Current Green City Studio Projects

Each year, the Master of Landscape Architecture candidates at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, (Cal Poly Pomona University) partner with communities as part of the Green City Studio – the students’ culminating experience for their degree.

In 2021-22, we are working with three different community partners on projects in Bell Gardens, Pomona, and the tribal territory of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. You can view past project reports on our publications page.

If you would like to learn more about the Master of Landscape Architecture Program, visit the department web site, or contact the faculty of the Green City Studio.

Urban Immunity: Towards a Just COVID-19 Recovery for Bell Gardens, CA. Download the Report (71 MB)

City of Bell Gardens, CA

Urban Immunity: Towards a Just COVID-19 Recovery for Bell Gardens, CA

Macy Dreizler, James Kingsbury, Lani Maclean, Ernesto Perez, Glynda Tucker

In march of 2020, the declaration of a global pandemic ushered in an era of profound uncertainty. As the situation developed and unfolded over the coming years, the rippling effect of COVID-19 shook the foundations of institutions and governments at large. Cascading consequences revealed vulnerabilities and inequities that had long been overlooked. Over the past two years, historically disadvantaged communities were devastated economically and health-wise during these “unprecedented” times.

In one of the hardest hit cities in Los Angeles County, many residents of Bell Gardens acted as ‘essential’ workers to keep services running through the pandemic, while bearing the burdens of restricted access to healthcare resources and educational support, and limited access to healthy outdoor environments within their community.

Lessons from the pandemic serve as a powerful precedent for reimagining the purpose of public infrastructure. Building on research and partnerships initiated by Kounkuey Design Initiative, Urban Immunity examines systemic inequities in place, and the spatial intersections of public health, economic sustainability, education, and community resilience in times of upheaval. Through research, analysis, and design, Urban Immunity provides a community concept and policy and design recommendations to work toward a connected, healthy, and thriving Bell Gardens.

Download the report (71 MB)

Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians Tribal Territory, CA

FACING TATÁVEAVEAT: Planning and Design Strategies with the Tataviam Land Conservancy

Eddie Meyerholz, Hannah Kaiser, Neil A. Heacox, Robert Douglass

The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians (FTBMI) represents a coalition of lineages that, beginning in 1797, were enslaved at Mission San Fernando from the four socially diverse but politically interconnected regions of Simi, San Fernando, Santa Clarita, and Antelope Valleys in southern California. Like most California tribes, they survived epidemics, forced assimilation, and labor camps in the 18th and 19th centuries and persevered through the social, legal, and cultural discrimination that continues to the present day.

As part of the centuries-long effort to regain access to its homelands, the FTBMI founded the non-profit Tataviam Land Conservancy (TLC) in 2018 with “the primary goal of conserving lands within the Tribe’s traditional territory for cultural enrichment and educational uses.”

The TLC has been our community partner for this project, with four Board Members meeting with our Cal Poly Pomona Landscape Architecture team over a series of working group sessions. Their input, as well as input from tribal representatives, and interviews and presentations made by tribal leaders shaped and informed every part of this project. The goals for this project are the following:

  1. Protect the natural environment in traditional FTBMI territories
  2. Protect cultural spaces and artifacts that are of critical importance to FTBMI
  3. Support the ongoing efforts of FTBMI to revive culture, knowledge, and practices
  4. Recognize opportunities for FTBMI to collaborate and engage with regional partners to achieve shared goals
  5. Promote climate change awareness, mitigation, and adaptation from an FTBMI worldview

The two main components of this project are the Design Principles Document and the Parcel Evaluation Model. They are both aimed at building the capacity of the organization to engage with their territory in ways that support their goals.

The Design Principles document offers guidance to designers, planners, and other non-tribal organizations on ways to engage with FTBMI in support of their ongoing efforts to decolonize the landscape.

Four Core Values outline broad axioms that underpin the FTBMI worldview. Within each are Design Principles that offer general statements about what the designer or planner of a project in FTBMI territory should be considering. Each Principle has a list of Guidelines and Implementation Strategies for how these might manifest in landscape. Case studies from other Indigenous communities provide examples of how such principles may inform planning and design.

The Parcel Evaluation Model is intended to support TLC decision-making by leveraging geospatial data into a consistent and measurable framework for judging a development project or parcel’s importance.

It offers territory-wide analysis as well as parcel scale scoring by taking landscape criteria and mapping them throughout tribal territory. ArcGIS ModelBuilder was used to generate a composite score out of ten – the more criteria present, the higher the score. The report describes recommendations for the TLC in further development and application of the model.

The report concludes with four conceptual designs to illustrate the potential impact use of the Design Principles and the Evaluation Model on sites within the Tribal Territory.

Enhancement and Resiliency Advocacy Plan for Pomona’s Park System. Download the report (38 MB)

City of Pomona, CA

Enhancement and Resiliency Advocacy Plan for Pomona’s Park System

Carolin Khanlari, Mina Lai, Eduardo Baca, Hector San Martin

This project aims to advance Pomona’s park system by advocating for a holistic approach that increases park space, enhances park quality and broadens usage while prioritizing the park connectivity systems and the natural park ecosystem. Our approach considers the issues, assets, and opportunities found within Pomona’s transportation, residents, park system, and environmental impact. Together with our partners Clean & Green Pomona and Conexion de Padres, we developed an advocacy plan to help guide the partners’ continued efforts to achieve their vision.

In addition to collecting knowledge from community partners, analysis based on available data and site visits were conducted to better understand the City of Pomona. We identified a number of Pomona’s assets within the city, including its diverse residents committed to community improvement, the existing parks and other open space, much of which is underutilized, mature trees within many parks and a number of neighborhoods, creeks that connect neighborhoods throughout the city, and significant ecological areas both within the city and the surrounding mountains.

We also identified a number of issues that must be addressed, including a lack of sufficient park land for current and future populations, poor park accessibility in many underserved neighborhoods, poor maintenance of park amenities including restrooms, and air and noise pollution in many parks and neighborhoods, due to the proximity of freeways. Opportunities for advancing the park system were identified in the city’s vacant lands and potential spaces for habitat patches and linkages.

The project is driven by a vision to advance Pomona’s park system by advocating for a holistic approach that increases park space, enhances park quality and broadens usage while prioritizing the park connectivity systems and the natural park ecosystem. That vision includes the following goals: 1) Increase park acreage to 5 acres of park per 1,000 people. 2) Enhance physical quality of existing parks while setting improvement and maintenance standards for new parks. 3) Activate the use of Pomona’s parks and open spaces. 4) Re-establish natural ecosystem functions in parks throughout the city.

Four focus areas were chosen to illustrate possible ways of achieving the desired goals for the overall vision. These included a vacant industrial lot proposed as a new park at the intersection of east Mission Boulevard and San Antonio Avenue, improvements to existing Philadelphia Park, a wildlife open space on Rio Rancho Road and a trail network connecting the greater Pomona are including portions of Monterey Avenue, Towne Avenue, and the Thompson Creek Wash. This plan provides our partners with information, analysis, recommended policy, and illustrative examples that will support their advocacy, as they work towards realizing an equitable and effective Parks Master Plan.

Download the report (38 MB)