Who Was Mary Louise Schmidt?

In 1936, little-known housing advocate and shrewd businesswoman Mary Louise Schmidt organized what might be the most significant architecture show of the 20th century — right here in Los Angeles. Long before the celebrated Case Study House program of the postwar years, Schmidt utilized her extensive knowledge of the architectural industry and new federal housing policy … Continue reading Who Was Mary Louise Schmidt?

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?

L.A.’s Inferiority Complex

For over 50 years, scholars, educators, historians, and enthusiasts of the North American West gather annually to share the latest findings and approaches to understanding the diverse history of the west as "both a frontier and a region." I had the honor of presenting at the Western History Association 2014 conference in Newport Beach last week, and although … Continue reading L.A.’s Inferiority Complex