Claire Robinson

Claire Robinson

Claire Robinson, United States

Claire Robinson is  founder & Managing Director of Amigos de los Rios, 501©3 in Los Angeles, California. Her multi-disciplinary background in art, business & design has led to unique success in creating a culturally relevant Emerald Necklace River Greenway network in East Los Angeles County that serves as model for Green infrastructure Practices throughout US. She has an MBA from UCLA, degrees in cultural history, architecture & urban planning respectively from New College, Cooper Union- NYC & University of East London. Claire has taught at RISD, Carleton University in Canada, and served as visiting faculty at Harvard GSD, USC, Pitzer College, Ecoles des Beaux Arts Versailles, France. She has dedicated her professional career to nonprofit management & community based design processes to improve quality of life within cities & specifically within disadvantaged communities in New York City’s Lower East Side, Eastern Paris’ Menilmontant Immigrant District, & Los Angeles’ East County.

Presentation Title: Los Angeles, USA – A Metro “Tale of Two Rivers: the Los Angeles & San Gabriel Rivers Emerald Necklace”

Although we have great weather in LA, access to outdoor recreation, active transportation  & nearby nature is limited for many residents. Restoration of Urban Rivers is critical for social equity & protection of ecosystem services on which our lives depend. Our LA Basin wide Emerald Necklace river greenway vision was developed in direct response to Public Health Statistics which show people living within disadvantaged LA urban communities suffer disproportionately from chronic illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Our work is based on a contemporary interpretation of  largely ignored 1930 Olmsted Bartholmew plan for the LA region. The LA Metro Area is one of  most populous & cosmopolitan urban areas in U S with 17 million residents representing 125 diverse cultures.  Amigos de los Rios, a 501©3 is an East County based “Collective Impact” group working to develop an “Emerald Necklace Green Infrastructure River Greenway Network” to connect the Mountains to the Sea and connect  88 cities of LA County. We are community based advocates for “Convergent Infrastructure” planning processes: we want to foster integrated Active Transportation & Trail Networks, Water Resources Management, Parks and Open Space, and Biodiversity Planning for our Metro Region.  Over the past 14 years, we have developed an inclusive, community based process to outline a comprehensive river greenway vision for our region and have implemented over 35 multi-objective demonstration projects within disadvantaged urban communities. In order to develop our vision, we have built an Emerald Necklace Coalition of Agencies working collaboratively to protect watershed, water resources and provide youth education and training opportunities; raised $50M in Federal, State and County grants to demonstrate feasibility of vision; and helped pass county bonds to realize vision. We would now like to to share out work with international peers.

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