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Old 03-31-2012, 04:06 PM
 
4,871 posts, read 5,463,017 times
Reputation: 3075
Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
I remember looking through photos of early LA from the 1920s to the 1950s. It was already a fairly large city by those times and things were fairly dense. What I couldn't get over was how bustling and exciting everything was--I think Los Angeles really did make some wrong turns comparatively. And of course, this wasn't cowtown LA, but the Golden Age of Hollywood, so these were some exciting times.

I also think LA should have preserved more common green space and have had it better distributed.

Los Angeles was gifted with a lot of natural advantages, but I think a lot of potential was squandered with incredibly stupid zoning practices and the dismantling of mass transit, and worse are the people who insist the direction LA headed was great. I'm glad that LA is changing for the better, albeit a bit late to the party.
I do agree that public transit is lacking, but I guess I just never understand the idea about LA not have common green space. You are not the first one to mention that. But I just don't see it. No matter where you are in LA, you are really not that far from hill-parks. Whether it is Griffith, Runyon Canyon, Elysian Park. And this is REAL nature. Not to mention the other endless nature, if you get a light rail to Westwood you can link it up to some parkland near Getty Center. Of the Gold line can link up with Arroyo Seco or Eaton Canyon by Pasadena. Unlike the lakefront parks in Chicago or central park in NYC, etc., etc. LA County has real nature. (Of course you have plenty of forested parks in the suburbs of Chicago and NYC, but for city-dwellers, nothing).

I guess I would rather have a truly natural landscape five miles away, whether I drive or take a light rail (again I'm all for public transit). than artificial landscaping with grass. And besides there are other cool parks such as the museums around Exposition (a park more in the classic sense) or Hancock/La Brea.

Like I mentioned, public transit and slow, lacking revitalization around historic areas like Broadway, Pershing square, I guess I just don't see things like others do.
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:12 PM
 
4,871 posts, read 5,463,017 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicano3000X View Post
True, L.A. was severely cheated with the height limit and the stupid fire code requiring landing pads giving L.A. the flat topped look it has. To top it off, the 60's-80's decades gave L.A. plain boxy office buildings. Nothing architecturally inspiring. The one saving grace is the U.S. bank tower which atleast gives L.A. an iconic less than plain look.
But aren't skyscrapers really just a huge middle finger of architecture? There is something pompous about it. Why do we immediately associate height with "urbanity"?

Look at all those European cities, that were largely built by the end of the 19the century before we knew how to build skyscrapers. Look at Paris, didn't get bombed in WWII, the whole historic core was preserved, therefore they had to build modern office buildings on the edge of the city, which they started to with La Defense.

Now, no one in their right mind, would suggest Paris is less urban because it doesn't have skyscrapers in the historic core. Paris is one of the greatest cities in the world.

Now, I know LA isn't quite as urban as Paris, but seriously, the 3 story apartment buildings that make up about half the neighborhoods throughout the LA basin (and even in the valleys) is actually closer to European urban, than having residential high rises. Now, like I said, I hope LA can work more on its public transit, and restore some of its historic buildings downtown, but one has to remember urban does not equal tall!!
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:57 PM
 
1,185 posts, read 831,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex?Il? View Post
But aren't skyscrapers really just a huge middle finger of architecture? There is something pompous about it. Why do we immediately associate height with "urbanity"?

Look at all those European cities, that were largely built by the end of the 19the century before we knew how to build skyscrapers. Look at Paris, didn't get bombed in WWII, the whole historic core was preserved, therefore they had to build modern office buildings on the edge of the city, which they started to with La Defense.

Now, no one in their right mind, would suggest Paris is less urban because it doesn't have skyscrapers in the historic core. Paris is one of the greatest cities in the world.

Now, I know LA isn't quite as urban as Paris, but seriously, the 3 story apartment buildings that make up about half the neighborhoods throughout the LA basin (and even in the valleys) is actually closer to European urban, than having residential high rises. Now, like I said, I hope LA can work more on its public transit, and restore some of its historic buildings downtown, but one has to remember urban does not equal tall!!
I still want L.A. to be tall though. There is something epic, or breathtaking about seeing L.A.'s skyline rise over the hill as you approach downtown. Especially from the 5 south passing dodger stadium. You follow the turn as it goes up hill, then you see the skyline just rise and see how massive it looks up close. At night it looks futuristic.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
1,046 posts, read 591,838 times
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Really good thread.

The three biggest failures in LA's urban planning history (in my view):

1. Failure to implement the Olmstead plan (1930's) which would have populated LA County with a dramatic series of greenbelts including several LARGE parks at the Pacific Ocean.

2. Ripping out the old Red Cars and failing big time to get our modern transit system rolled out more quickly. The "Subway to the Sea" was orginally supposed to be up and running ten years ago!!!! Our local politicians really Moderator cut: language that up.

3. As stated previously, the more modern commercial districts (1970 to present) should have been planned with more pedestrian orientation. Contrast Larchmont Village with any generic 1980's strip mall.

Last edited by David Aguilar; 04-01-2012 at 05:47 AM.. Reason: language
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:03 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,245 posts, read 6,428,243 times
Reputation: 2824
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex?Il? View Post
But aren't skyscrapers really just a huge middle finger of architecture? There is something pompous about it. Why do we immediately associate height with "urbanity"?

Look at all those European cities, that were largely built by the end of the 19the century before we knew how to build skyscrapers. Look at Paris, didn't get bombed in WWII, the whole historic core was preserved, therefore they had to build modern office buildings on the edge of the city, which they started to with La Defense.

Now, no one in their right mind, would suggest Paris is less urban because it doesn't have skyscrapers in the historic core. Paris is one of the greatest cities in the world.

Now, I know LA isn't quite as urban as Paris, but seriously, the 3 story apartment buildings that make up about half the neighborhoods throughout the LA basin (and even in the valleys) is actually closer to European urban, than having residential high rises. Now, like I said, I hope LA can work more on its public transit, and restore some of its historic buildings downtown, but one has to remember urban does not equal tall!!
I agree that skyscrapers are obsessed over way too much especially in the US, and it's the other 95% of a city that will define it, but LA just has too many ugly dingbat apartment buildings, too many parking lots, and too many crumbling strip malls. San Francisco is more what you're looking for. Even coastal Long Beach feels more urban and planned out than LA, which just feels like a mess to me. I guess it's just the lack of cohesion that I don't like about LA proper. Downtown is ok though, and Little Tokyo is really nice.
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:29 AM
 
4,871 posts, read 5,463,017 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SalParadise View Post
Really good thread.

The three biggest failures in LA's urban planning history (in my view):

1. Failure to implement the Olmstead plan (1930's) which would have populated LA County with a dramatic series of greenbelts including several LARGE parks at the Pacific Ocean.
2. Ripping out the old Red Cars and failing big time to get our modern transit system rolled out more quickly. The "Subway to the Sea" was orginally supposed to be up and running ten years ago!!!! Our local politicians really Moderator cut: language that up.

3. As stated previously, the more modern commercial districts (1970 to present) should have been planned with more pedestrian orientation. Contrast Larchmont Village with any generic 1980's strip mall.
But we don't really need to implement the Olmstead plan per se to have a greenbelt of LARGE parks. We have steep, unstable mountain and hills that ring the LA basin that are really best as, and have been turned into parks.

Do you never go to Griffith park, Runyon, Elysian, Debs Park, the foothills, Verdugo hills, Palos Verdes, Topanga, etc., etc.

Are people in LA just not aware of all these places? After all, it is the LA BASIN. Meaning its surrounded by wild hilsides that you can hike through and get a great view.

Don't people look on the horizon in any direction, and look at hills and mountains, and think I would like to check out that area??

Last edited by David Aguilar; 04-01-2012 at 05:48 AM.. Reason: language
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:02 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
5,347 posts, read 2,370,132 times
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A couple of quick facts about Los Angeles:

Los Angeles has a weighted density of 12,500 ppsm (12.2 million people) vs 9,100 for Chicago (8.9 million). That basically means that SoCal is roughly 25% larger and 25% denser than Chicagoland. Even at their respective core 10-15 sq. miles, they're virtually tied in residential density. Also, the amount of people living in 20,000+ ppsm areas in Los Angeles is easily #2 in the nation (1.9 million people), surpassing Chicago (1.1 million) by a healthy margin.

This isn't meant to pick on Chicago. It's generally considered the second most urban city in the country. L.A. isn't considered urban at all. Put that myth to rest.

Last edited by RaymondChandlerLives; 04-01-2012 at 02:25 AM..
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:13 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
5,347 posts, read 2,370,132 times
Reputation: 2740
According to walkscore.com, L.A. is the 13th most walkable city in the country.

Los Angeles Rentals, Apartments, and Neighborhoods on Walk Score

L.A.'s cumulative score is only a "somewhat walkable" 66 (#2 on the list, San Francisco, scores an 85), but it's important to note that Los Angeles covers a gargantuan area of land, larger than the city limits of SF, BOS, DC, MIA, OAK, Long Beach, SEA, and Philadelphia combined. That's right, combined. Not only that, but some of the L.A. basin's most walkable cities (WeHo, Santa Monica) aren't counted, while sparsely populated unwalkable areas like the Hollywood Hills are. Upon closer inspection, 2 million L.A. County natives live in cities/neighborhoods with a minimum walkscore of 80, which is considered "very walkable". The potential for creating a more walkable metropolis is there--all the city needs is a comprehensive rail system to bring it all togther.

Last edited by RaymondChandlerLives; 04-01-2012 at 02:30 AM..
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Northeast of California's elbow. Lol
2,067 posts, read 1,131,604 times
Reputation: 1840
So what. Am i supposed to feel let down? NY and Chi-town are at opposite ends of the country. They are magnificent in their own rights. And respectively, here on the west coast, so is Los Angeles.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:13 AM
 
Location: In the heights
11,048 posts, read 9,368,401 times
Reputation: 4747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex?Il? View Post
I do agree that public transit is lacking, but I guess I just never understand the idea about LA not have common green space. You are not the first one to mention that. But I just don't see it. No matter where you are in LA, you are really not that far from hill-parks. Whether it is Griffith, Runyon Canyon, Elysian Park. And this is REAL nature. Not to mention the other endless nature, if you get a light rail to Westwood you can link it up to some parkland near Getty Center. Of the Gold line can link up with Arroyo Seco or Eaton Canyon by Pasadena. Unlike the lakefront parks in Chicago or central park in NYC, etc., etc. LA County has real nature. (Of course you have plenty of forested parks in the suburbs of Chicago and NYC, but for city-dwellers, nothing).

I guess I would rather have a truly natural landscape five miles away, whether I drive or take a light rail (again I'm all for public transit). than artificial landscaping with grass. And besides there are other cool parks such as the museums around Exposition (a park more in the classic sense) or Hancock/La Brea.

Like I mentioned, public transit and slow, lacking revitalization around historic areas like Broadway, Pershing square, I guess I just don't see things like others do.
I certainly appreciate the real nature parks in LA, but it is mostly one type of park and aren't always very accessible (which makes sense since these parks were allowed to remain because they were hard to develop compared to all the flatlands). There is value in having parkland that is very easily nearby that one just walks to.

Actual forested parks aren't that uncommon in NYC--like in LA, they are a bit more out of the way. Manhattan has Inwood Hill Park in the Northeastern tip (this is the last remains of the original forest that you used to cover all of Manhattan) and there are a variety of large natural parks in the outer boroughs (which are definitely within city) especially in Queens. If you want to draw it out further (which makes sense if you want to make a comparison to LA county and not just LA the city), then NYC ends up with a lot more options since much of its suburbs are fairly tightly packed along commuter routes with a good deal of natural space reserved, especially along the Hudson and the shores of Long Island. There's actually a commuter rail stop that does weekend services where it drops you off basically in the middle of a trail with no platform/city to speak of--it's specifically for hiking the hills which is beautiful when it's blueberry season.

Meanwhile, manicured parks like Central Park and Prospect Park actually look pretty wild in many places (and have relatively little in simply grass lawns) by design since the whole point was to give the aesthetics of the wild deep inside the city.

Another thing to point to is that statistically, LA actually has far less parkland than NYC despite being a physically larger city. LA percentage-wise is actually very little parkland--development was pretty rampant in Los Angeles and there wasn't much to hold it in check.

Maybe what LA has is enough for some people, but I really think it can be much, much better. There are a couple of grand projects out there to create more parkspace that are really ambitious. I really want LA to go through with them, and I hope SGV and SFV follow suit.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 04-01-2012 at 10:25 AM..
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