In the third in a series of five community events preceding the launch of Culver City’s General Plan Update, the City of Culver City welcomed architect Craig Hodgetts, co-founder of local design studio Hodgetts + Fung, for an exploration of the history and future of the city’s streets. Mr. Hodgetts presented a wide-ranging examination, using case studies throughout the world, of how the urban fabric made up of city streets and buildings evolved to match advances in technology, political organization, and culture throughout history. Aided by rich present-day and historical photographs, maps, and other imagery, he described how street grids emerged to create order and consistency in urban environments.
Unlike the monolithic and hyper-efficient grid of New York City, Culver City has many small grids organized around what Mr. Hodgetts called the “fun stuff” – the studios and racetracks and open spaces which precede much of the city’s development. Environments produce culture, he said, and drew a line between Culver City’s irregular grids of streets and its relaxed, creative atmosphere.
Mr. Hodgetts then turned to the future city, how it will continue to evolve, and how emerging transportation technologies will alter it. He noted that the future is open and unknown, and it is up to today’s public to shape what the city looks like tomorrow. A post-presentation
discussion with an engaged audience explored this theme further. Mr. Hodgetts suggested that getting people places faster, the driving force behind twentieth century transportation engineering, isn’t always better. Instead, he proposed finding a better balance of means to
move around a city where the dominance of cars is toned down and the presence of people is elevated. He suggested that the community lay the groundwork for that future by finding the quirks in our own urban fabric – the collisions and bends in the grid that give it character
– and celebrating them and improving access in ways that provide better choices to more people without degrading the environment.
Next month Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles and former architectural critic for the Los Angeles Times, will pick up this conversation. Mr. Hawthorne will build on ideas about public spaces and the changing physical fabric of the
city at Design Shapes the City, the next in our series of public talks before the launch of the General Plan. Please join us on December 5, 2018 from 6:30-8 PM for another evening of enlightening and spirited discussion.
City of Culver City