The Back 9: Golf and Zoning Policy in Los Angeles


The Back 9 is a consideration of how land use decisions get made and includes a performance, an installation, workshops and contextualizing programming (talks, films, workshops) before and during the run of the exhibition.

At The Skid Row History Museum & Archive, 250 S. Broadway, Los Angeles CA 90012
June 10 – October 28, 2017
Opening: Saturday, June 10 at 2-5pm
Open: Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 2-5pm
Designed by Rosten Woo in collaboration with LAPD

Performances June 8, 9, 10 & 16 @ 8pm & June 17, 2017 @ 3pm matinee
Directed by John Malpede in collaboration with LAPD

Everyone gets to see the show, but we have limited seating.
Reserve your seat at or leave a message at 213-413.1077

Los Angeles Poverty Department’s new performance, played on our zoning themed miniature golf course – designed by Rosten Woo – looks at the assumptions behind public policy that get decided in private by the rich and politically connected.

LA Times – Carolina A. MirandaAn art group’s mini-golf links take on L.A. zoning, density and Trump’s Palos Verdes golf course
LA Downtown News – Eddie Kim – Skid Row Troupe’s ‘The Back Nine’ Delves Into Deals and Zoning
LAist – Julia Wick – Photos: This Zoning-Themed Mini-Golf Course Tackles Housing Issues In L.A.
LA Weekly – Jason McGahan – Who Killed the Skid Row Neighborhood Council?

Join LAPD’ers as they democratize the process by playing miniature golf and critique the decisions made on The Back 9. Between strokes, national and local “thought leaders” including politicians, developers and celebrities engage in imagined conversations on free market philosophy, religion and how to maximize the potential of downtown Los Angeles. On the “The Back 9” strategies are considered for gaining control of and building all over Skid Row by any means necessary: including questionable machinations to defeat Skid Row’s attempt to get it’s own Neighborhood Council and generating a Downtown Community Plan (now in progress), that aspires to make Skid Row “walkable” by building market rate housing and replacing current Skid Row residents with more affluent walkers.

Play the course and consider alternatives to the plan cooked up on The Back 9.

The Back 9 is a zoning-themed playable miniature golf course, designed by Rosten Woo. It covers zoning basics and questions the “Downtown Community Plan” that proposes to make Skid Row into a “walkable” community, by building market rate housing on 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th Streets. The plan is currently open to public review. The exhibition will be playable by visitors to the Skid Row History Museum & Archive, which is located on the front lines of gentrification in the historic core in downtown Los Angeles. Golf courses, with all their attendant connotations of behind-the-scenes-power-plays, not to mention Trump habitat, is an ideal playing field to consider the transparency and or opacity of land use policy.

‘The Back 9’ interrogates the power structures that have literally built Los Angeles. City zoning codes are now in the process of being re-written as part of the Re:Code LA initiative. The new codes will first be applied in downtown with a new community plan now heading for environmental impact review. Among the environmental consequences that are being reviewed is whether the new plan would displace long term low-income residents of Skid Row’s 50 square blocks which currently provide affordable housing to the extreme poor or undermine the sense of community among the thousands of formerly homeless hotel residents now living permanently in Skid Row.


Tom Grode summarizes our first workshop on Affordable Housing – January 7, 2017 – by Rosten Woo.

The Back 9: Golf and Zoning Policy in Los Angeles kicks off with a series of free conversations and workshops, organized by Los Angeles Poverty Department, Rosten Woo and Materials and Applications.

Rosten Woo is an artist, designer, writer, and educator living in Los Angeles. He makes things that help people understand complex systems, re-orient themselves to places, and participate in-group decision-making.

Materials & Applications (M&A) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a public culture of experimental architecture in Los Angeles. Our mission is to advance innovative and critical ideas about architectural design through public projects and programs. We produce outdoor installations, workshops, and dialogues in collaboration with architects, artists, and communities.

The Back 9 has been made possible by a grant from the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts with additional support from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Surdna Foundation.

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