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Photo: Neon returns to Havana (Vern Evans, Havana Light Tour)

Castro and Cuban architecture 13 MIN, 42 SEC

During Fidel Castro's decades-long control of Cuba, development in Havana was largely stalled, leaving a historic city intact but in disrepair. Rosa Lowinger talks about its astounding architectural legacy, the famed Arts Schools, the Russian footprint, and the challenges ahead for preservation as construction of hotels and tourist businesses booms.

Another legacy of Castro is the absence of billboards and commercial signs in the urban fabric of Havana. The only signage tended to be political posters. Al Nodal, founder of the LUMENS Project, is behind an effort to restore Havana's commercial neon signs and revive the Havana of the post-war years -- when the city was America's playground.

Guests:
Rosa Lowinger, conservator and author
Al Nodal, LUMENS Project

More:
Design lover's guide to Havana
Forgotten art schools of Cuba
The return of neon lights to Havana
Havana Noir Neon Tour
The Guardian: American influence on Cuban architecture in the Havana Hilton

Tropicana Nights

Rosa Lowinger

Filling the shoes of Lewis MacAdams 13 MIN, 37 SEC

When engineers in the late 1930s conceived the idea of encasing a 51-mile sprawling waterway in concrete it made sense -- two massive storms had just caused highly destructive and deadly floods. But when the poet Lewis MacAdams and friends gathered at the river in the mid-1980s, that engineering feat had come to represent an ugly barrier and repudiation of nature.

For 30 years, MacAdams has led the chorus for re-imagining our concrete flood control channel through the nonprofit he co-founded, Friends of the Los Angeles River. Its work helped bring about approval of a $1.6-billion federal project to restore natural habitat and expand access along an 11-mile section of riverbed north of downtown. But success has also brought conflict over competing interests and design and development goals at the river. DnA talks to MacAdams and FOLAR's new Executive Director, Marissa Christiansen, about what's next for the LA River.

Guests:
Lewis MacAdams, Friends of the Los Angeles River (@FoLARtweets)
Marissa Christiansen, Friends of the Los Angeles River
Gideon Brower, Independent Producer (@GideonLA)

More:
The LA River's best friend: Lewis MacAdams
Lewis MacAdams: Poetic Politics on the Los Angeles River
Lewis MacAdams steps down
Frances Anderton and Christopher Hawthorne discuss the LA River on Archinect's Next Up: LA River podcast

Good Grief!

Lewis Macadams and the Dark Bob

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