Joe Edmiston has been the Executive Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for over thirty years, and during that period he has established himself as the authority on preserving natural space in Los Angeles. As LA proper grows more densely populated, and as the City embraces transit and apartment living through actions such as the Hollywood Community Plan, it becomes apparent that the relationship residents have with open space may change significantly from the 20th century standard. The Planning Report spoke with Joe Edmiston and asked him to discuss the place natural space may occupy in an evolving urban context and to respond, in part, to an article by Joel Kotkin asking to ‘Let LA Be LA'.
By some measures, the Los Angeles area is the most densely populated in the US, with the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim urban area nearly 7,000 people per square mile. Los Angeles County has emphasized urban density in plans and through transit investments as a means of fostering community, improving air quality, and reducing green house gas emissions. In this context, it could be surprising that a noted environmentalist such as Joe Edmiston would express such caution towards density-oriented planning.
Thanks to Kevin Madden