Claire Robinson is Founder and Managing Director of Amigos de los Rios. She has a multi-disciplinary background in art, architecture, urban planning and business, the combination of which has led Amigos to create a regional green infrastructure vision for east Los Angeles County known as the San Gabriel Emerald Necklace. ROADTRIP TO PANDO is produced in association with Amigos.
Claire shares thoughts on the ROADTRIP below, and what she expects. Read more about the ROADTRIP TO PANDO here and get your own seat on the bus!
You’re best known as a designer and specialist on land use. What’s unique about the way you look at Pando and its significance?
Pando is all about community and connection — connection to each other, connection to the Earth, connection between all living creatures — with a focus on the magical role trees play in our lives. Pando is a great movement to help us connect, each to each, at a critical time in our history.
At Amigos de los Rios, the Pando spirit of connectivity gets expressed in our ongoing work to develop a Los Angeles Basin Wide Green Infrastructure network, known as the Emerald Necklace. The work is based on the 1930 Olmsted Bartholomew Plan for our region that we have expanded and interpreted in contemporary terms. Each urban greening site we implement with community support is a microcosm of the complete self-regulating entity (analogous in complexity to a living organism) we know as “CITY.”
You’ll be with us on the ROADTRIP TO PANDO in late September. Why are you going?
This is a crossroads time for our country in terms of how we all connect to each other, and how that might happen more effectively and with greater empathy.
My team and I are going on the ROADTRIP because we want to connect with other people and with nature in new and productive ways at a time that is mission-critical for the health of our nation.
When we think of our country’s infrastructure, we believe it is urgent to develop and express a collective vision about converging natural or green infrastructure with traditional infrastructure projects. Natural Infrastructure protection and enhancement is as critical as traditional civil engineering for roads and bridges.
What’s a private ambition you’re hoping for?
I want to connect with greater confidence and hope to the collective work we are all doing and find a way to reinvent the dynamics of our team’s work — to include a sense of abundance and develop an ever-greater ability to positively impact the lives of more people in tangible ways.
I’m also hoping that the ROADTRIP experience might result in a childrens’ book to share with others.
What would make the experience one of the most amazing trips you’ve ever been on?
It will be amazing if we connect to a wide range of new people who join together in deep understanding for collective impact to start a new humanist greening movement across the U.S. — with special focus on the LA Basin as a case study.
I want to be present at the birth of a new sister community that would bring together rural and urban members for information exchange, connection and new levels of understanding and positive action within our democracy.