The Urban Shortcomings of 'L.A. Live'
"The massive $2.5-billion, 4-million-square-foot L.A. Live project on the southern edge of downtown won't be complete for another year and a half or so. But its extensive second phase, much of which will open to the public this weekend, seems to rule out for good the prospect that L.A. Live might bring a fresh, forward-looking model of mega-development to downtown."
"Even by the rather forgiving standards of a city whose leaders -- and whose public, for that matter -- demand little from developers when it comes to civic-minded design, the project is relentlessly focused on creating its own wholly separate commercial universe: a brighter, more strategically frenzied place than the world outside its doors."
"The implications of the L.A. Live model for the future of the city are broader than they might appear. It's not simply that AEG has given Los Angeles another outdoor mall, in this case a good deal bigger and flashier than the average one. When we trap the energy of an urban crowd inside this sort of self-contained world, and when we allow developers and their architects to heighten the differences between that world and the streets around it so dramatically, we help keep the rest of our blocks underused and, as pieces of the city, undernourished."