In the fourth community event preceding the launch of Culver City’s General Plan Update, the City welcomed Christopher Hawthorne for a discussion centered around issues of urban design. Hawthorne’s powerful voice has helped to shape our understanding of the region and its complex urban environment. A longtime architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, he was named Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles in early 2018 and continues to serve as an Urban and Environmental Policy instructor at Occidental College.
Mr. Hawthorne defined in detail the region’s design challenges today and in the coming decades. He described how demographic and economic restructuring will continue to transform the region into one that is more densely and diversely populated. He also discussed that at the same time, the region’s physical environment hasn’t evolved in response to those changes. An important example cited was that housing remains out of reach for many people in many places (including Culver City) due to a racially segregated and exclusionary past that is still reflected in zoning and restrictive housing policies. He contrasted this with the region’s rich and open history of multifamily housing experimentation, some of which survives as models for how to build more inclusively in the future. He described how LA and the region is transforming from the private city to the civic city, one that continues to support an ambitious transit network buildout and other expressions of collective urban life. He underscored the close link between LA and Culver City – what each city does matters for the other – and looked to ambitious planning solutions in other cities as models for action to take here.
The session closed with a dynamic discussion with Mr. Hawthorne, Mayor Thomas Small, Council Member Alex Fisch, and attendees.
The next event, ‘Getting there from here,’ will take place in early 2019 and will feature Michael McCormick, AICP, an expert in General Plans. Mr. McCormick will join us to discuss all things General Plan.
What is a General Plan and why does ours need to be updated? What is the role of the community in creating a vision for the future of our city? We’ll answer your questions and share stories of places where planning has led to real change. Watch the GPU News and Events page for details about the date and location of this event.