Urban Geographers out in the Field

group in tunnel2UCSB Geography field trip! Lecturer Jennifer Bernstein, along with 50 of her GEOG 108 Urban Geography students, headed south to the LA River on Saturday, May 14th. Hosted by FOLAR (Friends of the LA River), the group spent the day touring the river and the surrounding area. This trip was a case study in the social, political, environmental, and economic factors that go in to managing nature in an urban environment.

As quoted by Bernstein, “Natural places are often shown as the opposite of urbanized places, but this field trip challenged that dichotomy. The river affects people while people affect the river, and ultimately, natural places and cultural places are inseparable from one another.”

group shot LA RiverDid you know that a river runs through the city of Los Angeles? The LA River was formerly the main source of water for Los Angeles, despite many people not knowing that a river runs through LA. The group toured the portion of the river that was lined with concrete after the floods of the 1930’s, as well as the soft bottomed area – home to fish, birds, and other wildlife.


In addition to the exploring the river, the students were able to see various cultural sites along the river- art installations, and sites where Grease, Anchorman, and Thriller were filmed.  Lunch was at a 100 year old diner (none other than Philippe The Original), and they saw Friends of the LA River’s advocacy work- they hold river cleanups, fishing derbys, etc., and advocate for concrete removal and public access.

Thank you to the UCSB Geography department for funding this event!