It’s no secret that Walmart stores have caused the entire economies of small towns to decamp for some highway strip and, ultimately, wind up in Bentonville. But at least you know a Walmart when you see it – from miles away, no less.
A similarly insidious trend toward generic placelessness has been taking place in smaller-scale communities, even in many of the places that progressive planners hail as attractive, functioning communities.
Raw fish will not singlehandedly save urban California. But it can still help.
This week the Huffington Post ran a concerning piece about the recent shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.
Recently, economist and entrepreneurship expert Carl Schramm announced a discovery in the pages of Forbes.com: “the practice of city planning has escaped reality.” Planners don’t see the big picture. They don’t understand economic growth. They’ve unleashed upon us scourges like live-work lofts, fire stations, and bloated pensions.
At first glance, the premise of journalist Daniel Brook's History of Future Cities threatens to overwhelm its substance. "What do these four cities...have in common?" asks Brook, as if co-hosting a parlor game with Edward Glaeser, Saskia Sassen, and Jaime Lerner.
I love a Parisian stroll as much as the next guy does, but I have friends in the planning community who make me look like Robert Moses. They ride fixies. They build parklets. They live in lofts. They go on urban hikes. Some don’t own cars—in Los Angeles. And I have never heard one of them say, “man, I really wish L.A. was more like Bangladesh.”
Among some conservative circles, it’s become fashionable to say that liberals “hate America” any time Democrats try to do, well, anything.
Barrington, Ill.—What can California learn from a sleepy exurb on the edge of nowhere? Not much, I don’t think. California has scarcely ever pretended to care much for small town America. But something that is at once very modern and very old-fashioned is afoot here on Main Street.
I mean Main Street literally. Barrington has a primary commercial street, and it’s called Main. And in the middle of that street, watching over it calmly and without imposition, stands the Catlow Theater, its neon casting a red glow over the prairie.
Even the most irate objectors to Gov. Jerry Brown's dismantling of redevelopment held out hope that in agreeing to killing redevelopment, the legislature would invent a new, better system for stoking local economic growth. Yesterday, the governor dashed those hopes.
On Saturday, California tax law finally catches up with the 21st century: some online retailers -- most notably, juggernaut Amazon.com -- will start charging sales tax for items sold in California if they have warehouse space in the state. Though we always knew there was something fishy about the tax exemption, as a consumer this development does not thrill me. As a citizen of the state, I suppose it's fine. The more money we can raise, the better.
As an urbanist, however, I say bring on the tax.
At least someone thinks California is going to emerge from its mess.
Update: Sen. Michael Rubio and Senate Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg have announced that Senate Bill 317, which would have made major changes to the enforcement of the California Environmental Quality Act, has been killed and will not be heard by the Senate.
Robert Venturi has, as of last week, retired from architecture. If that seems like unremarkable news, because you didn’t know Robert Venturi was still practicing, you’re probably not alone.
How much is a hipster worth to a city? Is she worth more when she's building an app, or when she's writing a blog? Is a hipster with a walrus mustache and a mean whiffle ball pitch worth more than one who wears a sarong and practices aerial yoga? How many of them can dance on the pull tab of a PBR?
LOS ANGELES -- Many of the young urban planners in Los Angeles live exactly where you'd expect them to live: the dense, colorful, decidedly urban neighborhoods in and around downtown Los Angeles. They ride bikes and take trains and, in many ways, live the life that they are trying to design.