View From My Balcony

For a class project I had to learn how to create and upload a video onto YouTube.  Not as simple as you think.  At least that is coming from a technologically challenged person.  I guess millions of others have not had that much trouble.  

Regardless, here is my video: a view from my apartment balcony in Silver Lake.  Quite a view, even on an overcast day.  I love LA…


March 3, 2009 at 6:27 am Leave a comment

Urban Eating Habits Survey

In an effort to understand how respondents utilize the resources provided by their urban environment when making choices related to food consumption, the survey “Urban Eating Habits” was created. Using Google Docs Forms, the survey presented 10 questions that touched upon subjects ranging from the tendency towards delivery/take-out to the frequency of visits to a famer’s market.  Urban Interpretations hopes that this brief online survey will begin to expose a general trend amongst city dwellers with regard to their eating habits. 

While the survey is too narrow to paint a clear picture of how respondents, and a greater urban population, truly dine, both in and out of the house, this exercise will prepare Urban Interpretations for the continued use of Google Docs Forms in its work.  This web-based tool provides a simple means for broader community engagement and Urban Interpretations looks forward to the continued utilization of this device.

To access the online survey, please click on the following link: 

Summary of Findings:

Twelve respondents took part in the first Urban Eating Habits survey of 2009.  Interesting highlights from the survey include the following: Of these 12 respondents, 67% make coffee or tea in their home in the morning and 58%, will only do take-out/delivery once a week.  While 43% of respondents go out to eat 2 times a week, 58% say that price is somewhat of a factor when choosing a restaurant.  Respondents are spread across the board in terms of how often they visit a farmer’s market in a month; however, Trader Joe’s is by far the most popular grocery store amongst the respondents.

This chart represents each respondent’s number of visits to a farmer’s market in a month:


To access the complete data set, please click the following link: 


February 24, 2009 at 6:20 am Leave a comment

Requirements Document – Santa Obispo Economic Development Corporation

Online Membership Directory Project

Prepared for:            Santa Obispo Economic Development Corporation

Prepared by:            Amanda Bromberg

Prepared on:            February 17, 2009


Version:            V1

Filename:            so_edc_omd.doc

Project Summary:

Urban Interpretations has been contracted by the Santa Obispo Economic Development Corporation (SOEDC) to develop a secure online membership directory for its 200-some members.  While an annual membership directory has been published in the past, the client wishes to reduce its costs through the implementation of an online directory, which its staff can easily update when new membership information becomes available.  This user-friendly online database will allow for a more streamlined and accessible membership directory, available at any moment to all active SOEDC members.

 1.  Member Usage Requirements

Requirements ID                        Description                                                                       

R1.1            Members will be required to use a login to access this secure site.

R1.2            Member directory will offer members a way to reset their passwords automatically.

R1.3            Members will not have the authority to update their own contact information on the online membership directory.

2.  Design and Structural Requirements

Requirements ID                        Description                                                                       

R2.1            Each membership listing will include the member’s name, company, title, address, email, website address, and a color photo.

R2.2            Member directory will list members by both last name and company name.

R2.3            Member directory will be searchable by members’ last name, company name, as well as by keyword.

R2.4            The online membership directory will contain a running log of those who sign in at all times for review only by the Santa Obispo EDC.

R2.5            A weekly report of this sign-in log will be emailed to the Santa Obispo EDC system administrator.

3.  Authority and Security Requirements

Requirements ID                        Description                                                                       

R3.1            Only the staff at the Santa Obispo Economic Development Corporation will be granted the authority to update members’ contact information on the online membership directory, members will not have this power.

R3.2            Membership data will continue to be stored in SalesforceCRM and only the staff at the Santa Obispo Economic Development Corporation will be granted the authority to update members’ contact information on the online membership directory.

R3.3            Only active members will be granted the approval to log into the online membership directory.

R3.4            Online directory will be located on a secure website.

R3.5            All data stored and transferred on the site must remain completely secure.

R3.6            The online membership directory will be backed up daily.

4.  Project Risks

Urban Interpretations believes in the power of transparency in our work; therefore, we wish to list the following potential risks associated with this project:

Clunky Updating Process: The project wishes to deny members the ability to update their own information on the online membership directory.  By granting permission to only the SOEDC staff, the updating process contains an extra, time-consuming step in order to keep all membership information stored in both the SalesforceCRM and the online directory up-to-date.  Furthermore, this added step creates the possibility for error when transferring updated membership information from SalesforceCRM to the online directory.

Security Issues: By granting members the ability to reset their password automatically, SOEDC allows for the possibility that non-members will gain access to these updated passwords.  Through access to a member’s email, a non-member could easily trace the member’s new password and enter the online membership directory.  With the potential for so many new passwords floating in cyberspace, tracing the offender will become a difficult task.




February 17, 2009 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Two Suspects Arrested in Robberies in the Silver Lake Area

This is from the LA Times Blog today.  After purchasing pepper spray and carrying it with me during walks with my dog, I am glad to hear that there has been some closure to this awful situation.  One of the things I love most about Silver Lake is how safe I feel here.  Let’s hope the community continues to galvanize to prevent events such as this from happening again… read on.

Two suspects arrested in robberies in the Silver Lake area

4:13 PM, February 10, 2009

City and police officials this afternoon announced the capture of two juvenile gang members who were allegedly involved in a string of robberies in the Silver Lake area. The arrests were made Saturday by undercover officers tracking local gang members believed to be responsible for the robberies, said Capt. Bill Murphy of the LAPD’s Northeast Division. Two males–a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, were taken into custody on suspicion of armed robbery. A search warrant at their homes led to the recovery of several items connecting them to the robberies, Murphy said. The suspects are believe to have committed two of the four violent robberies near Hyperion and Rowena avenues, Murphy said. A third incident occurred in the LAPD’s Rampart Division, he said. The suspects, Murphy said, lived near Los Feliz. Residents became aware of the robberies after a man was severely beaten shortly after midnight Jan. 31 near Rowena and Hyperion. The attack left residents on edge, believing that the assault was a hate crime. But city and police officials quickly downplayed the rumors. “We have no evidence at all that that is the case. We believe [the victims] were just targeted because they made the best robbery victims that they could find,” Murphy said. “The victims ranged from juvenile to adults of different races. The commonality is that they were single males and that [the robberies] occurred late at night.” In most of the nine robberies, the suspects used a gun or knife to take wallets, cellphones and iPods from their victims, Murphy said. Six robberies occurred in the Echo Park area from Dec. 30th through Jan. 21st, Murphy said. Most of the incidents occurred along the Sunset corridor, from Alvarado Street to Vermont Avenue, where several eclectic restaurants, bars and nightclubs are situated. “We have a very simple message for those who will continue to commit crimes in our community: You will get caught, and you will go to jail. Today we see an evidence of that,” said Councilman Eric Garcetti, whose district includes Silver Lake and Echo Park. “These are our streets, not their streets,” he said. –Ruben Vives

February 11, 2009 at 1:54 am Leave a comment

String of Assaults in Silver Lake

I hate that this horrible story is only the second post on my blog, but I feel it is extremely important for a site that claims to be about interpreting the urban environment to not ignore suh a scary phenomenon occurring on our city’s streets – especially since SL is my neighborhood!  Please read and pass on to anyone you know who may be affected…

Be alert! – String of assaults in Silver Lake

By Chal Pivik

February 2nd, 2009 @ 8:03 PM Breaking NewsCrime

Beware. A string of assaults has occurred in Silver Lake over the past few weeks. I received this email a few minutes ago from a friend. It makes a good argument for David Markland’s post a little further down the page about  LAPD implementing Twitter as a community tool.

Dear neighbors,
This past Friday January 30, a friend of mine was brutally assaulted walking from Blair’s near  Hyperion to Edendale Bar and Grill on Rowena. It was maybe between 11:30 PM or 12:30 AM near the West Silver Lake Street entrance on Rowena.  He was pulled into the back of a dark driveway, had a gun pressed against his temple and then savagely thrown to the ground and beaten, crushing his left cheek; he blacked out and doesn’t remember what happened next. He couldn’t see both suspects but got a look at one who he describes as a tall, young Hispanic male.

Larry was rushed to Kaiser on Sunset and when the police came, one exclaimed that this was the 9th such assault by the same suspects in 2 weeks in the Silver Lake area, almost one assault a day!!!  The police also said they were just there the night before with another victim who had his face sliced from the corner of his eye to the the corner of his mouth by the same SOB, they also said they (the police) were on it.

I think if they were truly “on it” we SL residents would have been warned somehow, either by fliers or a news blurb.  My friend is puzzled by the attack and thinks it’s a hate crime since they didn’t take his wallet nor his watch but isn’t quite sure.  I am scared but really really pissed at the police for keeping the 9 assaults, one after the other, on the down-low, so I’m going to spread the word somehow and someway.

A friend and I are making fliers and going to some of the neighborhood bars, cafes and stores and posting warnings.  If you have any ideas– contacting the news, email blasts etc., let me know or just help spread the warning any way you know how.

PS.  Another female dog-owner/friend on Michelterona and Sunset was sexually assaulted 3 weeks ago at 7:30 PM by a tall white male with shoulder length hair.  He didn’t care if she had her 140 lbs dog with her, he grabbed her from behind, pushed her up against a wall and began to fondle her and only let go when he saw a family walking towards them down the hill from Micheltorena.

I apologize for all the somber news but I’m sure you’d rather be safe than sorry.

February 4, 2009 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

Through the Looking Glass

I must admit, I have a fetish for watching new stores open in my neighborhood.  Whether it be a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, furniture store, clothing store, co-working space, flower shop, hair salon, or whatever one tends to come across in most urban environments, I find the opening of a new commercial endeavor to be a fascinating look into the fabric of a particular community.  A successful commercial space provides somewhat of a snapshot of the immediate and neighboring residents of the neighborhood in which the store lies.  More so, a young, yet quickly successful shop can act as a looking glass into the future of a community.

The reason why this theory rests so far at the front of my mind at this moment is the fault of two spaces I have been frequenting as of late: City Sip and K9 Loft, both in Echo Park.  These commercial spots happen to be on the same block in Echo Park.  Both lie on the south side of the street on Sunset, just west of Alvarado.  City Sip ( is an understatedly hip wine bar that sells wine by the glass and the bottle, as well as charcuterie, small bites and cheese plates.  Having only opened in the early fall of 2008, this bar has drawn a consistent crowd into its tiny, yet comfortable quarters every time I have visited (which has now been a handful of times in the last few weeks).  City Sip adds a new level of sophistication to the nighttime activity of a block that also houses a burrito stand, a 7-Eleven and a pizza joint. 

According to its website, “K9 Loft is Echo Park’s premiere five-star dog daycare facility… Our mission is to offer dog owners a new higher level of care for their precious companions.”  The choice of words strongly relays the image that K9 Loft ( has chosen to portray not only on their website, but also through the interior and exterior of their retail space.  I can’t recall exactly when this pet-friendly store opened its doors, but it had to be somewhere between late 2006 and the summer of 2007.  Regardless, the large remodeled space on the corner of Sunset and Rosemont offered new life to the physical bleakness that had come to brand this stretch of Sunset for quite some time.  The plethora of doggies, and people, coming in and out of the loft from morning to night adds to the diversity of the block.

While I have no vested interest in seeing this neighborhood morph into something completely different from what it was before I started patronizing these two commercial spaces, I am quite curious if the seeming success of these shops will translate into the opening of more “premiere” commercial sites along this block.  If the above-theory holds true, we may just see a vegan restaurant open next.  But whether or not that time ever comes, I will continue to take my precious companion Shadow to K9 Loft for his monthly grooming and journey on to City Sip for a relaxing glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

February 3, 2009 at 7:59 am 1 comment

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