Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Future of the L.A. City Planning Department (And the Future of the City): Panel Discussion on August 4, 2010

AIA|LA members Bill Roschen, FAIA, John Kaliski, AIA and Martha Welborne, FAIA participated in a panel discussion entitled, "The Future of the L.A. City Planning Department (And the Future of the City)," which was moderated by Cal Poly Pomonas' Dean of Environmental Design, Michael Woo, Hon. AIA|LA.

My consensus was that everyone agreed now is the time to expand the dialogue and further energize our Department of City Planning by advocating that the Council and the Mayor's office provide them with the financial resources they will need to implement some of the excellent accomplishments initiated by former Director of Planning, Gail Goldberg.

For me, what resonated the most was John Kaliski and Martha Welborne's sentiments that we need to find a way to support the Planning Department's ability to visualize a plan for the future - and to actually "draw/paint/render" that future.  Not just write about it, but create compelling images that suggest how our commercial corridors and our TOD's can peacefully co-exist with the resplendent character of our single-family neighborhoods.  

As an audience member, what I walked away with was the understanding that AIA|LA's chief role could be to facilitate this dialogue further and provide visualization assistance and mentorship.  Maybe this is in the form of teaming architects and planners together into teams, structuring a  year-long competition to foster some innovative solutions on the power of design to create livable 'transitions' between high-density and low-density.

We know the other two conditions are going to happen with us, or with out us.  But those transitory experiences - walking from one built environment into another.  What will that be like?  Is it simply the Park Mile approach?  Or something more unique, maximizing the value of the land?

-Will Wright

The Future of the L.A. City Planning Department (And the Future of the City)
at the Southwestern School of Law

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