Monday, January 09, 2006

L.A. Gets New Planning Director

Los Angeles has been doing some building in its planning department. And while it's unlikely we're going to see many effects of that during Villaraigosa's tenure, it could dramatically affect how the city looks, lives and moves 20 years from now.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the city's best hope for hope in decades, has hired a new planning director, Gail Goldberg, of San Diego. This weekend there were stories in the Associated Press, Daily News, and Daily Breeze.

Let's hope Goldberg gets a real chance to explore the need for well-designed, more dense development, and that people give her a chance to do drastically wonderful things to make this city more livable.

As Joel Kotkin points out in the Daily Breeze, it won't be easy. "Ultimately, they don't want more density in most cases," said Joel Kotkin, the author of "The City: A Global History." "L.A. is already dense, and it's a fantasy that the people who are driving now are going to take transit, because the work patterns are so dispersed."

(I beg to differ with Mr. Kotkin, a Valley Village resident. He might want to consider the wildly successful ridership on the Orange Line in the valley).

Here's a link to a presentation she made on the City of Villages project in San Diego, from which the slide at right was taken.

Here's the blurb from AP
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has hired the head of San Diego's planning department to help him realize his goal of a more pedestrian-friendly city that can rely on mass transit.

Gail Goldberg, 62, who will be general manager of the city Planning Department, developed a concept called ''City of Villages,'' five enclaves that include housing, businesses, schools and public facilities accessible to mass transit.

Goldberg said she does not intend to try the same concept in Los Angeles, but wants to find neighborhoods that want change and help them formulate plans that will foster new development and the amenities that go with it.
— The Boy in the Big Housing Bubble