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.
As if on cue, several cities have already filed suit to block the penalty provisions in Assembly Bill 1484, the budget trailer bill passed two weeks ago.
Despite the tumult caused by that the demise of redevelopment, the recent perils of the cities of San Bernardino and Stockton did not stem from redevelopment-related costs. If soaring pensions costs and operational expenses were the immediate cause of the bankruptcies, the underlying cause did not stem from overly ambitious redevelopment schemes but rather from the prolonged housing bust that has choked off revenue to the cities (and, not to mention, financially crippled many of their residents).
Following an intense battle among some of the leading institutions in California planning, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) has rescinded Assembly Bill 904. AB 904 would have reduced parking minimums in high-transit areas statewide, taking a step towards what many planners and developers consider a crucial reconsideration of parking regulations.
Amid criticism from representatives of cities and successor agencies, the legislature approved Assembly Bill 1484, the redevelopment budget trailer bill, yesterday. The bill includes provisions that streamline the wind-down of redevelopment while, critics say, granting new, and possibly unconstitutional, powers to the Department of Finance.
Call them the spawn of Assembly Bill 1X 26. In the wake of the dissolution of redevelopment, lawmakers in Sacramento have been working on a host of bills intended to, at least partially, compensate for the loss of redevelopment and to make the dissolution process go more smoothly. As the legislative season heads into its home stretch, some bills have died while others are gamely moving towards Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.
For the past few months a supercomputer with UCLA researchers at its helm has been trying to figure out what the weather will be like in Los Angeles in the middle of the 21st century. You’d hope that somewhere in there it would find some good news. Maybe we'll get decades of consecutive weeks of 72-degree days, like Steve Martin reported in LA Story? Not so much.
Yesterday the American Planning Association proudly released the results of a recent poll entitled Planning in America: Perceptions and Priorities, which it commissioned indicating that Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of community planning. Given the state of national politics, it's no wonder that Americans are reserving their passions for local issues. Boss Tweed and Mayor Quimby are looking like angels by comparison.
Once a shiny, exciting new concept, transit oriented development is easing into the mainstream like a train approaching a station--in thought, if not yet on the ground. Yesterday's Transit Oriented Development Summit, sponsored by the LA chapter of the Urban Land Institute and held at the University of Southern California, attempted to lay the track for a long, prosperous ride -- rather than a dead-end.
The dispute between the State of California and a group of Malibu residents regarding the restoration of the Malibu Lagoon is the latest land-use dispute in this city which occupies – apt word! – a coveted, 30-mile stretch of coastline in Los Angeles County. To the outward eye, the issue appears to center on the state’s desire to restore a degraded wetlands area vs. the concerns of local surfers who are fretting about the fate of the legendary point break at Surfrider Beach.
Just as new policies are arising in California to wean Californians off their cars, a force more powerful than public policy has arisen to get the next generation all amped up about driving. No, gas prices haven't plummeted and high speed rail isn't dead (yet). Those would be child's play compared to Cars Land -- the newest "world" at Disney's California Adventure theme park.
Now that the age of Senate Bill 375 has arrived, transit-oriented development is poised to become not just a trend but indeed a common practice in California. But, as a typology, TOD is still unknown territory for many developers and planners. Just how to create appealing, equitable developments that actually achieve the goal of getting people out of their cars remains an inexact science. Thus, the Urban Land Institute’s TOD Summit, to be held at USC this Thursday, June 7.
In the wake of a court ruling to deny a temporary restraining order against the June 1 disbursement of property tax funds, KCRW Santa Monica’s venerable public affairs show “Which Way L.A.?” included a segment on the ongoing fallout from the death of redevelopment. CP&DR editor Josh Stephens participated in the discussion, along with host Warren Olney and Irvine City Council Member Larry Agran, who explained the impact of redevelopment on plans for Irvine’s Great Park. Tune into the podcast, recorded Thursday, May 31, by clicking below:
How do cities create a thriving urban fabric on large lots? How do you build large developments to fit within existing communities? How can large developments contribute to neighborhood vitality rather than overshadow it?
Yesterday the Senate Budget Subcommittee 4 heard testimony from cities and other supporters of redevelopment in opposition to a bill that could limit the number of former redevelopment projects that receive funding under Assembly Bill 1X 26.