Letting Los Angeles Go: Lessons from Feral Landscapes


  • Joan Woodward




Los Angeles is home to numerous feral landscapes: designed gardens no longer receiving intentional care. These are cultivated gardens, usually composed of plants from myriad global climate types, which have been abandoned or neglected and have adapted to native rainfall or unintentional water sources such as broken irrigation systems. They are found in canyons and ridges swept by fire, along rights-of-way where properties were condemned for freeways, in once-glorious neighbourhoods fallen on hard times, and in places where speculation places properties on hold. They are found in all regions and are particularly vivid in Los Angeles, proclaimed as "Lurch City" by Cuff (2000), where disruptive urban convulsions are frequent. These sites are rich with information pertinent to conceivable futures in which supplemental resources and care may not be reliable. This article portrays selected feral landscapes, briefly describes their responses to pervasive urban forces over time, and extracts design attributes to consider when creating future resilient landscapes. Scrutiny of these landscapes' decline and tenacity reveals a telling view of a region's volatility and global context and reminds us to take into account probable neglect when shaping future landscapes.


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How to Cite

Woodward, J. (2004). Letting Los Angeles Go: Lessons from Feral Landscapes. Landscape Review, 9(2), 59–69. https://doi.org/10.34900/lr.v9i2.200