Full-Scale City Models Created From Local Salvaged Scraps [Pics]

An urban planner in Long Beach is trying to make his craft more sustainable and accessible by turning the modeling process into a local art project.


James Rojas tries to make urban planning less intimidating and clinical by creating scale models of cities that are more like colorful board games. An urban planner himself, Rojas believes that by incorporating activities that are “visual, tactile, and playful,” he’s able to engage people better in the process. He claims, “I’m always amazed by people’s ideas and solutions – it’s mind-boggling how many creative ideas people have.”

Recently, Rojas constructed an 80-square-foot scale model of Long Beach in California, USA. Thinking outside the box of conventional scale models, Rojas illustrates the high-rises, buildings, residential houses and retail shops using recycled scrapes of plastic, wood and items salvaged from garage sales and thrift shops. The result is that the model becomes more inviting and interactive. Users can even crawl underneath the model to get a worm’s-eye-view of the city.

The Long Beach model is currently on display at gallery on 421 W. Broadway in Los Angeles. Visitors can have a hands-on try in urban planning through to 22 January.

LA Times: “In Long Beach Exhibit, Urban Planning Is Art And Play”

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