After a $15 million renovation, the Glendale Central Library re-opened to the public this past Monday, May 1. Originally designed by Welton Becket Associates in 1973, the renovation by Gruen Associates modernizes the Library’s technology infrastructure for the 21st century. The renovation is also part of a multi-phased strategy to redevelop the Central Park, bringing both the Library and Park into a the urban design framework of the Downtown as a whole.
I am excited to announce that I will be joining Santa Monica as their new City Urban Designer beginning in April. Santa Monica’s outstanding commitment to urban design is an opportunity too compelling to ignore – I am honored that the City has challenged me to expand this reputation and legacy.
On Tuesday, March 7, Los Angeles residents will vote on Measure S: a controversial proposal aimed at reforming the planning system by ceasing certain developments until particular changes to the code are made. In the interest of conveying the complexity of Measure S, and exploring its potential implications for a future Los Angeles urbanism, The LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design interviewed two planning professionals: Alan Loomis, Deputy Director for Urban Design & Mobility at City of Glendale, and Richard Platkin, a former LA City Planner now teaching at USC.
It’s January in a new year and so it’s back to school. As I have for the past ten years, I will be teaching Urban Design Theory at Woodbury University School of Architecture. Programmed as a “study aboard” course at home, students will document, investigate, analyze and map a district in greater Los Angeles as a means of illustrating their understanding of the themes, issues, trends and urban design theories outlined in the lectures and readings. This year my fourth year students and I will be examining North Hollywood, Downtown Burbank, Downtown Santa Monica in addition to the Arts District and South Park districts of Downtown Los Angeles.
“‘The erosion of Exposition Park’s public open space continues.’ So wrote urban planner Alan Loomis nearly 15 years ago, in an essay published by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.” LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne leads off with this quote in his evaluation of the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Reading Hawthorne’s essay is a case of deja vu all over again.
“Being in city government is exciting in that you have the opportunity to invent projects. You can see a need or opportunity to fix a problem, figure out how you approach that problem, and then craft a project around it.” – Looking back the projects completed and initiatives started in 2016.
Last month Glendale launched its new pedestrian safety campaign, “Be Street Smart Glendale.” This program consists of three components: the Safety Education Initiative, Safe Routes to Schools, and Citywide Pedestrian Plan. Glendale residents and visitors will start seeing “Be Street Smart Glendale” branding in various locations throughout the city. GTV6 produced a short video to introduce the program.