Friends of the Hollywood Central Park have nurtured an ambitious and innovative plan for the City and residents of Hollywood.
– US Senator Dianne Feinstein

Issue 1 | Winter 2014

Friends of the Hollywood Central Park Board of Directors

FHCP Staff

  • Philip E. Aarons, Chairman
  • Alfred Fraijo, Jr., President
  • George Abou-Daoud, Vice President
  • Jeffrey Briggs, Vice President
  • Brian Folb, Vice President
  • Scott Campbell, Treasurer
  • Christi Van Cleve, Secretary
  • Christopher Barton
  • George Brauckman
  • Douglas Campbell
  • Heather Cochran
  • James Feldman
  • Kate Folb
  • Betty Fraser
  • Craig Fry
  • David Gajda
  • Terri Gerger
  • Aileen Getty
  • Bradley Glenn
  • John Goodwin
  • Phil Hart, PhD
  • Ed V. Hunt
  • Tricia LaBelle
  • Jacob Lipa
  • Jerold B. Neuman
  • Susan Polifronio
  • Scott Rynders
  • Nicole Shahenian
  • Sam Smith
  • Thaddeus Hunter Smith
  • Robert Soderstrom
  • Gary Taglyan
    • Laurie Goldman
      Executive Director
    • Alfredo Hernandez
      Program Director

2014 FHCP Advocacy Trip: March 20-29

  • Chicago - Millennium Park
  • Washington DC Administration, Agency and MOC meetings
  • NYC - The Highline


spacer.gif In this issue:

Executive Director's Message

Thank you for taking the time to sign up for our quarterly newsletter. As the title implies the purpose of Friends of the Hollywood Central Park’s newsletter is to keep you informed, involved and interested in all things relating to the Hollywood Central Park.

A Message from the President

On January 9th, President Barack Obama designated communities within central Los Angeles, as a Promise Zone – this includes Hollywood, East Hollywood and other core communities.

Featured Guest Writer Mitch O'Farrell

We are seeing some exciting momentum on the Hollywood Central Park project -- a design and engineering wonder that will create a truly spectacular public space to span the 101 Freeway in the heart of Hollywood.

Guest Writer Doug Campbell

The purposes of the Park are many – but can be said to be fundamentally three fold: healing, and sustaining well-being; finding and building common ground for community; and inspiring discovery and the imagination.

Welcome to Hollywood Central Park World!

Executive Director's Message

Thank you for taking the time to sign up for our quarterly newsletter. As the title implies the purpose of Friends of the Hollywood Central Park’s newsletter is to keep you informed, involved and interested in all things relating to the Hollywood Central Park.  Each quarter, we will send you valuable information on the Hollywood Central Park including articles we hope will stimulate your interest and increase your awareness of the Park.  

The Hollywood Central Park is a major infrastructure project which will provide immeasurable benefits to our community, including:

  • Reuniting communities separated for more than 60 years by the Hollywood Freeway
  • Providing intrinsic environmental, aesthetic and recreational benefits
  • Providing more than 38 acres of green open space and recreational facilities
  • Promoting physical and mental health and active lifestyles (see here.)
  • Providing economic development by enhancing property values, increasing City revenues, attracting workers and increasing tourism
  • Creating 40,000 direct and indirect jobs including local hire, entry level and apprenticeship programs

  • Improving air quality and reducing global warming (see Climate Change.)

As a concerned citizen, you may have opinions or questions about this new and innovative project. Through the Hollywood Central Park World newsletter and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park website, we will give you the tools to substantiate judgments, viewpoints and statements you may have heard or read about. We will provide you with the facts and knowledge you need to expand your perspective and understanding of the Hollywood Central Park.

We know you care about Hollywood Central Park because you are an engaged community stakeholder.  You provide the much needed personal connections that encourage, inform and influence our community.  We invite you to regularly visit our website at  Thank you for your support.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you have ideas for future newsletters or any comments or questions.

See you at the Hollywood Central Park!

Laurie Goldman, Executive Director

Click here to forward this Newsletter to a friend or colleague

Hollywood's Promise Zone

A Message from the President

Greetings!  Like you, I love the Hollywood Central Park.  And this is an exciting time for us!  With our environmental impact report moving through the CEQA process news comes that Hollywood has been named a Promise Zone!  

On January 9th, President Barack Obama designated communities within central Los Angeles, as a Promise Zone – this includes Hollywood, East Hollywood and other core communities (see map below).   And the Hollywood Central Park is located within the Promise Zone.

As described by the President during last year’s State of the Union Address, the Promise Zone Initiative is a way to partner with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand access to educational opportunities and quality, affordable housing and improve public safety.  A map of the new Promise Zone can be found here:

This new Los Angeles Promise Zone is focused on five primary goals:

  • Increasing housing affordability by preserving existing affordable housing and partnering with housing developers to increase the supply of affordable new housing to prevent displacement.
  • Ensuring all youth have access to a high-quality education, and are prepared for college and careers through its Promise Neighborhoods initiative, by partnering with the Youth Policy Institute and L.A. Unified School District to expand its Full Service Community Schools model from 7 schools to all 45 Promise Zone schools by 2019.
  • Ensuring youth and adult residents have access to high-quality career and technical training opportunities that prepare them for careers in high-growth industries through partnerships with career and technical training schools and the Los Angeles Community College District.
  • Investing in transit infrastructure including bus rapid transit lines and bike lanes, and promoting transit-oriented development (TOD) that attracts new businesses and creates jobs.
  • Charging its Promise Zone Director and Advisory Board with eliminating wasteful and duplicative government programs

As a signatory to the Promise Zone Memorandum of Understanding, Friends of the Hollywood Central Park has the opportunity to apply for federal grants from all Federal agencies and departments.  Although there is no guarantee of funding, grant applications from the Promise Zone receive priority consideration.  Through the Promise Zone designation, Friends can attract private investment, improve affordable and low income housing, increase educational opportunities, create jobs, and reduce serious and violent crime.

As our Congressman, Rep. Adam Schiff said, “By investing in these key communities in the country, we will not only create jobs and educational opportunity for our young people, but we will return hope to some areas that have lost much in the Great Recession.  Every child must have a good chance at success – no matter where you’re from – and this new Promise Zone will help keep the promise that hard work and determination in America can and will pay off.”

The Hollywood Central Park has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people.  The park will turn strangers into neighbors.  And most important the Hollywood Central Park is the foundation for a bright and healthy future for us, our children and our children’s children.  

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to encourage you to stay connected.  We have events throughout the year and there will be opportunities to provide input in our environmental review process.  You can also “build” your own park!  Visit our website for more information.

Thanks to your support, the tireless effort of our staff, our allies in government and in the private sector as well as the good work of our Board, I have no doubt we will be enjoying the Hollywood Central Park sooner rather than later!

Warm regards,

Alfred Fraijo, Jr.

Update from Councilmember O'Farrell

Featured Guest Writer Mitch O'Farrell

Dear Friends:

We are seeing some exciting momentum on the Hollywood Central Park project -- a design and engineering wonder that will create a truly spectacular public space to span the 101 Freeway in the heart of Hollywood.

I want to take a moment to bring you up to speed on what’s been happening on the project since I took office in July:

  • Los Angeles Promise Zone: Hollywood Central Park is located in the Los Angeles Promise Zone, which will give the park competitive preference for federal funding under President Obama’s initiative to channel more resources to underserved neighborhoods in communities across the country.
  • RAP Becomes Lead Agency on Project: The ‘lead agency’ status on the project was transferred from the City’s Bureau of Engineering to the Recreation and Parks Department (RAP). Since this project will create a public space for every Angeleno and visitor to enjoy, the lead agency designation is a much better fit as the project moves forward. In addition, as Chair of the Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and Los Angeles River Committee, I will be able to better guide any policy pertaining to the project.
  • Memorandum of Understanding: The memorandum of understanding between Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP) and RAP will be going before the commission around the new year. This memorandum transfers the City support to FHCP to pay for project consultants. This will help expedite the design and construction process and avoid the bureaucratic red tape usually associated with major projects.
  • Release of the DEIR: The draft Environmental Impact Report is being prepared and a public scoping meeting will be held in early 2014. Stay tuned for more details on a date for that event.

Serving the constituents of the 13th District is an honor and a privilege, and I am so fortunate that I get to represent my constituents at the very beginning stages of the project. It will just add one more reason to our list of what makes the 13th District such a special place to live, work, and recreate in the City of Angels.

Onward and upward,

Councilmember, 13th District

The Park, A Context for Design

Guest Writer Doug Campbell

Douglas Campbell“Originalidad es la vuelta a los origenes”
“Originality consists in returning to the origins.”
 -  Antoni Gaudi

For the great Catalan architect, truth and beauty were found through intentional collaboration with nature - architecture is discovered - not invented - through a dialogue of purpose and nature.

The purposes of the Park are many – but can be said to be fundamentally three fold: healing, and sustaining well-being; finding and building common ground for community; and inspiring discovery and the imagination.

Placing the design process for the Park in the context of these purposes is a return to the origins of environmental design.  

Traditional wisdom East and West concerning the relationships between the environment and well-being – Chinese Feng-Shui, Indian Vastu Shastra, and Western thought expressed in works such as the Greek Physician Hippocrates’ “Airs, Waters, Places” and later that of the Roman Architect Vitruvius all reveal an understanding of the connectedness of the building and the healing arts.

The practice of environmental design is as old as civilization.  Diverse traditions speak of the imperatives of design on the land to create and sustain safe, healthy, productive and soul-nurturing environments.  

Contemporary environmental design is increasingly at the center of a new intellectual and creative movement - re-visioning traditional origins and recovering and creating new sustainable and sustaining relationships between nature and society in the face of global environmental change of a scale, rapidity and consequence never before seen.

The worldview associated with this movement partakes of contemporary philosophy, physical and social sciences, engineering, the healing and building arts and the wisdom of world ethical traditions.  It is ecological - asserting that “everything is connected”.  The arts and sciences surrounding environmental design find models in biological systems, engage and are inspired by the creativity of the natural world.

Diverse professionals in communications, engineering, environmental studies, public policy, public health, urban planning and engineering, landscape and architectural design disciplines are moving toward a unified intellectual, creative and ethical enterprise with a special focus on the relationships between increasingly intertwined and “coupled” human and ecological systems.

These disciplines are emerging from professional “silos” in dialogue- engaged in overlapping and complimentary efforts, and can be usefully described together as collaborating in new hybrid multi- and inter- disciplinary initiatives.

Examples abound – in the healthcare field’s revolutionary emphasis on “wellness”; the Federal government’s encouragement of projects which collectively reinforce the policies of diverse entities such as the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency; and a growing emphasis in environmental education in the schools.

The Landscape

A landscape is a conversation between the generations and a conversation with nature.  How we see ourselves in relation to place and one another - the stories we tell and live by - are our myths, affecting the landscapes we imagine and the landscapes we build.

As our understanding of ourselves in a new relationship with the rest of nature evolves, old forms are giving way to emerging new narratives, new possibilities growing out of the old.

The reclamation of urban industrial and transportation infrastructure into vibrant landscapes for public life represents a fundamental shift in thinking about cities - new narratives.

These new narratives and re-imagined and re-constructed landscapes emerging in our City are the bases of the Hollywood Central Park project, in the context of similar on-going efforts in cities around the world.

The transformative power of new attitudes about the landscape of the city has been widely discussed. The critic Michael Kimmelman has written of  Madrid’s Rio Park, simply and eloquently summing up its impact on its surrounding neighborhoods - “Now people who opened their windows onto the sound of cars, open their windows onto the sound of birds.” 

The site of the Park, the route of the Hollywood Freeway, has been a corridor of movement and life at least since the last ice age.  This flyway for birds and path for animals across the plain and through Cahuenga Pass was a trade and hunting route for the first peoples, later becoming El Camino Real of the Spanish/Mexican colonists, who overlaid local wisdom with their own place-making traditions – carrying translations of Vitruvius’ Ten Books of Architecture in their saddle bags.  Though rendered in simple materials, the urban, landscape and architectural design expressions they brought were of great sophistication, beautifully and sustainably integrating building, landscape and settlement patterns into the natural setting.  The explosive and mostly un-tempered growth and change of the American era also found here extraordinary examples of environmentally and socially conscious design in the work of Craftsman era and Modernist architects and landscape architects.  Contemporary designers continue in explorations of this fascination with the possibilities of the land, light and air of Hollywood.

The Project

The community of Hollywood and the programmatic and formal aspects of the project present a particularly provocative context.  Known world-wide, the imagined landscape of Hollywood is an iconic symbol of the creative possibility, fantasy and glamour associated with the Movies, and the quintessential southern California dream of continual self re-invention – limitless prospects - in paradise lost - and finally regained.  At the same time, Hollywood neighborhoods surrounding the Park site are some of the densest, poorest, and starved for open space in the entire City of Los Angeles.  Public health and social services challenges abound.  

Discovering, and articulating the many layers of narratives associated with this project are leading to new hybrid forms - landscape and architectural expressions emergent from the possibilities of covering a freeway with a corridor of green nature – a greensward  - as wide as a football field – and a mile long.

The Park’s stated ethic is as ambitious as its scale and scope:  “…founded on an ethic that is in service to community, wellbeing, and sustainability….embodying the highest levels of social and environmental responsibility…” conceived fundamentally as a healing gesture - in bringing back together neighborhoods rent asunder, cleaning the air and waters, and establishing a corridor of green nature in the heart of the City.

As Central Park in New York was a manifestation of the last great vision of the city for the nineteenth century - enterprises such as the project for Hollywood and efforts in other cities throughout the world are manifestations of a new and transformative vision of the city for the twenty-first century.

“Environmental” considerations - climate, air, water, earth, energy production, pollution; and social imperatives - wellness, education, participation, justice, cannot be addressed individually – they must be explicitly seen and engaged as interconnected and interdependent aspects of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. A new, authentic aesthetic is emerging from this ethic - awakening the heart, mind and body to new possibilities.

The Process

The vision for the Park has come out of the surrounding community, the product of a collaborative participatory effort.  Many voices have taken part in a growing conversation defining the future character and life of the Park.  Through a program of workshop meetings centered on the participation by a wide representation of members of the community, supplemented by interactive on-line involvement through its website, the Friends have facilitated the creation of a concept plan which is being used as a part of the environmental review process. A committed group of community members and professionals in a growing array of specialties is establishing a framework for evaluating environmental and economic impacts and production feasibility.

The concept plan, as well as the process that created it, is now guiding the way forward for the on-going evolution of the Park.  

The process of bringing the Park to reality has been founded on the initial recognitions of the Park’s role in promoting physical well-being and community. The bridging of a mile long segment of the Hollywood Freeway will from its opening day cleanse millions of cubic feet of air and water, restore neighborhoods rent asunder decades ago, and provide common ground for recreation and community. The establishment of a context for design is progressing from these two essential imperatives. The first broad strokes have been laid down.

These initial broad strokes have also acknowledged the Park’s third and equally essential identity as a participatory and continuing artistic creation  - involving the users and stewards of the Park into the future.

As the process leading to the creation of the framework has involved many voices, a potential precedent has been set for the participation of many voices in the creation of the Park’s many particular artistic, architectural and landscape expressions.  Specific works of architecture and landscape design may be relatively long –term presences, or temporary (as are the pavilions of the Serpentine Galleries in London’s Kensington Gardens) – or potentially among the coming generation of built things that are designed to morph and change over time under new conditions.  Works of art and performance in the Park will encompass the spectrum  - from the abiding to the recurring to the ephemeral. New technologies will allow the incorporation of virtual and augmented reality into all aspects of the Park, adding for example new dimensions to a child’s conversation with a tree. The Park will be among the first great civic works to be part of the coming “internet of things”, connecting us to one another and nature and enriching our lives in as yet unimagined ways.

Civic Purpose and Poetry

The Park lies at the intersection of civic purpose and poetry.

The making and continual re-making of this park – producing it – performing it - requires a special kind of art making – akin to that of the dramatic arts – especially cinema.  The life of the Park must take into account and celebrate the many dimensions of expression possible that will also be unique to this art form in this place - Hollywood.  

Through its living fabric of nature, artifacts and human activity, the Park will engage all the familiar five senses - sight, sound, fragrance, touch and taste, and in addition - the senses of space and time.  

The great scale of the Park will open to appreciation an array of expansive and dramatic views.  Extending across a series of great tree-lined meadows, the eye will take in and incorporate into the Park the hills to the north with their dramatic landmarks– the Hollywood Sign and the Observatory - and the skyline of downtown LA to the south – all under a vast horizon-to-horizon swath of sky.  

The Park will bring an equally dramatic change to the soundscape.  The currently persistent and debilitating roar of traffic will be replaced by the sounds of nature and play.   This change, which in time will fall from notice, will be a fundamentally transformative aspect of the coming of the Park.

Fragrances of vegetation will replace the odor of freeway fumes.  The sight, sound, fragrance and touch of water, the feel of sun, wind, turf, wood and stone, and the enjoyment of partaking of the tastes of the Park - including the produce from the Park’s vertical farm – all will open sensory channels now closed in defense against the assaults of the present environment.

Additionally, the Park will engage the spatial sense, experienced through movement – walking, running, strolling, resting - in the informal choreography of everyday life.  As a living entity, the Park will also fundamentally engage the sense of time – memory, experience and anticipation. The Park will change and grow over time, manifesting the cycles of the day  - midday, evening, night and morning, and the changing seasons – summer, autumn, winter, spring.

As the Park is an act of healing and an affirmation of community, it is also necessarily a portal for the engagement of the imagination.