Temporary Urbanism's Short Shelf Life

London's Olympics are just the most recent example of the growing trend in building temporary architecture and urbanism in response to financial and practical considerations. Christopher Hawthorne asks whether this trend is too short sighted.
July 31, 2012, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With cities from Los Angeles to London embracing lighter, quicker, cheaper ways to implement improvements to their environments in a wobbly world economy, "individual clients and institutions will continue to turn to expedient architecture as the only way to get their buildings or parks financed," writes Hawthorne. In the rush to embrace expediency, however, are officials and designers ignoring the larger implication of such projects on planning, preservation, and urban design?  

Hawthorne looks at several temporary projects in Los Angeles to poke at the question. Ultimately, he seems to believe that building something is better than nothing, and in a city like Los Angeles, which over time has been reluctant to significantly invest in its purely public spaces, "even on-the-cheap solutions like Sunset Triangle Plaza represent a sea change."

In the end, Hawthorne is merely starting the conversation over the long-term value of expediency, rather than providing an answer to his probing questions. 

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Published on Saturday, July 28, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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