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
Dear Pasadena Planning Commissioners,
We’ve come a long way from Pasadena’s 2004 second dwelling unit ordinance that effectively codified irrational NIMBYism in the Zoning Code. The proposed amendment to the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) ordinance before you at the May 24, 2017 hearing represents a significant improvement; it came about as a result of the relaxed standards for ADUs by way of AB 2299 and SB 1069, as well as the passionate testimony of residents and housing advocates in public hearings and community meetings. However, a few points of contention remain – some of the “poison pills” and class-based inequalities carried over from the original ordinance – while other points merit highlighting for this latest public hearing. I ask you to take these comments under consideration as you evaluate the amended ADU ordinance for recommendation to the Pasadena City Council.
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.
Dear Pasadena City Council Members,
A long overdue update to the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance is before you at the January 30, 2017, City Council public hearing. With the passage of AB 2299 and SB 1069, all local jurisdictions are obligated to amend zoning ordinances to facilitate easier pathways to building accessory dwellings units (ADUs). As the staff report notes, the new state laws came about in response to a statewide affordable housing crisis. We see it in Pasadena. It’s rendered in the presence of homeless encampments, occupied vehicles on city streets and parking lots, and the existence of unpermitted housing on private properties across the city.
[Read more…] about An Open Letter to the Pasadena City Council Urging a Comprehensive Overhaul of the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance
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?
The year 2016 marked the 500th anniversary of the publishing of Thomas More’s book Utopia. Much has been written about the idea of Utopia and Utopian societies, stretching all the way back to ancient times. Since Thomas More gifted us a detailed physical description of his “good place,” I thought it would be fun to walk-through his land, 500 years later, give some simple measurements and compare it to some real places today. [Read more…] about What makes a Utopia? – a review of Thomas More’s classic on its 500th anniversary
Dear Pasadena Planning Commissioners,
A long overdue update to the City of Pasadena’s Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance is before you at the December 14, 2016, Planning Commission public hearing. This will be the first of many hearings in response to the passage of Assembly Bill 2299 (AB 2299) and Senate Bill 1069 (SB 1069) and the upcoming Housing Element Implementation Program. At this juncture, I see three compelling reasons for your Commission to advocate a comprehensive overhaul of Pasadena’s Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance. [Read more…] about An Open Letter to the Pasadena Planning Commission Urging a Comprehensive Overhaul of the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance
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, Presents for Plannerds: 2014 Edition, and Presents for Plannerds: 2015 Edition which have turned out to be three 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 the past few years are still available, but I would like to highlight a few new items that I learned about this year. Without further ado, here is my 2016 edition of Presents for Plannerds: [Read more…] about Presents for Plannerds: 2016 Edition
As we are now in the month of November, this is probably a good time to look ahead to 2017. 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 inspired and/or encouraged. I always return to work from conferences feeling refreshed and more prepared to take on the work that awaits me. In 2016, I was fortunate to be able to attend the APA California Planning Conference in Pasadena, CA. Without further ado, here are twelve 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 2017: Events for Planners