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 favorite tweet of the night came from @cmonstah: “Part of what makes LA such a great place is we are so deliriously uncouth.” By all accounts it was an incredible and dynamic evening. I think Bojarsky and the event’s organizers proved that a broad swath of Angelenos are interested in civic engagement and ready to act. But how? What’s next?
Perhaps Joel Epstein captures the core of why we need this initiative: “Given our size and enduring economic inequality, we are indeed a city that needs to better marry vision, leadership and results to fulfill L.A.’s ambitions and achieve our potential.” 
As I ponder what role I might play in making LA a better place, I am dashing off to #SACRPH15 in DTLA for a walking tour of Bunker Hill. Perhaps this planning history conference will offer some answers. I’ll be there. Will you?
 Joel Epstein, “L.A. Can Be the Future of Cities.” 10/19/15
For more on Society for American City and Regional Planning History Conference, see: Conference for LA Urbanists
Published by Andrea Thabet, Ph.D.
Dr. Andrea Thabet is a historian, writer, researcher, and historic preservation consultant specializing in Los Angeles, urban, and public history. She is currently a Lecturer in American History at Caltech, where she teaches courses on the Civil Rights Movement, and America in the 20th century. She also co-coordinates an urban history seminar series, the LA History & Metro Studies Group, for the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. Dr. Thabet holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from UC Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in History with an Art History minor from Loyola Marymount University. Prior to earning her PhD, she worked as a Curatorial Assistant at the Skirball Cultural Center and Museum in Los Angeles and at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. She has consulted on a number of historic preservation projects, which include a successful Historic-Cultural Monument nomination for the Hawk House designed by Harwell Hamilton Harris (2019), and research and writing about Civic Center Branch Administrative Centers for Survey LA, a city-wide project conducted by L.A.’s Office of Historic Resources.
Dr. Thabet’s published works on Los Angeles and urban history have appeared in both academic and popular journals, in print and digital formats. Her article, “‘From Sagebrush to Symphony’: Negotiating the Hollywood Bowl and the Future of Los Angeles, 1918-1926,” appeared in the Pacific Historical Review in Fall 2020. She also authored the report “Space to Lead: A Century of Civic Leadership in Los Angeles” for Future of Cities: Los Angeles, with Shawn Landres and William Deverell. In June 2020, Dr. Thabet was awarded a fellowship by Friends of Residential Treasures: Los Angeles (FORT:LA) for an interdisciplinary research collaboration with Jenna Snow, titled: “A Women’s Project: Mary Louise Schmidt and the 1936 California House and Garden Exhibition.” The FORT Trail Map launches in March 2023 and will be featured for women’s history month in a number of venues. She is also completing a book manuscript, “Culture as Urban Renewal: Remaking Public Space in Postwar Los Angeles” which examines the critical role cultural and leisure spaces played in shaping the built environment and urban economy of Los Angeles through federal and local urban renewal policy after World War II.
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