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Data-Based Methodology

The LA River Master Plan is based on the interpretation of a rich collection of data describing the physical, social, and cultural attributes of the LA River, its surroundings, its watershed, and LA County.

This data-based methodology is designed to facilitate decision making, building a defensible basis for funding and policy.

Hundreds of datasets informed the LA River Master Plan. Several datasets were created for the first time during this planning process, such as a comprehensive mapping of the river right-of-way, a database of planned projects, an operations and maintenance assessment, a comprehensive 51-mile mapping of access points, and digitized versions of key historic maps. Additionally, the community engagement process led to a wealth of new data generated from the people of LA County.

The datasets compiled for this update were mapped and illustrated using river rulers (See the Appendix Volume II: Technical Backup Document). The rulers illustrate complex information about communities, flood infrastructure, dry and wet weather flows, recreation, parks and open space, arts and culture, wildlife, ecological communities, water quality, and geophysical characteristics and relate the data to the river mile and the left or right bank of the river. This representation facilitates the comparison of data across categories. The rulers are incredibly useful for representing complex, dense information and comparing data across communities with varied cultural and demographic fabrics along the river. When several rulers are aligned, a rich cross-section of data emerges, allowing comparison of factors that might not have previously been considered side by side and revealing physical patterns and thematic connections. This allows for cross-disciplinary communication between the typically engineering-based aspects of the river and the rich cultural and social fabrics, histories, and ecologies of the river (see Appendix II, Technical Backup Document for the full river ruler atlas compiling rulers from all of the LA River Master Plan analysis datasets).

Over 200 river rulers were created from hundreds of datasets throughout the development of the Master Plan. The full set of river rulers is located in Appendix Volume II: Technical Backup Document.
OLIN, 2019.

Some datasets assembled for this Master Plan became critical to understanding community needs and were used in the needs mapping for specific goals.

Ultimately, the data-based methodology of the LA River Master Plan allows for a better understanding of the existing conditions of the LA River to inform the future of the reimagined river.

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