A Look at Roads Not Taken Provides Path for L.A.'s More Public-Minded Future

A new exhibition of the bold designs that were never executed in Los Angeles provides lessons for today's leaders and planners. By imagining a more public-minded path for Los Angeles, it provides the impetus for creating such a future.

"Curated by architectural journalists Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin, ["Never Built Los Angeles"] offers a rich parade of proposals for civic projects in Los Angeles and Southern California — by architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Paul WilliamsRem Koolhaas, Steven Holl, Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel — that for a variety of reasons never got off the drawing board," writes Christopher Hawthorne.

"You could probably put together a show like this on any big American city. In Los Angeles, though, the distance between what's offered up to the public and what gets built has been unusually wide," he adds. "What emerges is a nuanced portrait of this city's tendency to flirt with and then give up on major civic initiatives."

With a new mayor in charge, and "growing enthusiasm for a bolder civic agenda," says Hawthorne, "[t]he debate about what gets built and what doesn't in Los Angeles — about when it makes sense to throw in with the schemers and conjurers of new worlds, and when with the pragmatists and anxious protectors — is more pressing than it has been in many years."

Full Story: Review: A city's unrealized ambitions in 'Never Built Los Angeles'

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