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Hello, Everybody!

I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, so pardon me for my lack of knowledge on anything L.A. or west coast in general. Anyways, as someone from the 3rd Coast, I've always thought of L.A. as a place without much of a will to urbanize. The negative effects of urban sprawl are obvious are perhalps most apparent in L.A., the poster child of this post-WWII urban planning philosophy. Looking through your threads, I can see a decent amount of (rather sexy looking, in my opinion) towers are in the process of or planned to be under construction. I have three questions, the first being:
Do the armchair architects on this thread view it as necessary to expand the city's urban core, and in general urbanize the city?
The second being:
Are actual architects and city planners interested in urbanizing L.A.?
The third being:
Do the people of L.A. support this?

Thank you to everyone who takes time out of their day to respond with their thoughts!
Of course, speaking only for myself:

Population pressures make it necessary for density to increase. But in cities the size of LA this increased density should not come around a single urban core, but around many nodes spread over a larger area, hopefully connected by freeways and mass transit. At some point density becomes a net cost not a net benefit.

You see this pattern in truly large cities like NY, Paris, London, the Bay Area, etc., where outer zones (Jersey City and Brooklyn, La Defense, the Docklands, the SF Peninsula, etc.), have been created to pull people away from the original core.
 

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Although La Defense's far location was made more so to keep towers away from THE tower (All Parasians except for maybe myself [I lived in Paris for many, many years. I deserve that title] hate Tour Montparnasse, they didn't want to repeat the outrage *10) and, perhaps more importantly, build large structures away, in places with stable ground, from the catacombs and tunnels under Paris.

Regardless, your point still stands, and, yeah that does make perfect sense. I'm still very interested to hear what the rest of you think, but this surprisingly doesn't seem to be the most active forum.
Yes. As you know, La Defense is just one of several business centers outside the central core. Same of course with many small and midsized European cities who want to save their historic cores.
 

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Hello, Everybody!

I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, so pardon me for my lack of knowledge on anything L.A. or west coast in general. Anyways, as someone from the 3rd Coast, I've always thought of L.A. as a place without much of a will to urbanize. The negative effects of urban sprawl are obvious are perhalps most apparent in L.A., the poster child of this post-WWII urban planning philosophy. Looking through your threads, I can see a decent amount of (rather sexy looking, in my opinion) towers are in the process of or planned to be under construction. I have three questions, the first being:
Do the armchair architects on this thread view it as necessary to expand the city's urban core, and in general urbanize the city?
The second being:
Are actual architects and city planners interested in urbanizing L.A.?
The third being:
Do the people of L.A. support this?

Thank you to everyone who takes time out of their day to respond with their thoughts!
I'm curious about your definition of "urbanize." LA is already the 3rd largest urban agglomeration in North America behind Mexico City and NYC. And if memory serves, one of the densest cities in the nation (near the very top). If it is about drawing people into the core, where will we put them? Downtown proper is squeezing them in but beyond that I am hard pressed to know where they'd go.
 

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To answer your three points directly, I would say:

1 - As a general rule, yes, there's something of a consensus here about the need for the city to "grow up," as it were, although you'll probably find a wide variety of opinions on why, where and how that should/will happen. But this is a self-selecting group in that people who dislike urbanism and dense development probably wouldn't be the kind to participate in a skyscraper enthusiast forum.

2 - Again, in a general sense, I'd say yes, probably more vigorously/affirmatively among planners than architects, just by virtue of planners being students of the urban form writ large and its attendant challenges and opportunities. But I'm sure there is a significant amount of overlap. With that said there is a minority of urbanists (be they planners or academics) who dislike the push for growing our urban cores (see Kotkin and his acolytes).

3 - That's a difficult question, and it really depends on who you ask. If you judge solely from the media coverage of and public response to specific projects you'd be forgiven for assuming that the answer is a pretty unequivocal "hell no," more so in certain parts of the region than others. However, I think it's important to remember that people who feel anywhere this side of ambivalent toward a project (or plan, or development trend, etc) have a pretty low motivation to speak out on the issue. You might hear from the people who are the most viscerally angry, consistently and with a clear and well articulated message, but in the scheme of the metropolis these people are vanishingly few and far between. It's the proverbial squeaky wheel though. But just remember that the voters of the city rejected Measure S, which was the clarion call of the anti-development crowd, in the last general election. Attitudes are probably more mixed-to-positive on the issue than it would appear on the surface.
 

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To answer your three points directly, I would say:

1 - As a general rule, yes, there's something of a consensus here about the need for the city to "grow up," as it were, although you'll probably find a wide variety of opinions on why, where and how that should/will happen. But this is a self-selecting group in that people who dislike urbanism and dense development probably wouldn't be the kind to participate in a skyscraper enthusiast forum.

2 - Again, in a general sense, I'd say yes, probably more vigorously/affirmatively among planners than architects, just by virtue of planners being students of the urban form writ large and its attendant challenges and opportunities. But I'm sure there is a significant amount of overlap. With that said there is a minority of urbanists (be they planners or academics) who dislike the push for growing our urban cores (see Kotkin and his acolytes).

3 - That's a difficult question, and it really depends on who you ask. If you judge solely from the media coverage of and public response to specific projects you'd be forgiven for assuming that the answer is a pretty unequivocal "hell no," more so in certain parts of the region than others. However, I think it's important to remember that people who feel anywhere this side of ambivalent toward a project (or plan, or development trend, etc) have a pretty low motivation to speak out on the issue. You might hear from the people who are the most viscerally angry, consistently and with a clear and well articulated message, but in the scheme of the metropolis these people are vanishingly few and far between. It's the proverbial squeaky wheel though. But just remember that the voters of the city rejected Measure S, which was the clarion call of the anti-development crowd, in the last general election. Attitudes are probably more mixed-to-positive on the issue than it would appear on the surface.
Agree with all of this. Of course, the press is far more likely to publicize critics since they go out of their way to fit the "printable" profile: colorful signs, slogans, kids and old folks, emoting, doomsday exaggerations, etc.

Which isn't to say that some projects really don't make sense; that's why you have public responses and review.
 

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Michael Weinstein wants more "800 dollar a month apartments".
He thinks that prices of other established properties will expand
with the new rents of new construction in Hollywood. Quality of
life issues abound here when we finally get some construction
traffic, but usually traffic itself is what people whine about.
Then you have another NIMBY (Yes, Weinstein, you are a NIMBY)
by the name of Silverstein running around interfering with new
construction in the name of affordable housing also.
What's an 800 dollar a month apartment building look like? If
you house people in crap apartments they will not respond well.
Los Angeles does have a problem, where if other areas had our
opportunity they would not curb their enthusiasm.
Opportunity? We fight it here.
 

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I don't know why LA is the poster child for suburban sprawl when some cities are obviously greater in this regard. For example, Phoenix is the 5th most populous city in the US, yet the downtown area is so tiny.
 

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I don't know why LA is the poster child for suburban sprawl when some cities are obviously greater in this regard. For example, Phoenix is the 5th most populous city in the US, yet the downtown area is so tiny.
LA is the great new city that the old school bosses fear. It has shown that the centralized model makes no sense and that nodes and local rule are more effective in creating a diverse, thriving area. This effectively kills the role of downtown big-city politicos, powerbrokers, publishers, corporate leaders, etc.

The funny thing is that is it happening everywhere but the old elites are still trying to pretend it's something unique to LA and not to be emulated.
 

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LA Urbanization: just was in L.A. to really analyze the city comprehensively. My take: the hip neighborhoods like Silver Lake, Melrose and Abbott Kenny are just one to two story flat buildings with no high density once so ever to make their neighborhoods solidly vibrant and attractive. It's what not to do to make city cool. As evidenced, Melrose has gone downhill. Downtown is still not a popular locale. It's not clean, cohesive and interesting, although new apartments/hotels are making the district better than a few years ago. Final conclusion: vibe is what makes L.A cool, not the low rise to some mid rise urban pattern in this city. As far as Hollywood is concerned: some new high rise apartments and mid rise mixed used buildings are suddenly popping up somewhat in this neighborhood but still a horrendous tourist trap that prevents this district from being a cool hood, along with homeless.
 
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