“I was driving around, sitting in traffic and I just wanted a break. I wanted to take a vacation,” Ari Kletzky recalls. His eyes drifted over to a traffic island, “And I thought, ‘I want to take it here.’ ” [quoted from the Los Angeles Times]
He started placing signs across LA that playfully redefine the cities’ traffic medians as “The Islands of LA National Parks.” Through this guerrilla-art-meets-city-planning effort and through his blog, islandsofla.com, he hopes to start a discussion asking basic questions about public space: what is it? who owns it? How is it used?
To me, what’s most interesting about his project is his description of the simple desire to step out of his car and take a break in a park-like environment.
Occassionaly local government has responded to his project in punitive ways. The city of Santa Monica removed several of his signs and fined him for the removal. But his efforts have also brought together artists, planners and members of the community.
How could his project not be viewed by local government as a contsructive challenge to improve LA’s public sphere?