The new mayor of Los Angeles, city leaders and Rec & Parks should look to Mayor Bloomberg and the City That Never Sleeps for open space planning inspiration. But an initiative such as this is not only about developing green open space and job opportunities for landscape architects, planners, contractors, and maintenance divisions but about building community – specifically healthy communities.

Los Angeles has inherent challenges to urban design including our sprawled development, heavily used roadways and freeways, and dense population from the South Bay to the San Fernando Valley. These are significantly different challenges to the major cities on the East Coast, specifically New York. Also compounding the problems is our limited history of valuing public open space outside of our beaches. LA has the opportunity to be a leading city of reinvention for the new century. We’re twelve years in, but it’s never too late to start.


the vastness of Los Angeles and the struggles of doing something as simple as a mass transit line from downtown to West LA*, where do we go from here? How do we start? LA couldn’t possibly wrap its arms around the entire city, a city that’s actually a region. We need to use the multiplex of neighborhoods to our advantage and begin with what’s already in place. Begin with one neighborhood, or community, that provides the opportunity to focus the energy and efforts – the historic neighborhoods of Mid City and their walkable blocks, historic homes and communities that will utilize open space if given the opportunity.

The structure, accessibility, diversity and history of Mid City is a perfect laboratory for installing healthy living initiatives that can be shared throughout the whole of Los Angeles in the future.

I believe I just found inspiration…

* creating mass transit in LA is never easy, however, given the built-in abandoned corridor of the Exposition Line and the transit oriented development opportunities for surrounding neighborhoods it’s difficult not to be cynical at the lack of “full speed ahead” approach for all involved (neighboring land holders included)