Like It or Not, Vegas is Coming Up

Despite planners' love-hate relationship with it, Las Vegas is a hotbed of great city-making, according to this post from California Planning and Development Report.

Vegas is kitschy and over the top, and at first glance it always looks like the least sustainable place on the planet. Vegas is acres of neon plastered across the front of 30-story casinos in the 100-degree desert – each casino more outlandishly upscale than the other – along with the occasional lake and 200-foot water fountain.

The thousands of attendees at the American Planning Association conference in Las Vegas this week like to say they hate all this stuff, and no doubt a good percentage of them will flee to the desert to tromp around among the spring wildflowers. But they'll definitely be missing out. Because after the latest building boom, there's no denying it: Vegas is the most rapidly evolving – and, in many ways, the most exciting – urban environment in America.

The Strip is the densest employment center in the West, and because many hotel and casino workers make modest incomes, Vegas has one of the fastest-growing transit systems in the country. Cities all over the country have dreamed of monorails, but Vegas built one. Thousands of people mob the sidewalks every day and night. Rich and poor live alongside each other – not always in a graceful coexistence, but in close proximity to one another.

Full Story: APA Conference: Love It Or Hate It, Vegas Is A Great City In The Making




Bill, you must have won some money in Vegas. Try drinking it!

You're glee over vegas is exactly why planners are behind the curve on what's going on in the world; i.e., depletion of natural resources and global warming.

Have you ever heard the old saying - "knowledge tells you how to build something, wisdom tells you where to put it!"

Unfortunately, you have revealed your knowledge - and a surprising absence of wisdom.

Drinking Las Vegas cool-aid

Pattsi Petrie, PhD, AICP

Mr. Fulton, to sing the praises of a community that is unequally drinking the western USA resources to the detriment of the rest of the country gives pause to reconsider your planning prespectives. The picture that you paint in your comments indicate to me that you did not get outside of the conference venues. If you had tried to see the community via mass transit, you would have learned that this transit system is not designed to enable the population to trip. The employed population along the strip get to work via bicycle, one might assume because of the cost of living in this community. Everything costs--even the ice cubes. The potential connectivity from this new development, aka Gehry designed center, to the rest of downtown does not appear to be part of the plan. This is not a walkable environment, thus the use of the car and therefore carbon footprinting is necessary. Might I suggest that you go back to the critical drawing board and take another look at this city. Las Vegas may be coming but at the expense of the rest of the country.
Pattsi Petrie

Stay in Vegas

Bill, I am very surprised at your commentary on Las Vegas, and for a moment actually thought you were being sarcastic. I was waiting for the punchline. But it never came, and now I must suggest that you reflect a bit more on this so-called oasis in the desert. You see, the focus of your essay is on the Strip - which isn't in the city of Las Vegas. This is a big deal. As Mike Davis has pointed out, the costs of the Strip are passed on to surrounding municipalities, while the benefits are not. For instance, much of the Strip's workforce lives in those cities, which doesn't see very much of the Strip's profits, yet has to provide the services for the workers. "Rich and poor living alongside each other", please, have you been to North Las Vegas? Most concerning of all is your comparisons between New York and Las Vegas (again, the Strip). I don't get how it could be the next New York. New York is a sustainable city (relatively speaking) that contributes in so many ways to its region and state, while the Strip pretty much pillages resources at the expense of not only the region, but Nevada and surrounding states. Even L.A. benefits its region and state to the point where the that city actually makes sense.

Stay in Vegas

Take it from someone who has lived in Vegas, you don't know what you are talking about. The tourist and gaming industries pretty much fund our government and pay for education and so on. Youre right that las vegas has sprawled to infinity and is not currently sustainable, but that will change and las vegas is on the forefront of green technologies. Nevada has the highest per capita use of solar and geothermal power. Las Vegas is becoming just as eco conscious as everyone else. Don't rap on Las Vegas until youv'e been there. Im going to assume youre an east coaster who loves to hate on Vegas. I dont know why i guess you guys are just jealous that Las Vegas is the fastest growing city and that many east coasters are leaving the east coast and coming here.

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.