How Will Once-Sleepy Santa Monica Weather a Wave of New Development?

With an "unprecedented" amount of development applications waiting for review, and the impending arrival of light rail linking to downtown L.A., seaside Santa Monica is growing up, literally. Sam Lubell examines the city's "development tsunami."
April 14, 2013, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Once upon a time, Santa Monica was a sleepy beach town, far removed from the ruckus of Los Angeles," writes Lubell. "That day has long passed. As the economy recovers from the recession, the city is poised to become one of the development and architectural capitals of Southern California."

"More than 35 projects have applied for development agreements in the city, the majority of them multiple-story, mixed-used developments. Many of the architects involved are internationally recognized, such as Frank Gehry, OMA, and Pugh + Scarpa."

However, as should be expected in a city going through dramatic growing pains, "[t]here are several critics of all this development," notes Lubell. "Most protesters claim that while development will be focused on downtown, that won’t stop traffic and other problems from spreading throughout the city. One vocal neighborhood group, the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City, called the upcoming projects a 'tsunami of development' and complained about the increased traffic and environmental impact that the new construction would bring."

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Published on Friday, April 12, 2013 in The Architect's Newspaper
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