The Rio Vistas project is an ongoing urban development effort in Elysian Valley (colloquially known as Frogtown), a neighborhood adjacent to the LA River. It was spearheaded by Glen Dake, an architect, and Miguel Luna of the nonprofit organization Urban Semillas, which provides environmental education to children in economically underserved areas. We met with Glen Dake and Miguel Luna on October 21st to discuss their projects in Elysian Valley.
The primary focus of the Rio Vistas is in transforming dead ends into Rio Vistas (literally “river views” in Spanish), where people can enjoy looking at the river and learn about their impact on this vital part of the L.A. ecosystem.
High school students at the LA River High School have participated in this endeavor as well; a potential Rio Vista design contest was set up for them, and a few of the winners’ ideas are in the process of being implemented. The Walt Disney Company also has plans to fund this ambitious project.
In addition to describing the Rio Vista project, Glen and Miguel shared with us that ten years ago you couldn't sell properties along the LA river for over a million dollars. Now, property value has been increasing rapidly. This is because a lot of people want to live next to the LA river.
The stretch of the river that we were on has a $1.4 billion dollar investment coming from both local and federal government. This investment is to improve the 11 mile stretch of River that runs through the Elysian Valley. This development continues to make the place a more desirable place to live, and continues to drive up property values.