The Manhattanization Of L.A.

In this piece from the Los Angeles Times, Joel Kotkin writes about how L.A. politicians are blindly following the lead of developers in densifying the city without adequately debating the consequences.

"Los Angeles, the first great modern metropolis with multiple urban cores, seems determined to remake its urban DNA -- and fashion itself, to one degree or another, in the image of New York City. Bruce B. Brugmann, the populist publisher of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, coined the term 'Manhattanization' in the 1970s to describe just what we're seeing. Broadly speaking, it refers to a vertical urbanism in which the entire city serves as a bedroom for a dominant urban core that is chock-full of cultural attractions. Density is a premium value in a successfully Manhattanized city, producing economies of scale, extraordinary concentrations of skills and an entertaining street scene. Human activities are more important than sunlight, nature or individual privacy."

"Why is this happening? One reason for the city's apparent lock-step march to Manhattanization is that big developers are increasingly dominating and politicizing land-use decisions, much as they do in New York City."

"[O]nly a handful of local politicians -- including, most notably, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky -- seem to recognize that some Angelenos think that adding density to our already crowded region won't necessarily improve the quality of life. He recently told a gathering of neighborhood councils that "the gulf" between City Hall and the community over land use and development 'gets wider every day.'"

Full Story: Why the rush to Manhattanize L.A.?


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