A belated Happy New Year to you! I know that we are already in the middle of January, but perhaps some of us are still trying to figure out the resolutions or goals that we would like to accomplish this year. Well, if you would like some help or inspiration, here are some suggestions: [Read more…] about New Year’s Resolutions for Planners
Can you believe that it is December already? Well, it is that time of year again when we think about giving and receiving presents. I previously shared some ideas on the perfect gifts for planners in Presents for Plannerds and Presents for Plannerds: 2014 Edition which have turned out to be two of my most read articles. I am glad to know that my lists have been helpful to some planners and/or fans of planners. Many of the products I mentioned in 2013 and 2014 are still valid and available, but I would like to highlight a few new items that I learned about this year. Also, instead of describing items by categories like books, DVDs, and apparel as I did in the past, I am going to recommend several websites where great gifts for planners may be purchased. Without further ado, here is my 2015 edition of Presents for Plannerds: [Read more…] about Presents for Plannerds: 2015 Edition
As the year winds down, I think this is a good time to look ahead to 2016. Specifically, I would like to discuss some events that planners, architects, and landscape architects can look forward to in the new year. For those of you who follow my writing, you must know by now that I am a big fan of conferences. As I explained in Rest for the Weary Planner, I see conferences as opportunities to learn, grow, network, and be encouraged. I always return to work from conferences feeling refreshed and more prepared to take on the work that awaits me. In 2015, I was fortunate to be able to attend and present at the APA National Conference in Seattle (read this article for a summary). Without further ado, here are ten conferences and meetings that may be of interest to those of us in the fields of planning, architecture, and landscape architecture: [Read more…] about Looking Ahead to 2016: Events for Planners
How should we determine the park needs of communities? How do we figure out whether a city is park-rich or park-poor? Traditionally, park need is measured by the amount of parkland in a city per 1,000 residents and then compared to some standard or goal. For example, if you take a look at the Parks and Recreation Elements of General Plans for most cities in California, you will find a standard or goal for parkland expressed in terms of X acres per 1,000 residents. Recently, I read an article in Builder which identifies the top ten cities in the U.S. with the most park acreage per 1,000 households. [Read more…] about How Should Park Needs be Measured?
Have you ever heard of Westlake Park? This was a park that was once referred to as “the most popular open-air resort in the city” (page 17 of Kevin Roderick’s book on Wilshire Boulevard). Opened in 1890, the park was loved by the people of Los Angeles and offered the perfect venue for leisurely strolls, boating in a lake, and popular Sunday concerts. The park was surrounded by luxury hotels and the area even became known as the Champs-Élysées of Los Angeles. You may be wondering, where is this great park and how come I have not been there yet? [Read more…] about What about MacArthur Park?
Have you ever wondered how people make a living by collecting cans and bottles from trash cans? Do you want to learn more about “canning” and how “canners” survive in New York City? Do you enjoy documentaries? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, I highly recommend that you watch HBO’s Redemption (2012) which was directed and produced by Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill. [Read more…] about Documentary Review: Redemption
As planners, many of us review and/or write a variety of planning documents daily. While some may dread these tasks, I actually enjoy them. It is no secret that I am a “plannerd” who is passionate about urban planning, and that I love reading and writing about a broad range of planning issues. However, even if you do not like to write or struggle in this area, I think you would have to agree that writing is a key part of our job and we must do it well. In my opinion, two of the biggest ongoing challenges for planners are communicating clearly with the public and maintaining interest on important planning issues. One way to tackle these challenges is to prepare thoughtful and articulate plans or reports that not only reflect the input of our constituents, but are also easy to read and understand. Provided below are ten tips that I have learned over the years. [Read more…] about Writing Tips for Planners
Whenever “public transit” is mentioned here in Los Angeles, most people immediately think of Metro and the transportation services it offers. This is only logical considering that Metro directly operates bus and rail services, and provides funding and directs planning for commuter rail and freeway/expressway projects within Los Angeles County. While Metro’s projects and accomplishments are well-documented and regularly covered in the news, I would instead like to draw attention to another public agency that is doing a lot to meet the local transportation needs of residents in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County: the County’s Department of Public Works (DPW). Specifically, this article discusses the shuttle services offered by DPW as an example of how critical it is to connect the dots, i.e. linking residents to popular community destinations such as parks, libraries, government offices, schools, and shopping centers. [Read more…] about Connecting the Dots: Shuttle Services for Unincorporated Areas
A few weeks ago, I was in Seattle for the American Planning Association (APA)’s National Planning Conference. In addition to learning with and from other planners, I also had the opportunity to present in a session entitled “Collaboration for Healthy Communities in LA County” that focused on the creation and accomplishments of Los Angeles County’s Healthy Design Workgroup (which I shared about previously in Coordination: Can’t Plan Without It). Like the conferences I attended in recent years, this one offered a wide variety of informative and useful sessions and mobile workshops. As a park planner, I naturally gravitated towards those related to parks and recreation. Summarized below are the sessions that I found most interesting and want to highlight in this article: [Read more…] about APA Conference: Lessons from Seattle
Are you concerned about climate change? Do you want visual evidence that it is actually happening? Do you live in a coastal community? Are you passionate about photography? If you answer yes to any (or all) of these questions, I highly recommend that you pay a visit to the Annenberg Space for Photography, one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. [Read more…] about Exhibit Review: Sink or Swim – climate change resilience in photographs at Los Angeles’s Annenberg