June 1, 2010
The BP Gulf of Mexico disaster provides a teachable moment on the desperate need to wean our cities off petroleum… as if we needed such teaching prior to that horrible accident. It’s an issue directly tied to how we plan development in California. Urban Land Institute (ULI Los Angeles) addresses the power of Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) to corral congestion and streamline resources at its TOD Summit, Friday, June 4 at Hollywood Renaissance Hotel. The day-long conference includes guest speakers U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, and HUD Senior Advisor for Sustainable Housing and Communities Shelley Poticha. There will also be TOD site tours and “fix-it team” recommendations for four underperforming TODs. This includes the Slauson Avenue Blue Line station where ULI important advisory-panel work has been covered by LA Streetsblog, Planetizen, LA Curbed, and more.
Also at TOD Summit, ULI will unveil a significant report on the impact of California Senate Bill 375’s ability to help create both more economically and environmentally sustainable cities. Other surprise big-shots and announcements expected. ULI Los Angeles’ TOD Summit could be a pivotal event in California’s urban evolution.
July 22, 2009
The Governator and legislators finally balanced the state’s titanic deficit. Now the real problems start. Not only will budget cuts be brutal on State programs, but the state will take more than $5 billion from cities. This includes $72 million from Los Angeles’ Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). Wall Street Journal reporter Jim Carlton spoke to CRA Chief Executive Cecilia Estolano, who said, “The state will be in essence shutting down the one economic-development program the state of California has during the worst recession in 70 years.” In other words, when many of these cuts filter down, they will not only shut down police, fire, parks, health and education services, they will also delay hopes of new economic progress.
June 29, 2009
Jack Skelley, Senior V.P. and social-media obsessionist at Paolucci Communication Arts Advertising, Public Relations and New Media, was recently profiled in Urban Land Institute – Los Angeles’ online newsletter and website. Jack also edits RPR’s The Hot Sheet blog and e-newsletter, which you are reading at this moment. The article includes a recounting of RPR’s experience in helping companies “survive and thrive” in the midst of a brutal economy, with links to a series of PDF guides to marketing success created by the communication arts agency. It also offers insight into the importance of green design in creating a more sustainable urban fabric.
March 9, 2009
At the end of another sobering New York Times housing story, Vikas Bajaj points to research saying Los Angeles housing market will hit bottom before other major U.S. cities – and therefore recover first. The Trading in contracts index tracks home commodities futures in 25 metropolitan areas, “suggesting that home prices will fall about 15 percent this year and hit bottom in 2010, according to Radar Logic, a firm that created the index on which the trading is based.” Its data show that Read More
December 11, 2008
It had to happen. A children’s book about urban planning. Where Things Are, From Near to Far, explains what is – when you think about it – a very fundamental issue: Why are cities organized the way they are? (Or disorganized, as the case may be.) The book puts in kids’ terms “the urban-to-rural transect,” which is Miami architect Andrés Duany’s concept of how, in a well-planned environment, density increases toward city centers and along transportation corridors. (Duany is one of the founders and exemplars of New Urbanist design.) Which is all another way of answering the question of little Hugo in the book: “Who put these buildings here?” Published by Read More
December 4, 2008
Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne has trashed the design of the new L.A. Live development. AEG created L.A. Live to capitalize on the economic activity of Staples Center next door (which AEG also owns) and the Los Angeles Convention Center. But, like other urbaneers who have wrung their hands since its announcement a decade ago, Hawthorne worries that “the project is relentlessly focused on creating its own wholly separate commercial universe.” And he blasts the architecture as “not really architecture at all but an extensive series of armatures on which the developer and its tenants can hang logos, video screens and a sophisticated range of lighting effects.”
Then he really gets going: “It’s not simply that AEG Read More
October 21, 2008
ULI Los Angeles, a district council of the Urban Land Institute has announced Katherine Aguilar Perez as its new Executive Director. Perez is the former Vice President of Development for Forest City Development, and was co-founder and Executive Director of the Transportation and Land Use Collaborative of Southern California. Working with ULI Los Angeles Board Chair Wayne Ratkovich, Perez commands day-to-day workings and long-range programming of ULI Los Angeles, one of the largest and most active district councils of the international Urban Land Institute.
October 17, 2008
Although mass transit has gotten a boost too, high gas prices and the slumping economy have ushered in a new wave of transport: hybrids, “smart cars,” and the newest L.A. trend – scooters, says MSNBC.com. The average scooter costs as little as $4 to fill up and can get more than 100 MPG. Also, you don’t need to straddle a scooter as you do a motorcycle. Nor is there a manual transmission. You just sit down, twist the grip and go. Read More
October 9, 2008
The fight against hunger recently received a breath of fresh innovation from a forward-thinking non-profit in Detroit that figured vegetation on stone wall décor could be even more attractive in a hungry stomach. Noting greenery blossoming vertically on city walls, Urban Farming Founder Taja Sevelle correctly reasoned that edible plants should thrive as well. Sevelle teamed with architects and engineers to form Urban Farming Food Chain which constructed and secured four 30-foot-long-by-6-foot-high walls containing 4,000 plants in four Los Angeles Skid Row locations. Read More
September 8, 2008
In one of the Los Angeles Times’ more eye-opening op-eds of late, a transportation expert makes the case for solving L.A.’s gridlock with podcars. Say what? It’s “personal rapid transit,” computerized, driverless cars on overhead guideways. Like monorails or people movers. Except those systems are much pricier than more practical light rails or busses. USC School of Policy, Planning and Development Associate Professor Catherine G. Burke claims in the Times that Read More