With the next CicLAvia coming up on October 6th, the hugely popular bike and pedestrian-friendly event has shown Angeleno's have an appetite for great public programming that celebrates our fair city. But did you know CicLAVia was actually inspired by the Ciclovías of Bogotá, Colombia, began nearly 30 years ago and now a worldwide phenomenon. Plenty of LA residents already participate in Park[ing] Day, next appearing on September 20 (courtesy of San Francisco). And last year, we were host to the traveling public art exhibition, Play Me I'm Yours (a British import). Which got us thinking – what other great ideas are generated in other cities that LA should borrow? Here are a few innovative ideas, festivals and celebrations LA should emulate. Got any others? Join us in the comments and let's hope our new Mayor is listening.
Restaurant Day: Begun two years ago in Helsinki, Restaurant Day has grown to a worldwide single day event four times a year. Basically, anyone can set up a restaurant, café or bar for a day anywhere they like--an office, street corner, garden, or park. With LA's love of food trucks, fresh produce and pop up anything, this should be a no-brainer. Maybe those proposed parkway produce strips can provide some fruits and vegetables.
Siivouspäivä: What is it with Helsinki? Another idea from our Finnish friends, this one proves that one man's trash really is another man's treasure with their annual Cleaning Day. The unpronounceable event turns neighborhoods into giant secondhand stoop sales. Anyone can sell their items and in Helsinki there are several recycling stations around the city open to everyone and free of charge.
Jane's Walk: Finally an idea that doesn't come from Scandinavia! This time, blame Canada. Named for legendary urbanist (as opposed to urban legend) Jane Jacobs, Jane's Walk encourages free walking tours held on the first weekend of May each year lead by locals. There are now 600 walks in over 100 cities around the world.
Nuit Blanche: Yes, we know about First Fridays at the Natural History Museum and the upcoming Glow on the beach in Santa Monica, but these pale in comparison to Nuit Blanche (literally White Night), the all night arts festivals that take place globally. The event keeps museums, public and private art galleries open all night and free of charge, essentially transforming the city itself into an art gallery.
Fête de la Musique: Do ideas just sound better in French? With the abundance of performing talent in LA, this one should be a no-brainer. Thirty years ago, Paris mounted a one day festival that celebrated music, bringing amateur and professional musicians in to the streets to perform. The idea has grown, with festivals now in 460 cities in 110 countries. --Marissa Gluck