Councilmen Want to Astroturf Los Angeles and Turn it Into a Big Minigolf Course


Los Angeles’ political leaders have a tendency to say the right things and get all the details wrong. Offering homeowners rebates to replace water hungry lawns is a good idea. Letting them use those rebates to put artificial turf in the parkway (see council motion 14-1197–introduced by councilpersons Blumenfield and O’Farrell) is not ecologically responsible.

I disagree with a recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times, about giving rebates for artificial turf. It’s time for all of us in this dry Mediterranean climate to go beyond the lawn and bad topiary paradigm. Yes, we need to reduce irrigation, but we also need to create landscapes beneficial to all life: to insects, mammals, reptiles and human beings. And we need beauty. Gardens are both ecological and spiritual. If the author of the Times editorial needs a good example of what’s possible, I’d suggest visiting the new garden surrounding the Natural History Museum.

Artificial turf has a place on athletic fields and put-put golf courses. It does not belong in residential landscapes, especially in the parkway.

Thanks to Travis Longcore, science director for the Urban Wildlands Group, for tipping me off to this situation.

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  1. There’s also been some recent reporting that athletes who play on artificial turf have higher incidences of cancer. It seems to be particularly prevalent among soccer goalies who are constantly falling and diving on the turf.

  2. Synthetic turf gets incredibly hot, too. A 2002 study showed the synthetic turf reaching 200° F (93° C) when the atmospheric temperature was 98° F (37° C). If people plan to do sports on it on a warm day, it needs to be watered, which kinda defeats the water-saving purpose.

  3. A neighbor recently put in a fake lawn, very depressing. AND We’ve noticed a trend of a few more people letting their lawns die, and there are quite a few garden beds which are encroaching on the lawns more and more.

  4. Pingback: Gardens not Lawns « Practicing Resurrection

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