Nature is everywhere in Los Angeles. That is the main message you will get from reading the new book “Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature in and Around Los Angeles” released by Timber Press. While we may all be aware that wildlife can be found in the Santa Monica Mountains or the Angeles National Forest, many of us probably do not think of Los Angeles as an area of incredible biological diversity. But the truth is that there is a tremendous diversity of species in L.A. and there are many stories to tell, according to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the authors of the book: Lila Higgins, Dr. Gregory B. Pauly, Dr. Jason G. Goldman, and Charles Hood.Continue Reading Book Review: Wild LA
A district citizens’ group from East Harlem, in anticipation of a meeting it had arranged with the Mayor and his commissioners, prepared a document recounting the devastation wrought in the district by remote decisions (most of them well meant, of course), and they added this comment: “We must state how often we find that those of us who live or work in East Harlem, coming into daily contact with it, see it quite differently from . . . the people who only ride through on their way to work, or read about it in their daily papers, or, too often, we believe, make decisions about it from desks downtown.” I have heard almost these same words in Boston, in Chicago, in Cincinnati, in St. Louis. It is a complaint that echoes and re-echoes in all our big cities [emphasis added].
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)
I wear a blue County jacket and dark pants, denim or Dickies, when I’m out doing zoning enforcement inspections. This isn’t a regulation uniform. I don’t have to wear it. I’m an urban planner, not a cop.Continue Reading An Urban Planner on the Ground in South Central Los Angeles
Soccer? Football? Fútbol? While there may not be universal consensus on what to call the sport, I think most can agree that it has become a very popular sport in America. I previously wrote an article called Soccer and Park Planning from my perspective both as a soccer fan and a planner. It seems appropriate now to do a sequel given the continued “soccerization” of land use across cities in the U.S. Essentially, I am referring to the dedication of an increasing amount of land/space for soccer, and the development of additional facilities for both players and fans, including soccer fields and futsal courts at parks as well as soccer-specific stadiums for professional teams.Continue Reading Soccerization of Land Use
Are you a “foodie“? Do you live in the Los Angeles area? Are you a regular reader of the L.A. Times? If you answered yes to all three questions, then you have probably heard of acclaimed food critic Jonathan Gold. I recently watched City of Gold which I initially thought was just a documentary about Gold and his culinary adventures. However, as I was watching the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that its focus was not solely on the Pulitzer-winning writer and his favorite restaurants; City of Gold also reveals Gold’s love for Los Angeles and how he has essentially experienced the diversity and vastness of the city through food.Continue Reading Documentary Review: City of Gold
Dear Pasadena City Council Members,
A long overdue update to the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance is before you at the January 30, 2017, City Council public hearing. With the passage of AB 2299 and SB 1069, all local jurisdictions are obligated to amend zoning ordinances to facilitate easier pathways to building accessory dwellings units (ADUs). As the staff report notes, the new state laws came about in response to a statewide affordable housing crisis. We see it in Pasadena. It’s rendered in the presence of homeless encampments, occupied vehicles on city streets and parking lots, and the existence of unpermitted housing on private properties across the city.
Continue Reading An Open Letter to the Pasadena City Council Urging a Comprehensive Overhaul of the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance
Dear Pasadena Planning Commissioners,
A long overdue update to the City of Pasadena’s Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance is before you at the December 14, 2016, Planning Commission public hearing. This will be the first of many hearings in response to the passage of Assembly Bill 2299 (AB 2299) and Senate Bill 1069 (SB 1069) and the upcoming Housing Element Implementation Program. At this juncture, I see three compelling reasons for your Commission to advocate a comprehensive overhaul of Pasadena’s Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance.Continue Reading An Open Letter to the Pasadena Planning Commission Urging a Comprehensive Overhaul of the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance
Where are we now on homelessness in Los Angeles?
Much has happened in the three months since my UrbDeZine colleague Michael Russell unpacked the arc of the homeless crisis in Los Angeles. In early 2016, both the City of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles approved comprehensive plans to tackle homelessness within their respective jurisdictions. Largely thanks to Home Rule, inter-cooperative city/county policy making has never been a regular trait of L.A. politics. But with L.A.’s homeless crisis reaching a state of emergency across jurisdictional boundaries, the old “policy making in silos” approach simply wouldn’t work here. Even the New York Times took note in a story highlighting collaboration between the two governments on Los Angeles’ homeless crisis response. The million dollar question remaining for Los Angeles City and County is, “How do we pay for it?”Continue Reading Urge Pasadena to Approve the Measures to Address Homelessness
It was none of these things for the homeless.
For the homeless, it is a life without shelter, food, health care and a positive environment. Their environment is freezing and often wet.
Regardless of where you live, most would agree that we have a major societal issue on our hands.
While I have traveled to all but two states and all major cities, my perspective of homelessness is based upon the City of Los Angeles, because this is where I have lived for most of my career.
As the project manager of the Bunker Hill Urban Renewal project in downtown Los Angeles, I became aware of “Skid Row” and the “homeless” in the late-1960’s.Continue Reading Mind Blowing Facts about LA’s Homeless People and How to Un-Homeless Them
- Of or relating to the habitat or environment.
- The doctrine, theory, or science of a subject.
- Branch of science concerned with the interrelationships of organisms and their environments, especially as manifested by the natural cycles and rhythms, community development and structure, interaction between different kinds of organisms, geographic distribution, and population alternatives.
- The totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environments.
~ Webster’s New International Dictionary, 3rd ed., 1976
_____________________________________Continue Reading Reyner Banham, Mike Davis, and the Discourse on Los Angeles Ecology