January 11, 2007
PBS: ‘Los Angeles—Dream of A Different City’
Sick of traffic? Sick of smog? Sick of urban sprawl?
Don't just complain about it. See what's being done to change it. On Jan. 11, KCET will air a Los Angeles-focused segment of its acclaimed series "Edens Lost & Found."
This one-hour installment of the multipart series titled, "Los Angeles: Dream a Different City," will focus on community leaders and groups in the greater L.A. area who are finding solutions to what a century of almost unchecked growth has wrought on our landscape and our lives.
The segment begins with host Jimmy Smits providing a quick overview of a familiar litany of problems besetting Los Angeles. There are traffic-choked interchanges, vast tracts of unchecked development, a trickle of water to slake a thirsty city and brownish air.
"If Southern California can solve these problems, there just might be hope for the rest of the world," Smits says.
Producer and director Harry Wiland and Dale Bell track down the people and groups who have found ways to confront these problems. To watch the documentary is to find much reason for hope:
That last theme is crucial to the filmmakers. A good amount of the program looks at how economically depressed areas in Boyle Heights, the north San Fernando Valley and El Monte benefit from re-connecting and fighting for Los Angeles' environment. "Improving L.A.'s natural environment," says the mayor on screen, "will improve families and the economy."
"Eden's Lost and Found" is part of a series that also looks at innovative solutions in Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago and other American cities. A companion book and DVD provide ample information for would-be activists.
Wiland, a Venice resident and Jewish activist, sees the effort as part of a larger educational and social campaign. "We want everyone to be involved in dreaming a different city," he said.