It has been over two months since I became a regular bus rider. As I shared in my previous article, my office recently moved from Koreatown (where I was able to reach with ease riding the subway) to Alhambra (which is not served by Metro rail at all). Thus my morning commute now consists of 15 minutes of walking, a short ride on the subway, a 30-minute bus ride, and another 10 minutes on foot. This is just to get to work; I have to do the reverse to return home. Taking public transit to and from a suburb located about nine miles east of my home has been anything but convenient. It would be easy for me to just complain about it endlessly or even give up on the bus altogether. However, I have chosen to stick with it for now because I cannot dismiss riding the bus as an entirely bad experience. As a planner who tends to think about and reflect upon my experiences (perhaps too much), I want to share the following observations about bus riding in Los Angeles. I must clarify though that my comments are from my perspective as a public transit user only, not as a transportation planner, since I lack formal training and experience in the field of transportation planning. [Read more…] about Riding the Bus: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
I have been learning a lot lately. No, I have not returned to school or taken a few courses through Planetizen. Instead, I have simply been playing with my five-year old daughter and gaining a few insights along the way. Some of her favorite toys these days are Blockitecture sets which consist of colorful wooden blocks of buildings, parks, green spaces, rivers, and lakes. Together, we have built neighborhoods and had humorous conversations about what makes a city “fun” or “awesome,” two of her most often-used adjectives. Of course, this has brought me, a plannerd and father, much joy and satisfaction, knowing that my daughter is beginning to understand what I do as a planner and that she may even aspire to be one in the future (well, I am not sure about this yet). All kidding aside, I have seriously learned a few things through our play sessions that I would like to share below. [Read more…] about Urban Planning Insights: Learning and Reflecting through Play
Can you believe that it is almost the middle of December already? Well, it is that time of the year again when many of us think about giving and receiving presents. I previously shared some ideas on the perfect gifts for planners, architects, landscape architects, and other related professionals in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 which have turned out to be a few of my most read articles. I am glad to know that my lists have been helpful (and perhaps entertaining?) to some planners and/or fans of planners. Without further ado, here is my 2017 edition of Presents for Plannerds: [Read more…] about Presents for Plannerds: 2017 Edition
With Thanksgiving and the holiday season fast approaching, this is perhaps a good time to look ahead to 2018. Specifically, I would like to talk about some events that planners, architects, and landscape architects can look forward to in the new year. [Read more…] about Looking Ahead to 2018: Events for Planners
What is a scholar-practitioner in urban planning? And what does it take to become one? Essentially, scholar-practitioners bridge the gap between academia and the real world, combining scholarly research with practical application of theories and knowledge to solve complex problems in our profession. [Read more…] about Becoming a Scholar-Practitioner in Urban Planning
Soccer? Football? Fútbol? While there may not be universal consensus on what to call the sport, I think most can agree that it has become a very popular sport in America. I previously wrote an article called Soccer and Park Planning from my perspective both as a soccer fan and a planner. It seems appropriate now to do a sequel given the continued “soccerization” of land use across cities in the U.S. Essentially, I am referring to the dedication of an increasing amount of land/space for soccer, and the development of additional facilities for both players and fans, including soccer fields and futsal courts at parks as well as soccer-specific stadiums for professional teams. [Read more…] about Soccerization of Land Use
Over the years, I have written numerous articles about the importance of planning for new parks in underserved communities and highlighted various projects that I have been fortunate to be involved in. In particular, two projects that I have discussed at length are the Los Angeles County Master Plan for Sustainable Parks and Recreation: Phase I (also known as the Community Parks and Recreation Plans) and the Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment (see Park Planning for Underserved Communities and Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment: The L.A. County Story). As a park planner, I am generally more focused on the creation and siting of parks to meet community needs, and the equitable distribution of such facilities. However, I am also fully aware that recreational programming matters just as much as planning, and perhaps even more so based on the input of many residents and park staff with whom I have interacted. Thus, I would like to address programming in this article, with a special focus on the Parks After Dark (PAD) program. [Read more…] about Surprising benefits from nighttime park programming in LA
Are you a “foodie“? Do you live in the Los Angeles area? Are you a regular reader of the L.A. Times? If you answered yes to all three questions, then you have probably heard of acclaimed food critic Jonathan Gold. I recently watched City of Gold which I initially thought was just a documentary about Gold and his culinary adventures. However, as I was watching the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that its focus was not solely on the Pulitzer-winning writer and his favorite restaurants; City of Gold also reveals Gold’s love for Los Angeles and how he has essentially experienced the diversity and vastness of the city through food. [Read more…] about Documentary Review: City of Gold
We all need parks. Specifically, the availability of parks, trails, and other recreational facilities is an important factor in creating healthy communities and providing a high quality of life for residents. These amenities offer opportunities to encourage active living, to exercise, to access open space, and to connect with others and the natural environment.
Is one of your new year’s resolutions to exercise more or be more physically active? If yes, where have you been doing your exercise routines? Nowadays, many people immediately think of private gyms like LA Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness as the most effective and/or popular places to get fit. But as we all know, gym membership is not cheap and not everyone can afford it. As I explained in my article Where Do You Exercise, there are other options, such as Fitness Zones at public parks, multi-use trails, the city itself, and the YMCA, which are free or more affordable. [Read more…] about Recreation at Shopping Malls?