The proposed Solano County new town got more publicity than any planning story in recent memory -- despite being barely a proposal. But maybe California could learn a little from the visionary nature of the whole enterprise.
A few years back, Bruegmann wrote Sprawl: A Compact History, an exaltation of low-density growth. It called for cities to double-down on all the conventions and mistakes of the previous 50 years. It was a disturbingly anachronistic, but it was provocative, and it was passionate.
It seems that these days there's still plenty of in urbanist literature, but, for better or worse, provocation is getting harder to come by.
As inscrutable as public policy may be sometimes, academics and professionals alike sometimes like to believe that they have all the answers. Sometimes, though, an esteemed professor such as USC planning professor Lisa Schweitzer, willingly throws up her hands. >>read more
One of the country's leading experts on land use law, attorney and UCLA professor Robert Freilich has tried cases and designed plans in hundreds of cities and witnessed the legal and conceptual evolution of planning. In 1999 he co-authored From Sprawl to Smart Growth: Successful Legal, Planning and Environmental Systems, which heralded the mainstreaming of the smart growth movement. >>read more
Amid budget shortfalls and a development drought, California cities and counties have stopped planning.But they haven't stopped coding.
Form-based code fever is still in full force throughout California. From north to south, cities – and, occasionally, counties as well – are using a good portion of their meager planning money to create form-based codes. Sometimes these codes are being created citywide, but more often they are focused on downtowns, older corridors, dead mall sites, and other locations designated for higher density or mixed-use development.
Westwood Village sits in the middle of a rare constellation of commercial districts. To the east lie Prada, Spago and the extravagance of Beverly Hills. To the south, Century City offers a resplendent new multiplex and every imaginable upscale chain store. To the west, Santa Monica's Promenade ranks as the paragon of L.A. urbanism. Further afield, the ersatz streets of The Grove and CityWalk attract "destination" shoppers from all over the region.
By the unusual standards of West Los Angeles, Westwood Village could be cited for blight. Yet even as other pockets of the Westside become ever more upscale, the city's new focus on "elegant density" and strategic infill might leave Westwood behind.