There comes a moment in the course of every nascent trend when we must ask, "is that a thing?" For tactical urbanism, that moment has been coming at least since 2008, when the (re)Bar collective deposited its first temporary minipark to inaugurate National Park(ing) Day. It's been coming since Mayor Bloomberg closed Times Square. And it's been coming since people in Los Angeles started referring to gourmet food trucks unironically. >>read more
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. >>read book
The mere existence of Planning Los Angeles speaks volumes about its subject. It's hard to imagine any other city � especially one as relatively young as Los Angeles is � that could inspire a book with over 40 distinct essays by an impressive array of academics and practitioners.
Chances are the typical high-level urban planner, someone who has been through graduate school, secured a good job, and put in the years to rise to a position of authority, lives what might be considered a conventional lifestyle. He or she is probably married, probably has a house, and probably lives among the same. >>read more
A certain beloved urban theorist once wrote about cities and the wealth of nations. With all due respect to Jane Jacobs, forget about nations. In the age of globalization, nations matter less and less. You'd think that cities would too, with the proliferation of electronic communication and the magic of the "cloud." But, argue John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay, one of the big reasons why cities will continue to thrive is actually up among the real clouds. >>read more
Early in her account of the development of San Fernando Valley, Laura R. Barraclough describes an 1880s-era photo that captures the wholesome spirit of what would become Los Angeles' great bedroom community: "Captioned 'Lankershim's best product,' [it] showed several hundred white children standing in a field, grinning at the camera."
Julius Shulman's most famous image-in which disaffected young women in cocktail dresses float above Los Angeles-marks the end of the American experiment as well as does any other gesture in arts and letters. The steel-and-glass jewelbox embodies the equal measures of disappointment and satisfaction that come with a destination reached. After all those decades of toiling across the frontier conclude at the Pacific, the American landscape is complete, its architecture is refined to its sparest elements.