Introducing Smart Growth To An Edge City

<p>A new master plan for Los Angeles's Century City attempts to undo some of the shortcomings that typically plague Modernist master-planned edge cities. Its goals include walkability, greening, and a more appealing public realm.</p>
March 21, 2008, 11am PDT | Josh Stephens
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"A coalition of developers, public officials, and planners has now converged on the barren sidewalks of Century City to see if contemporary planning principles can commingle with modernism. The proposed solution is "Greening of Century City," a constellation of upgrades, tweaks, and perceptual shifts that amounts to the planning equivalent of dropping a hybrid engine under the hood of a GTO."

"'It's a very interesting and, in a way, prototypical, issue,' says lead architect and planner Bob Hale, of the Los Angeles planning, architecture, and landscape architecture firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios. 'There are more and more of these kinds of places that were built essentially as office parks in the '60s and '70s and are becoming not necessarily obsolete, but encountering a second wave of growth and buildings needing repair and updating.'"

"Current planning trends have the potential to "turn modernism on its head," and, indeed, Hale says he has no trouble contradicting the intended timelessness of modernism. The RCH plan suggests that, amid contemporary trends of smart growth, new urbanism, and other movements that leapfrog backward to a pre-modernist sensibility, modesty may be the new heroism."

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Published on Saturday, March 1, 2008 in Planning Magazine
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