Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne discusses how the city time and again is in the position of responding to private plans for large-scale projects as opposed to setting guidelines of its own.
"Even as city planners have made a point of focusing, at least in theory, on a finer grain of civic improvements, such as urban-design guidelines released in 2009, in practice they continue to allow developers to shape downtown one mega-project at a time.
...Now, in South Park, Tim Leiweke, AEG's president and chief executive, has teamed with 36-year-old businessman Casey Wasserman on another high-stakes development gamble, in this case hoping a new retractable-roof stadium downtown will help lure the NFL back to Los Angeles. Though part of the site they have in mind - a 15-acre parcel between Staples Center and the Harbor Freeway - occupies city land, it was AEG, in private, that solicited design proposals from eight architecture firms, none of them particularly innovative. And it was AEG that trimmed that list of eight firms earlier this month to three."