Los Angeles Hashtags Herself, a limited series podcast, features representatives of various Angeleno private and public organizations leading the critical trend of using digital media for urban and social development. This diverse group serves as both a reminder and an analytical insight that digital media are neither just "useful" nor peculiar to the sharing and cultural economies, but fast becoming standard to the practice of material and social placemaking. If you like art, community benefits organizations, cultural journalism, real estate, transportation, and the technology industry generally, we hope you will find something worth hearing.
Sponsored by the USC Bedrosian Center
Recorded at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
“You can hold someone accountable and hold them at the same time.”
Ashlee Marie Preston, civil rights activist, writer, speaker, and host of the excellent podcast SHOOK with Ashlee Marie Preston. Ashlee Marie is the first transgender woman editor-in-chief of a national publication, the first openly trans person to run for the California State Legislature, and among many other accolades she’s received in recent years, Ashlee Marie was named as one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans of 2017. Ashlee Marie has many talents, but she is, above all, a communicator. She conceived her podcast as a “platform that is intentional about unpacking the accurate narrative of not just LGBTQ people or trans people, but being intentional about creating the world in which you wish to live in.” Listen to her activism and how you can be an ally.
“I am a powerful agent of change. I am deliberate. And I am not afraid.”
Native American award-winning film director and producer, actor, singer/songwriter, author, and founder and CEO of multiple media organizations, humanitarian Joanelle Romero. Joanelle was born in both the artistic and activist worlds and has spent her life bringing those two realms together. Listen to Joanelle share stories about her many years' being an artist and humanitarian, and from where she draws all the necessary strength in a climate where the Native American—and especially the Native woman—is absent from virtually all popular media. As she explains, “I have the strength of my ancestors and I really, really know I am divinely guided with them. And it is a spiritual thing. I do have moments when I want to go, ‘Oh, just forget it,’ but what’s that about? I’ve been given this gift. And to me, it’s a gift.”
“The question of access is about audience and participation, and being able to deliver.”
Rochelle Steiner is a curator, writer, public art producer, and Professor of Critical Studies at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design. She has curated over 60 major exhibitions and large-scale public art projects in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Listen to Rochelle share the discoveries she has made through her career of bringing art into public spaces and the implications of art and design in the urban realm “in all of its radical complexity.” Among many things, we learn about her work as the Director of the Public Art Fund in New York City (where she produced Olafur Eliasson’s The New York City Waterfalls), her work as co-founder of USC’s interdisciplinary Emergent Cities research group, and the profound social relevance of her most recent exhibition, Access + Ability, now on view at the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
The immediacy of writing online has become part of my brain.
Urban journalist and advocate Alissa Walker abandoned her car ten years ago in favor of a pedestrian lifestyle, a move which led to an expansive career as an urbanist and urban advocate that coincides with watershed moments in online journalism and the urban renaissance. What sets Alissa apart, though, is her dedication to online discourse and general optimism about how we can solve our urban issues set her apart. In a time where tribalism reigns, Alissa welcomes the immediacy of online engagement with people of differing opinions “because it only makes me want to find even better solutions to problems.” Listen to Alissa talk about her journalistic practice dedicated to “looking at LA problems and trying to figure out how we can solve problems in a way that help the most people, whether it’s homelessness or transportation or housing or trying to get a ferry running in Santa Monica Bay” and how she “welcome[s] people to challenge my ideas, to tell me that I’m wrong, because it only makes me want to find even better solutions to problems.”
For links to some of the things we talked about, check out the showpage.
LA-Más: Our proposal is going to be so radical because it’s going to be possible
Frogtown-based LA-Más is a design and policy advocacy nonprofit whose mission is to “help lower-income and underserved communities shape their future through policy and architecture.” Timme and Leung’s shared vision for urban growth that is “equitable and self-directed—where the best local solutions are brought to a city-wide scale” motivates and informs this mission. LA-Más is changing the way we understand and experience Los Angeles communities. Listen to this great conversation to learn how Elizabeth Timme and Helen Leung achieve this. Spoiler alert: they collaborate and, as Elizabeth says, they seek out radical solutions within the possible approaches.
Lisa Schweitzer on Flourishing as the Central Human Value of Urban Planning
Professor Lisa Schweitzer opens this season of LA#Herself and explains how flourishing is "the heart of what urban planning has to be about," and how she works to make good neighborhoods, "physical shape aside, that give spaces for people to develop and grow such that flourishing spreads." Listen to how Lisa's belief in flourishing has shaped her researcher's and teacher's agenda, how that’s tracked with her dedication to the topic of justice, be it about cities, gender, or ethnicity, and what she thinks we can all do to help.
Angeleno orgs use digital media for urban development
Los Angeles, city of the surreal and hyper-real. City of Hollywood, made and broken dreams.
This podcast is a set of interviews with Angelenos who are at the forefront of using digital media for social and urban development. The first interview with Juan Devis of Artbound was delightfully enlightening. Understanding how Artbound has navigated their decision making process while allowing readers/viewers to re-discover the city was fascinating.
Can't wait for episode two - The next interview will focus on LA2050 and the Goldhirsh Foundation.
I love LA and this podcast graces us with a deeper understanding of the new digital landscape in placemaking!