Superhighways to Superblooms

Andrea Binz, MLA '22

  • FA.20
  • Level: graduate
  • Discipline: Landscape Architecture
  • Program: MLA +3
  • Instructor: Jessica Henson

Pollution in Burbank and Glendale is among the worst 1% in all of California, and mainly stems from freeway traffic. We have spent decades and billions of dollars expanding highways to “solve” gridlock, but this strategy has failed completely. Conversely, removing or narrowing roads can reduce traffic. This means we need to radically rethink our transportation networks: pollution will never be reduced significantly in our communities if we leave the status quo. A framework plan is proposed to address the high burden of traffic and pollution in Burbank and Glendale with the following strategies: pollution mitigation with green infrastructure along existing roads, road diets, vehicle electrification, high-speed rail and public transit investment, and finally by reclaiming highways into linear parks. Roads, clovers, and interchanges become linear parks, stormwater infrastructure, and community hubs. The freeways cut through many of our most polluted, underserved communities, and as our transit patterns change we have the chance–the choice–of how to remake them. As landscape architects, we can choose to promote a healthier, more equitable Los Angeles.