Los Angeles' Merchant of Sprawl

Los Angeles is mourning the death of billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad. For all of Broad's many civic contributions, he made his fortune in a decidedly anti-urban way.

May 4, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Josh Stephens @jrstephens310

Eli Broad

Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

"Broad built tract homes. He built them on the urban fringe. Once he was done bulldozing one fringe, he went on to the next, pushing the rings of sprawl outward from whichever urban center they orbited. He focused primarily on the Los Angeles and Phoenix regions, with projects in the San Antonio, Tucson, and Las Vegas areas, among others. Various incarnations of KB Home have built, in total, over 600,000 homes since Broad and partner Donald Kaufman founded the company in 1957."

"It’s not hard to imagine that, arriving in Los Angeles at that moment, Broad got inspired to put up an institution or two with his own name on it. As he grew wealthy, and especially as he got into modern art, he donated ever more generous sums to many of the city’s cultural institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Disney Hall, the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, and many others. Few major civic institutions in L.A. lack a plaque, room, or building with Broad’s name on it."

"But even Broad’s urban vision is more of a complement to sprawl. It treats downtown as a seat of power and a freeway-accessible central location, drawing in the occasional museumgoer from Hemet or Fontana or some other suburb that he built. But there’s little indication that Broad believed in a true urban fabric."

Monday, May 3, 2021 in California Planning & Development Report

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

San Francisco Houses

‘Mega-Landlords’ Threaten Housing Stability for Renters

As institutional investors buy up a larger share of single-family homes, the families renting them are increasingly vulnerable to rent increases and eviction.

May 15, 2022 - The Hill

Protected bike lane New York

How To Sustain the E-Bike Boom: Make Riders Feel Safe

Riders of electric and non-electric bikes alike agree that they would ride more if they felt safer on city streets, signaling a need for an increased focus on bike infrastructure.

53 minutes ago - Bloomberg

Urban Solar Power

Zoning Stands in the Way of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is cheap as ever, but zoning isn’t keeping up with the market.

1 hour ago - Popular Science

Walkable DC

Mixed Use Could Lower Neighborhood Crime Rates

New research shows areas with a heavy concentration of commercial offices experience 40 percent higher crime rates than neighborhoods that mix residential and commercial uses.

2 hours ago - Arch Daily

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.