University of Southern California | Test Plot: Elephant Hill: Creating a viable ecosystem managed by local community stewardship on once-neglected land. | Goal 5: Thriving ecosystems, habitats, and biodiversity.

Habitat Restoration

Elephant Hill in El Sereno in East LA, is known as a special place to enjoy walking through walnut and oak woodlands, with 360-degree views of the San Gabriel Mountains and downtown skyline. But the area has been overrun with invasive species and largely neglected. For decades, the neighboring community, largely low-income, 80% Latinx 11% Asian, has been working to protect the open space from development. Building on an existing network of five Test Plots across Los Angeles, this project establishes a 5,000 square-foot Test Plot on a publicly owned parcel, to be composed of locally sourced native plant species. The class has partnered with residents and community organizations to develop a site preparation strategy, a design concept and a native planting palette. Over 70 residents participated in an initial planting day in early November and a local stewardship group will continue to maintain the plot for the next two years.

Team: Jen Toy, Department of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism;Carlos Anguiano; Gigi Brito; Sophie Beck; Avery Bystrom; Philip Gilbert; Becca Lubin; Ana Matsubara; Morgan Rose; Yinshan (Zoe) Wang; Faye Zhang; Community Leaders: Joey Farewell; David Iniguez; Christian Aeschilman

Community partners: TreePeople; Northeast Trees; California Native Plant Society; Mountain Recreation Conservation Authority; Coyotl+Macehualli; Save Elephant Hill; Heroes of Elephant Hill

Entire Category Premiere

USC Premiere Segment

Presentation Materials


Yours. The built environment. The birds’. Animals wandering onto freeways… The home we all share.

View all projects in this category

← Return to Pando Days ’22 | Schools & Projects