GRIFFITH PARK—On Saturday, September 12, there will be a five-mile hike around Griffith Park to raise money for the upcoming New Urbanism Film Festival.
New Urbanism, as explained by festival co-founder Joel Karahadian, is “a movement to reclaim the way that cities used to be built.” Karahadian told Canyon News, “It was developed as an answer to the suburban sprawl model of development, and it’s all about building cities on a human scale. That means buildings that are close together in configurations that are walkable and bike-able and offer public transit options to people…and not built in such a way that people are economically segregated from each other.”
The New Urbanism Film Festival started in 2013 and has doubled in size each year since its inception, in terms of the number of films submitted and interest in the festival. This year, it will take place from October 8-11 at the ACME Theater in Hancock Park. The festival’s events include a week-long filmmaking challenge, a pastry walk, screenings, workshops, and more.
The Griffith Park hike will take participants around many of the park’s famous spots, such a Bee Rock, Beacon Hill, and the Old Zoo, where the hike will culminate in an optional picnic with lunch from Twist Eatery. The hike will be lead by Seth Smigelski, the founder of hikespeak.com, a website with an interactive archive of over 500 hikes that are searchable by distance and level of difficulty.
Smigelski will be going over the history and heritage of the park along the way, “taking us through a site filled with urban history and connections to the LA River, the indigenous inhabitants of the region, and outsized personalities from LA’s past, such as William Mulholland and Col. Griffith J. Griffith, who donated the park to the city,” according to a press release.
When asked how the hike ties into the idea of New Urbanism, Karahadian said, “Parks and green space [are] an important part of building healthy cities…As human beings, we have this need to be connected to nature and to have that outlet.” He uses New York City’s Central Park as an example: “People always say, ‘Well, without [Central Park], everybody in the city would go crazy.'”
Bringing up the potential downfalls of the “suburban sprawl” model again, he says, “Part of what led to the mistakes of suburban sprawl is this desire to be near nature, because everyone has this conception of, ‘Oh, I’m gonna live in a little cabin in the woods, but I still want to be attached to the city.’ If we focused on planning and building our cities well and incorporating park space that everybody has access to, then you wouldn’t necessarily have that diversion into [the suburbs]. I think [the hike] is just about highlighting that the park is part of the city and it’s an important part of the city, both environmentally and psychologically.”
The hike begins at 9:30 a.m. and goes until 12:30 p.m. It will start at the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, which has a large parking area nearby. The hike is $20 by itself, and $35 with lunch. To sign up for the hike, visit eventbrite. Thursday, September 10, is the last day to sign up for the hike with the lunch option, and Friday, September 11, is the final day to sign up for the hike. There are a limited number of tickets.