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A student team from UCLA Extension's Landscape Architecture Program recently won a competition held by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works to design drought-tolerant street medians for San Vicente Boulevard.

The winning concept features easily reproducible materials and native plants, including desert willow, California gray rush and Pacific stonecrop.  The contrast between the greenery and the surrounding concrete streetscape is intended as a visual metaphor for the blending of Southern California's built and natural environments.

The design also implements a series of pre-cast concrete blocks which will both provide visual interest and help funnel storm water into an underground retention system for irrigation purposes.  This feature is a modern variation of the traditional bioswale, which removes silt and pollution from surface runoff water. 

The first installation of the new medians is slated for the 1.5-mile stretch of San Vicente between Fairfax Aveue and Pico Boulevard.  However, an exact timeline for the project is currently unclear.

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Senior Affordable Housing Opens Near Orange County's Great Park

The two-building development features 157 apartments.
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Developers Related California and FivePoint have opened a new affordable housing complex near Irvine's Great Park.  The project, called Luxaira, features 157 residential units catering to low-income seniors.  It is the second senior affordable development to be built in the Great Park neighborhoods by Related, FivePoint, and collaborator RCC Charitage.  To date, more than 500 affordable housing units have been built around the park in four separate projects.