The late urban planning legend Jane Jacobs was skeptical of Los Angeles because it violated one of her central tenets: that a city be made of vibrant neighborhoods linked by public transportation. Our lovely sprawl is stocked with colorful neighborhoods, such as the glamorous Strip and bustling Koreatown, but public transportation is another story. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Subway to the Sea.

That is, until more innovative solutions are found for making it happen. Which is the point of the L.A. 2.0 conference this weekend. Urban planners Amber Hawkes and Georgia Sheridan kept noticing the theme of transportation woes while combing through more than 150 applications to their inaugural conference. A collaboration between the global citizen’s initiative known simply as GOOD, the Public Studio and Sheridan/Hawkes, the afternoon think tank on Saturday will call for urban practitioners to outline strategies to improve the physical environment of L.A.

It’s one way to shake up the sometimes-stilted dialogue between the parties with a stake in L.A.’s future. “There’s an idea that planners are stuffy bureaucrats,” Sheridan said, “and that designers have all these ideas but don’t know how to implement them.”

“The idea,” Hawkes added, “is to bring everyone together from a variety of disciplines for an open brainstorm that ends with some concrete plans . . . the future is not silo thinking but collaborative in nature. ”


Margaret Wappler
Los Angeles Times