Channeling Dorothy Chandler: Voices From the Past and the Future of Los Angeles

Dorothy Chandler (1922-1997) was arguably the most powerful woman in Los Angeles during the 1960s - presiding over the city's most elite social circles, and appearing on the cover of Time Magazine in honor of her unprecedented cultural fundraising efforts. Yet, few Angelenos know who she is other than a name on a Music Center building downtown. So why … Continue reading Channeling Dorothy Chandler: Voices From the Past and the Future of Los Angeles

The Impermanence of LA’s Built Environment?

What deserves protection? With every announcement I read about the construction of a new building, new museum, or a park redesign comes my inevitable questions: what was there before? Is there anything worth saving? And how will these new spaces shape L.A. in the 21st century? My latest pondering of these questions has to do with L.A. … Continue reading The Impermanence of LA’s Built Environment?

Everybody Loves L.A.

Last November I attended my first Society for American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH) Conference, and I walked away with one conclusion: everybody loves L.A. Now, I already knew how great Los Angeles is, but it was both refreshing and exciting to hear that sentiment over and over from visitors. The conference featured numerous panels that discussed … Continue reading Everybody Loves L.A.

Future of Cities LA has launched. What’s next?

Future of Cities launched last month with a large gathering at LACMA to discuss civic leadership and the future of Los Angeles. I was skeptical of what an initiative like this could really achieve, but I have to say, I was impressed by the breadth and depth of the topics and speakers. I think my … Continue reading Future of Cities LA has launched. What’s next?

Is L.A. Designed to Work?

Outgoing L.A. Deputy Mayor Rick Cole recently remarked that "L.A. is not designed to work." Could he be right? Is L.A. too big for true civic engagement? Or do projects like CicLAvia and the L.A. River Revitalization prove this contention wrong? Before I delve into my opinion regarding this question, let me provide a little context for Cole's remark. … Continue reading Is L.A. Designed to Work?

The Day Angelenos Lost Elysian Park…Almost

March 10, 1965: The L.A. City Council votes in favor of a proposal to construct a convention center and exhibit hall in Elysian Park, on 63 acres of the park's most popular play and picnic grounds, which include the recreation lodge and the Avenue of the Palms. At the Council Meeting, retired journalist Grace E. Simons vehemently … Continue reading The Day Angelenos Lost Elysian Park…Almost

The L.A. Music Center Turns 50!

 The Music Center is…both highly accessible and highly visible, giving Los Angeles a new visual axis….the center is recognized as a milestone in the city’s cultural aspirations….[making the city] a new center of culture that has passed Chicago and is getting ready to challenge New York. [1]  - Time Magazine, 1964 Los Angeles…is a center of … Continue reading The L.A. Music Center Turns 50!

The L.A. Convention Center in Elysian Park? The Importance of Studying ‘Never Built’ Projects

This week's post was written for a guest blog post on American Planning Association-L.A. section's blog, found here.  What if the L.A. City Council had followed through with a plan to build a convention center in Elysian Park? What would the park look like today? How would it have affected traffic, especially during baseball season? And what … Continue reading The L.A. Convention Center in Elysian Park? The Importance of Studying ‘Never Built’ Projects

The best photography collection in Los Angeles?

I was doing a little research on L.A.'s cultural history and came across a blog post about Dorothy Chandler's cultural leadership. The highlight? The fantastic photos--all from Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) photo collection. LAPL's Central Library in downtown began collecting photographs prior to World War II, and since then has amassed millions--yes millions--of photographs that emphasize the history … Continue reading The best photography collection in Los Angeles?

The Messy World of Historic Preservation: the Bob Baker Marionette Theater

What constitutes a building worth saving? Curbed LA recently featured an article about the likely conversion of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater into a five-story mixed-use building project.[1] As the article notes, the sixty-one year old building in downtown Los Angeles has faced a number of threats in the last six years, including a near-foreclosure, and official … Continue reading The Messy World of Historic Preservation: the Bob Baker Marionette Theater