L.A.'s Development Has Many Centers

A trend of dense downtown development in Los Angeles has some calling the city's new urban growth pattern a move towards "Manhattanization".
August 27, 2007, 1pm PDT | Nate Berg
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But Bill Fulton argues that the focus isn't on just one area, but many transit-oriented "centers".

"True, the density of L.A.'s population is increasing, especially downtown, in the Mid-Wilshire district and in Hollywood. But carving out a few thousand condos in old downtown buildings is hardly proof that L.A. is 'Manhattanizing.' If anything, the city overall is 'Pasadena-izing' -- becoming more of a collection of centers around which new housing (condos and apartments) and commercial spaces are being built."

"Los Angeles ran out of raw land more than 20 years ago and therefore had to move beyond the traditional suburban ideal of single-family homes on tree-lined streets. So it, along with older suburbs stretching from San Fernando to Westminster, is doing what cities have done throughout history -- building up instead of out to accommodate the housing needs of a growing population and an ever-changing set of construction and space requirements for businesses."

"Some critics, however, contend that development in L.A. is more out of control than ever. The opposite is the case: New real estate development is not dispersed around the city but is largely concentrated near rail transit lines and busway stations. The resulting centers vary in size and scale: Some are like villages -- as along Ventura Boulevard throughout the San Fernando Valley -- while a few -- downtown and Century City -- are taking on Manhattan-like densities. But together they add up to a Los Angeles-style approach to urbanism, one in line with the basic concepts of L.A.'s planning policies adopted more than 30 years ago."

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Published on Monday, August 27, 2007 in The Los Angeles Times
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