The Los Angeles Urban Rangers

Public space isn’t something that’s just out there. Of course it’s defined in part by regulation and management, but it’s also defined by presence. By being a group of people and occupying a place we create public space through this public behavior.

Using play and friendliness and fun – those are strategies, really. [...] important strategies for addressing the issues we want to address.

The Los Angeles Urban Rangers (2004-) develop interpretive tools to spark creative explorations of everyday habitats, in their home megalopolis and beyond. An interdisciplinary collective, the Rangers includes artists, writers, architects, geographers, and anyone else who’s eager to investigate the intertwined human and natural ecologies of the planet while wearing neatly pressed khakis and a large hat. Past projects have included a field kit for interstate road trips, a field guide to the L.A. County Fair, a trail system for a vacant lot in the Netherlands, an overnight campout about gentrification in downtown Los Angeles, guided hikes such as One Strip After Another: Camouflage and Display On Hollywood Boulevard, as well as the Malibu Public Beaches guide and safaris, which equipped people with the advanced skills required to find and use a public beach in Malibu. Their projects have appeared in “Actions: What you Can Do With the City” at the Canadian Center for Architecture, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, “Performing Public Space” at La Casa de Túnel in Tijuana, Creative Time’s social practice archive for “Living as Form,” and (most recently) “Engagement Party” at MOCA, among other shows. They also hold frequent and extremely friendly campfire talks about their work, in venues that have ranged from their hometown LACE gallery and Farmlab to Princeton University, Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm, and Zurich University of the Arts. They can currently be found funneling their considerable enthusiasm as public servants into a new video about the often-unseen redevelopment strata and social and ecological connections that constitute the urban center that Los Angeles allegedly does not have.