In this Q&A with Architect, new West Hollywood City Councilmember John D'Amico talks about the development pattern in his city and how his experience in architecture and planning will play into his new role.
"Architect: From an urban-planning perspective, what sort of strategy do you see for your city going forward?
John D'Amico: I think it has to really focus on two different but complementary ideas of urbanism. The first is that everyone in Los Angeles has to own a car, and we've got to just admit it. We may not want to owan a car, but we go to work every day, and we have to be in different places, so we own cars. People who want to come to our city, they want to come in their cars, have a place to park, enjoy their night of being entertained in West Hollywood, and then drive home.
The city has been trying to pretend, it seems, that cars and traffic are not our problems. But I think not only are they West Hollywood's problem, in some ways we are creating the problem, because we don't provide the kind of services for people in automobiles that we should. The second part of it is, we need for those of us who live here, once we get home, to be convinced to stay out of our cars. And to provide neighborhood-serving businesses that keep people out of their cars.
Architect: It's interesting how parking can play a sort of invisible role in determining how a place is used. It seems almost paradoxical, but walkability does, in some sense, rely on parking.
D'Amico:It's the kind of thing that's obvious, and we in West Hollywood haven't yet figured it out, even though we collect $10 million in parking fees and tickets every year. I think it's been the undone thing and I hope to help get some of that done."