Daily digest: COVID funds used for a giant squid statue, water conservation in California, and more

A Tale Of Two Water Uses

Daily digest: COVID funds used for a giant squid statue, water conservation in California, and more

The Bobcat Fire in Monrovia, California, in the summer of 2020, which was exacerbated by drought. Such fires will only get worse as the climate warms further. (Nikolay Maslov/Unsplash)

Happy Friday! Welcome to the end of another work week (and, if you’re in a country that celebrates it, the start of Mother’s Day weekend).

Here’s what you need to know today:

A town in Japan spent their COVID relief funds on a statue of a giant squid

The internet is blowing up over the town of Noto’s decision to spend $230,000 in pandemic relief funding on… a 5.5-ton statue of a squid. The Japanese fishing town, population 16,000, used emergency money earmarked for PPE and other supplies on the sculpture, which they hope will draw tourists and reinvigorate the economy.

H/t to the New York Times

The world’s longest pedestrian (suspension) bridge opens in Portugal

Would you cross a nearly-1,700-foot-long pedestrian bridge suspended over a gorge? Good news, that’s no longer a hypothetical question now that the Institute for Research and Technological Development for Construction, Energy, Environment and Sustainability has completed exactly such a bridge in northern Portugal. Made of 127 linked metal cages, the bottom of the bridge is actually a metal grid, so don’t look down; if you do, you’ll get a clear view of the Pavia Gorge.

H/t to Dezeen

Water conservation investments in California are paying off

Despite terrifying predictions of massive droughts across California for the summer (or as the Los Angeles Times pointed out, just the new normal), Southern California reportedly has enough water for this year and 2022. That’s all thanks to steady increases and investments into water storage and campaigns to reduce consumption.

H/t to Bloomberg CityLab

A $450 million studio will replace a shuttered department store in Hollywood

Bain Capital Real Estate and BARDAS Investment Group are looking to build a studio campus in Hollywood, and a former Sears might be just the place to do it. RIOS, who have been on something of an L.A. County tear lately, have reportedly been tapped to design the $450 million development, which would include high-end offices, four sound stages, a central stage, and a pair of bookending office blocks.

H/t to Urbanize Los Angeles

New York City’s Riverside Park will get a $348 million rehab

Good news if you live on the west side of Manhattan, or just enjoy leisurely Hudson River strolls: On May 4, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would spend $348 million to repair and update the Overbuild below Riverside Park. From West 72nd Street to West 123rd Street, the park sits on an elevated overbuild atop a set of active Amtrak lines, and the structure’s degradation has had serious impacts on the usability of the park above, including damaged walkways and instability. No timeline for the project has been released yet at the time of writing.

New York’s + POOL is moving ahead, maybe

New York City’s + POOL, the cross-shaped floating pool that would purportedly clean and sanitize whichever river it was ultimately installed in, is finally moving forward. Today, capping 11 years of progress, the project cleared a two-year review by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The nonprofit pool project will now work with the NYCEDC to determine logistics planning and to gather community feedback.