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The Back 9: Golf & Zoning Policy in Los Angeles

  • Skid Row History Museum and Archive 250 South Broadway Los Angeles, CA, 90012 United States (map)

The Back 9: Golf and Zoning Policy in Los Angeles

Please join Materials & Applications, Los Angeles Poverty Department and Rosten Woo for a round of mini-golf! “The Back 9” is a playable educational golf course about zoning and redevelopment politics in Downtown LA. Each hole of the course explores a different aspect of zoning and its political implications. In particular, the course connects with the planned Downtown Los Angeles 2040 rezoning, which will have dramatic effects on Skid Row.

Join Materials & Applications on select evenings in September and October:

Friday, September 8 (6PM - 8PM)

Saturday, September 9 (2PM - 5PM)

Friday, October 6 (6PM - 8PM)

About the Project

The Back 9: Golf and Zoning Policy in Los Angeles is a multidisciplinary art project interrogating the power structures that have literally built Los Angeles. The city of Los Angeles created the first set of urban zoning codes in the nation. Ever since then, the city has been particularly effective at wielding these codes as a means for disenfranchising communities, historically handing over an extraordinary amount of control to the city’s developers. City zoning codes are now in process of being re-written as part of the Re:Code LA initiative, and the new codes will first be applied in downtown. Seemingly innocent changes will effectively endanger the integrity of the Skid Row neighborhood, as current zoning mandates that all housing construction within Skid Row’s 50 square blocks be affordable to the extreme poor. Shifting zoning criteria away from “use” specifically opens the area to market rate development and facilitates the displacement of the thousands of formerly homeless hotel residents now living permanently in Skid Row.

The Back 9 includes a visual arts exhibition at LAPD’s Skid Row History Museum & Archive, a thematically related performance work, and additional contextualizing programming (talks, films, workshops) that take place during the 4-month run of the exhibition.

The Back 9  – LAPD’s performance looks at the assumptions behind public policy that gets decided in private by the rich and politically connected. LAPD’ers democratize the process by playing miniature golf that imagines and critiques the decisions made on The Back 9. The performance takes place on a zoning themed miniature golf course designed by Rosten Woo.

As with many of LAPD’s works, this is a multidisciplinary, multifaceted project. The visual art component of this exhibition takes the form of a miniature golf course to be activated by visitors to the Skid Row History Museum and Archive, which is located on the front lines of gentrification in the historic core of downtown Los Angeles. Golf courses, with all their attendant connotations of behind-the-scenes-power-plays, and—particularly in California—controversial land use, is an ideal playing field. By designing our exhibition as a miniature golf course, we are also drawing on a playful means of concretizing obstacles: in this case, calculated insider forces that thwart community autonomy.