the underpinning

the underpinning; Conversation


the underpinning

the underpinning; Conversation



January 27, 2024


LA State Historic Park

1501 N Spring Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012


the underpinning
Conversation with Molly Rysman, Sissy Trinh, Theresa Hwang
Saturday, January 27, 2024; 1:30-3:30 PM
Los Angeles State Historic Park

How can we think of housing not only as an object but as a community and home? Why must Angelenos have to choose between public space and affordable housing? How does our public infrastructure, like parks and housing, invite or exclude some members of our city in their planning and use? Theresa Hyuna Hwang (moderator), Molly Rysman, and Sissy Trinh contend with these questions in their respective positions as architect and facilitator, government worker, and organizer to center residents in addressing equitable development within their communities. In conversation with Clockshop’s commissioned project, the underpinning, by artist Rodrigo Valenzuela, this cohort examined how we can better imagine public housing and green, public spaces for Los Angeles through our collective consciousness and action.

Listen to the full conversation below.

As a resource we offer this information guide on some of the histories of urban planning in Los Angeles that shape our current housing crisis, in which decades of racist policies deny power to poor and working-class BIPOC communities and disconnect us from our natural environment and each other.

Download the Informational Guide in EnglishSpanish or Chinese.

This Community Pact can serve as a starting point for neighbors and business owners in gentrifying neighborhoods to move and become active community members fighting for positive change in our communities.

Download This Community Pact here.


Theresa Hyuna Hwang (she/her) is a community-engaged architect, educator, facilitator, and founder of the Department of Beloved Places. She has spent over 15 years supporting equitable cultural community development across the US with multiple organizations and campaigns. She received her Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design (2007) and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Johns Hopkins University (2001). She is a licensed architect in California.

Molly Rysman (she/her) has spent over 20 years working to ensure that solutions to homelessness are developed with care and in community. Molly grew up in Maine and came to Los Angeles to attend the California Institute of the Arts for cinema. She pursued a career in housing justice, working for a variety of nonprofits, elected officials, and government agencies. She currently serves as the Director of Policy and Planning for Housing for Health within the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. She has previously served as the Chief Program Officer for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and as the Senior Homeless and Housing Deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. In 2017, Molly was awarded a Stanton Fellowship, which allowed her to create the Reframing Homeless Solutions project and co-host the Housing Justice LA podcast.

Sissy Trinh (she/her) is the founder and Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA) in Los Angeles. SEACA engages in innovative organizing with youth on land use policy and equitable development campaigns and a new wave of gentrification slated for Chinatown that was proceeding with no meaningful input from residents. Under SEACA’s mentorship, the youth learn about how decisions are made within City Hall and abstract concepts such as how zoning can impact rents, racial justice, and their community’s overall quality of life in order for them to become powerful advocates to advance a comprehensive vision of social, economic and racial justice.


Arrival: Los Angeles State Historic Park is located at 1245 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, directly adjacent to Chinatown and the Metro Gold Line. The reception will take place at the Roundhouse Bridge in the center of the main lawn. The park is located just 1 mile away from Los Angeles Union Station, making it accessible from several Metro routes. We highly recommend using public transportation, rideshare, biking, or carpooling. 

Parking options: There is paid parking at 1501 N Spring Street, the main parking lot of the park, at $2/hour, up to $8 daily. The park will open the dirt overflow parking lot directly in front of the main parking lot which is free and first come, first served. There is also free street parking around the park. Please avoid parking near residential homes on the east side of Main Street and give yourself plenty of time to park and walk over!

Restrooms: There are several all-gender public restrooms and portapotties on site.

the underpinning was commissioned by Clockshop and supported through our long-standing partnership with California State Parks. The production of this work was generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Pasadena Arts Alliance, with additional support from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and Clockshop’s generous community of supporters.