What Separated Los Angeles from Its River?

In the early twentieth century, a booming Los Angeles was separated from the river in three decisive steps. First, an aqueduct was built more than 200 miles north to  water to the city from the Sierra Nevada—a move mythologized in the movie Chinatown. Then, the city took control of all water rights on the river. Finally, the river was encased in concrete after rampaging floods in the 1930s; it became a drainage ditch, shunting water as quickly and efficiently as possible to the ocean.

Jon Christensen, writing about artist Lauren Bon for the Virginia Quarterly Review. Bon plans to “bend the river back into the city” with La Noria, a large-scale project involving an enormous water wheel powered by the river.

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