Going green at ULI’s VerdeXchange: The L.A. River, development, and the future of Los Angeles

The green future of the L.A. River is the subject at the VerdeXchange. (@andresjcruz/ Instagram)

The green future of the L.A. River is the subject at the VerdeXchange. (andresjcruz / Instagram)

If words were water, the Los Angeles River would be overflowing its banks. If pronouncements were viable projects, a very green sustainable Southern California is in the offing. There certainly were a lot of words and pronouncements at the industry heralded “FutureBuild” convocation in L.A. this week, staged over two days by the venerable VerdeXchange conference with the Urban Land Institute.

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The end of the Los Angeles’ Sixth Street bridge brings a subdued HNTB-Maltzan design

Architecture, Transportation, Urbanism, West
Thursday, January 28, 2016
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Recent renderings of the Sixth Street Bridge. (HNTB with Michael Maltzan Architecture/ Courtesy Mayor Eric Garretti/ Facebook)

Recent renderings of the Sixth Street Bridge. (HNTB with Michael Maltzan Architecture/ Courtesy Mayor Eric Garretti/ Facebook)

So long, Sixth Street Bridge. We knew it was coming, but Wednesday marked the last day the iconic Art Deco span would be open to the public. Built in 1932, the iconic double-loop overpass over the L.A. River will live on in movies, videos, and photos.

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Vince Bertoni nominated to lead Los Angeles’ planning department

A new planner in town: Vince Bertoni, at a town hall meeting last September (Eddie Rivera/ Courtesy Pasadena News Now)

A new planner in town: Vince Bertoni, at a town hall meeting last September. (Eddie Rivera/ Courtesy Pasadena News Now)

At the top of the year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti kicked off 2016 by putting his attention toward the future of L.A.’s physical shape as he nominated Pasadena Planning Director Vince Bertoni as the new head of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning (LADCP).

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Here are three bold designs from winning teams that completely reimagine the Los Angeles Convention Center

Architecture, News, West
Friday, May 22, 2015
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HMC Architects and Populous.

HMC Architects and Populous.

The Los Angeles Convention Center is desperately in need of an overhaul. Architect Charles Luckman designed the original boxy structure in 1971 and James Ingo Freed added the glassy Annex in 1997. Today, both buildings lack the square footage and amenities to add up to a competitive venue. Centers in Las Vegas or Chicago eclipse LA’s meager 870,000 square feet by double or triple square footage. Indeed, in the decades since the venue was constructed the whole approach to convention center design has changed.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Don’t call me Shirley! Eric Garcetti lands Airplane! in Downtown Los Angeles

Eavesdroplet, West
Monday, March 30, 2015
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From the Airplane! movie poster. (Courtesy Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker)

From the Airplane! movie poster. (Courtesy Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker)

Last month LA Mayor Eric Garcetti attended a screening of his favorite movie, Airplane!, at the historic Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The event included a Q&A with Garcetti and the film’s directors, Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> California’s Olympic Letdown: Los Angeles & San Francisco lose out to Boston

Eavesdroplet, West
Thursday, January 29, 2015
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(Photo by Alik Griffin / Flickr; Montage by AN)

(Photo by Alik Griffin / Flickr; Montage by AN)

 

Alas, despite being hailed as the favorite to represent the United States in the race for the 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles has lost out to its much older competitor, Boston. LA had pitched what Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed as the “most affordable” proposal, using mostly existing facilities, including the LA Memorial Coliseum, the Staples Center, and even Frank Gehry‘s Disney Hall, Griffith Observatory, and the Queen Mary.

Maybe the USOC isn’t as into a bargain as we thought? Or maybe after giving LA two games they’re just not that into us anymore. San Francisco, by the way, lost out on its bid, which also banked on affordability. Damn, the Olympic Village could have been the only cheap place to live there outside of Oakland!

Los Angeles’ sustainability chief talks going green in SoCal

Sustainability is a top concern for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Neil Kremer / Flickr)

Sustainability is a top concern for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Neil Kremer/Flickr)

Thanks in no small part to the local AEC industry, Los Angeles is a leader in sustainability in several areas, notably green building. But there is still room for improvement, said Matt Petersen, former president and CEO of Global Green USA. Petersen would know: he’s the city’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as part of a broader administrative overhaul. “The mandate the mayor gave me was to build on the great things Los Angeles is already doing, and to put forward a vision for sustainability in the city,” explained Petersen.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles proposes ambitious, and costly, earthquake plan

Northridge Meadows Apartment after the 1994 Northridge earthquake (City of Los Angeles)

Northridge Meadows Apartment after the 1994 Northridge earthquake (City of Los Angeles)

In the wake of damaging reports about Los Angeles’ unpreparedness for the next Big One, Mayor Eric Garcetti yesterday proposed a new earthquake plan that, if passed, would require owners to retrofit thousands of wood frame and concrete buildings.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles Announces Makeover Candidates for Great Streets Program

Improvements are already planned on this stretch of Figueroa Street south of Downtown Los Angeles (above), but a new Great Streets plan brings improvements to additional portions of the street. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

Improvements are already planned on this stretch of Figueroa Street south of Downtown Los Angeles (above), but a new Great Streets plan brings improvements to additional portions of the street. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

As the United States’ prototypical car-oriented freeway town, Los Angeles continues to edge its way toward becoming a pedestrian-friendly metropolis. The city’s Great Streets Initiative, a program intended to redesign public space to be more pedestrian- and cyclist-friend, officially moved forward this week as Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the first 15 streets that will be targeted for improvement throughout the city.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mayors, Philanthropies Team Up for Energy Efficiency Blitz

National, News, Sustainability
Thursday, January 30, 2014
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Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

A team of mayors and nonprofit foundations said Wednesday that they’ll spend enough retrofitting major U.S. cities to save more than $1 billion per year in energy costs. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation pledged $3 million each year for three years to provide technical advisers for 10 cities across the country: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. Read More

Los Angeles Mayor Announces “Great Streets” Program

City Terrain, West
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
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Rendering from My Figueroa, a proposed model of great streets in Los Angeles south of Downtown Los Angeles. (My Figueroa)

Rendering from My Figueroa, a proposed model of great streets in Los Angeles south of Downtown Los Angeles. (My Figueroa)

Last Thursday in his keynote address to the Transit Oriented Los Angeles conference, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the creation of the “Great Streets Initiative.”  In an executive directive—his first since taking office on June 30—Garcetti outlined a program that “will focus on developing streets that activate the public realm, provide economic revitalization, and support great neighborhoods.” Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles Names First-Ever Chief Sustainability Officer

Shft+Alt+Del, West
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
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Matt Petersen (Global Green)

Matt Petersen. (Global Green)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti last week named Global Green CEO Matt Petersen as the city’s first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer. Peterson, according to the mayor’s office, will be tasked with “making the city’s departments greener and neighborhoods healthier, and fulfilling Garcetti’s campaign promise of creating 20,000 new green jobs.” Peterson should also have his hands full, not only getting each city department to cooperate, but on thorny issues like regulation of the city’s ports and transit corridors.

Global Green, if you’re wondering, is a non-profit dedicated to “advocating for smart solutions to global warming including green building for affordable housing, schools, cities and communities that save money, improve health and create green jobs.” Since its founding almost 20 years ago it has organized design competitions, testified in congress,  hosted awards, and raised money on behalf of green causes.

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