and stormwater management. All overflow from the system will continue into the street at the end of the block and from there to the existing storm sewers.

Alleys – of which there are approximately 900 linear miles in Los Angeles – and vacant lots – will also be retrofitted to create a network of open spaces. Vacant lots will be repurposed to combine urban agriculture and stormwater management with new civic spaces oriented towards the connective paths of pedestrian priority alleyways. This new system of networked open spaces will retrofit Los Angeles towards a future of healthy active neighborhoods that are built in harmony with the responsible and sustainable use of water and energy.