Rejecting Hollywood Densification

lacityhallByWendellCoxby Wendell Cox 12/24/2013

The city of Los Angeles received a stunning rebuke, when California Superior Court Judge Alan J. Goodman invalidated the Hollywood Community Plan. The Hollywood district, well known for its entertainment focus, contains approximately 5% of the city of Los Angeles’ population. The Hollywood Plan was the basis of the city’s vision for a far more dense Hollywood, with substantial high rise development in “transit oriented developments” adjacent to transit rail stations (Note 1). Continue reading

Judge Deals Major Blow to Hollywood Growth Plan

LA TrafficA judge has dealt a major blow to Los Angeles’ efforts to spur larger development in parts of Hollywood, calling a new zoning plan for the area “fatally flawed” and saying that the document should be repealed.
In a tentative 41-page ruling issued Tuesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman said city leaders failed to comply with the state’s environmental law when it approved an update to the Hollywood Community Plan, which mapped out new limits for development in that neighborhood. Continue reading

Hollywood Becomes Fraudywood

M FraudywoodIn order to have the City Council approve the Garcetti Hollywood Community Plan on June 19, 2012, the HCP EIR deceitfully inflated Hollywood’s 2005 population by 23,880, claiming to have used SCAG Regional Transportation Plan numbers.

After the three lawsuits were filed and finding that the SCAG 2005 RTP had absolutely no data for Hollywood and finding no SCAG data on Hollywood’s population for any year including 2005 baseline or for the fictitious population of 244,602 ppl in 2030 anywhere in the 70,000 pages of administrative record, concerned citizens made a Government Code, § 6250 request for the SCAG population data on Hollywood.  Guess what? SCAG had NO public data. There never was any official or public population data for the 2005 population of 224,426 ppl.  Thus, it was a material fraud to tell the public that the baseline 2005 population was 224,426 ppl. Continue reading

“Plan Bay Area” Will Drive Housing Prices Higher, Intensify Traffic, and Increase Air Pollution

sfDevelopment constraints will lead to unaffordable housing

The proposal’s regulatory overreach will have detrimental consequences for Bay Area residents and the metropolitan economy. The proposed Plan Bay Area would allow little or no new development beyond the urban fringe, where cities have grown naturally since the beginning of time. Similar, though less draconian constraints on urban fringe development have been employed for 40 years in the Bay Area.  The result has been to more than double house prices relative to incomes, making home ownership affordable only to the affluent. Even after playing musical chairs with the lives of seven million current residents and a million additional residents who could move here by 2040, Plan Bay Area says that people will drive cars just about as much as they do now.  But its critical to note that much of this traffic would be concentrated around the priority development areas, which would intensify traffic congestion and air pollution and its relative health impacts. Continue reading

The Tallest White Elephant in the World

WhiteElephantReaching more than a thousand feet into the air, The Shard was hailed as one of the wonders of the age when it was completed. Yet Britain’s tallest building is almost entirely empty, as its owners struggle to find buyers and tenants for its offices and luxury flats. As our picture shows, London’s 72-storey skyscraper is largely dark in the early evening, while the surrounding buildings are bright with office lights. Continue reading

Tower Blocks Should be Demolished

Tower-blocks-in-HackneyHigh-rise housing should be replaced by streets of terrace homes says Policy Exchange set up by planning minister.

Modernist tower blocks should be demolished and replaced with streets of terrace houses and low-rise flats that people actually want to live in, an influential Conservative think tank will claim on Thursday. Continue reading

Megacities And The Density Delusion

MegaCitiesMany retro-urban theorists maintain that high density is the key to urban prosperity. These theorists often point for justification to Santa Fe Institute research that, they claim, links productivity with density. Yet in reality it does nothing of the kind. Instead the study emphasizes that population size, not compactness, is the decisive factor.

Size does matter. A region is helped by the infrastructure that generally comes only with a large population, for example airports. But being big does not mean being dense. In fact the U.S. cities that made the largest gains in GDP in 2011 — Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and greater Detroit — are not dense cities at all. Continue reading

Rhode Island’s Tallest Building Will Soon Go Dark

superman-building

Rhode Island’s tallest building will soon be its most visible symbol of the state’s long economic decline. The 26-story Art Deco-style skyscraper, known to some as the “Superman building” for its similarity to the Daily Planet headquarters in the old TV show, is losing its sole tenant this month. No one is moving in, and the building, the most distinctive feature on the Providence skyline, will no longer be fully illuminated at night, if at all, its owner says. It’s a blow for the city and the state, which had 9.4 percent unemployment in February and has had one of the worst jobless rates in the nation for years.

Nicolas Retsinas, a senior lecturer in real estate at Harvard Business School, says 111 Westminster, as the building is also known, will be “the ultimate urban pothole.”

http://www.wbur.org/2013/04/07/superman-building-go-dark

 

Sydney to Abandon Radical Urban Containment Policy

parkingtrafficThe New South Wales government has proposed a new Metropolitan Strategy for the Sydney area which would significantly weaken the urban containment policy (also called urban consolidation, smart growth, livability, growth management, densification, etc.) that has driven if house prices to among the highest in the affluent New World (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) relative to household incomes. Continue reading

Medical Response Times Lag in L.A. Neighborhoods

By Kate Linthicum, Ben Welsh and Robert J. Lopez, Los Angeles Times, November 15, 2012

The Times analyzed more than a million runs by the LAFD.

Waits for 911 medical aid vary dramatically across Los Angeles and many of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods have the longest response times, according to a Times investigation.

Under national standards adopted by the Los Angeles Fire Department, rescuers are supposed to arrive within six minutes to almost all medical emergencies. But the Times analysis found that in affluent hillside communities stretching from Griffith Park to Pacific Palisades, firefighters failed to hit that mark nearly 85% of the time. Continue reading