Bunker Hill Park

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I am beginning to fear that this blog will focus on history too much. That is my gateway into the problem, so I want to address it now. Why are we talking about the history of the area when all that history is gone, missing. Can't a park just be a park? Isn't Los Angeles the city of the future. Is the past of Los Angeles relevant now that we are in such a forward looking moment?

Fact is, the park and the music center, all of Bunker Hill really, are a catalog of bad choices in city planning. If this new park was somewhere else entirely I would still suggest looking at the history of Bunker Hill for guidance on what not to do, on how to screw up a good idea. We should all get together for a walking tour and marvel, together, at the truly awful and thoughtless choices made by the designers of the current situation. Then make a list of them and give it to Related as things needing fixing. I would bet they agree. The music center is world reknown for this and the park would be too, if it wasn't hidden and unrecognized.


  • I have a degree in Anthropology, so this idea really stood out as a way of coming to terms with this region's history, and a means of showing that history to future generations through the playing of an ancient and wholly indigenous game.

    How about building an "Ulama" court somewhere in the park? Ulama is commonly referred to as "the ball-game played by Native Americans".

    The game, or forms of it, have been around for over 3,500 years. It is still being played, but only in a few small villages in western Mexico.

    There used to be an Ulama court in the Los Angeles area (built by the Chumash out at Malibu point).

    Ulama courts, in Mexico, are called "taste"s (TA-stay). They don't come anywhere near the size and maintenance requirements a football, baseball, or soccer field would require.

    Cal State Los Angeles has two of the world's foremost ulama scholars at its campus. James Brady (Archaeology) and Manuel Aguilar (Art) recently completed a round of ulama-based research in 2003.

    Here are some links that might help you get a better idea about ulama, and whether or not it might have a place in the new park to be built downtown:

    A general guide to the ball-game:

    Dr. Brady and Dr. Aguilar's "Projecto Ulama" web-site:

    Additionally, Archaeology magazine published an article about this research in their September/October 2003 issue (Volume 56 Number 5) in an article entitled "Extreme Sport" by Colleen B. Popson.

    Check out a portion of it here:

    I'm not much of a visionary, but I have spent my whole life in Los Angeles, and I feel that we need some legitimate means to allow people here to become
    "natives" of this region - to connect with its history, natural and built environment.

    By Blogger ubrayj02, at Wed Sep 14, 08:23:00 PM 2005  

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