Sunday, February 19, 2006

Antonio's Vision for LA

On the front page of yesterday's L.A. Times, there was an article about mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's vision for the future of Los Angeles: Tall, Green, Vital: L.A. as Mayor Dreams It. For me it was very encouraging because I share his vision and would be thrilled to see it take shape. He talked about a denser urban core, increased public transportation, light rail to the ocean, transit-oriented development projects, and more green spaces.

I am curious how the general population in Los Angeles will feel about his vision of the city. For most people, it seems that any new development is bad because people immediately translate that idea into one that brings more traffic. I can understand the concern given the fact that LA is in gridlock during commuting hours, but looking long term, more density makes it possible to live more of your life in a smaller area, and supports public transit opportunities.

I find it amusing that people are using the term New Urbanism to describe a way of designing mixed-use communities that promote walking and use of public transit. Isn't this style of urban planning hundreds of years old? Almost every city built before the rise of the automobile has the characteristics promoted in New Urbanism. It should probably be called Old Urbanism. I guess it has to be called New in order to sell it as the future.

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