LASA Kicks Off Our Third Year!


We are thrilled to begin a new year with a new cohort of great LASA students.  We began just this past week with our intensive summer workshop, and we are excited to share the highlights with you.

On Monday, August 4th, we began at The Huntington by meeting and introducing one another.  LASA students worked on “Los Angeles As We Know It,” their maps of space and distance and features on the LA landscape.  Intricate, busy (sometimes curious) maps showcased our home, and we will re-visit these in eight or nine months to see how our understanding of the basin has changed.  Seismologist Robert “Bob” De Groot spoke to us about earthquakes and their ubiquity here, and we all learned about different kinds of shakes and temblors and tremors and such.  Historian Allison Varzally took us for a scholarly walk through the intricacies of LA demography, conflict, and collaboration, peeling back for us the meaning and message of “can’t we all just get along?”

On the 5th, we met at the LA Central Library, welcomed there by Ken Brecher of the Library Foundation.  Ken warmly invited us all to participate in the community reading of The Odyssey in October, an event that many of us will be sure to join!  Political scientist and scholar-about-LA Raphe Sonenshein explored and explained citizen participation in democracies, refracted through the complexities of LA politics.  We then broke off into groups to explore downtown, find lunch (barbecue at the Central Market!), and meet up again at City Hall.  There, biographer Stephen Gee took us back to the life and times of John Parkinson, architect of some of the most iconic civic buildings in America, beautiful City Hall among them.

On Wednesday, we were back at the Huntington – Margie Wheeler of the Metropolitan Water District unpacked water history and water delivery in Southern California and showed us startling photographic evidence of the drought situation spreading across the Southwest.  Bill Deverell spoke then about the history of the LA River.  From there, we took our bus to the Hyperion wastewater treatment facility in El Segundo, where we learned what happens to 300 million gallons of sewage that arrives daily at the DWP plant.

On Thursday: we kayaked the LA River!

A great week, a great start.  Our best wishes to all students and teachers as the school year approaches, and we will see everyone in September –