Los Angeles Magazine

How to Build a Rental Unit or Granny Flat in Your Backyard

April 12, 2018
To ease the housing crunch, the city of L.A. is making it easier for homeowners to build “accessory dwelling units.”

In the hills of Highland Park, Trent Wolbe is standing where his new home is being built. A two-story, 1,024-square-foot two-bedroom house, it’ll be 27 by 17 feet at the base—tight but just right considering that he’s squeezing this into the backyard of the Craftsman bungalow he shares with his partner and four-year-old daughter.

People With Spinal Injuries Are Regaining Use of Their Limbs in an Amazing Way

March 30, 2018
Inside UCLA’s Neuroplasticity and Repair Laboratory

Brian Gomez has his fingers wrapped around a small bar attached to three short springs in a rectangular metal frame. It’s similar to the handlebar brake lever of a dirt bike, like the one Gomez was riding in 2011 that malfunctioned, causing a crash that left him paralyzed below the neck. He’s trying to close his hand, but the bar doesn’t budge. Then a switch is flipped, and tiny electrodes implanted on his spinal cord begin firing. “It’s like a fluid shock going through” his body, he says. Gomez straightens in his wheelchair. His forearm twitches, and his grip tightens. The metal bar moves.


December 9, 2016
Some of L.A.'s wealthiest philanthropists and foundations are setting their sights on solving the city's most chronic social dilemma -- providing housing for those without it. But even the mega-donors can't tackle the problem on their own.

Los Angeles is one of the wealthiest cities in the world. If it were a country, its roughly $700 billion gross domestic product would rank it amongst the top 20 richest nations. From entertainment to aerospace to technology, the city is replete with high-earning industries and the wealth they create. More than 125,000 millionaires call L.A. home.

Giving in L.A.

December 9, 2016
Philanthropy is on the rise, but we have a ways to go to reach pre-recession levels of generosity.

Across Los Angeles County, there are more than 35,000 non profit organizations. Some find homes for pets and some find homes for people. Some prevent sexual and domestic violence and some prevent environmental devastation. Some try to improve the public school system and some try to improve the criminal justice system. Operating at a wide variety of scales, these non-profits are all similar in that they’re attempting to meet a need that’s not otherwise being met, whether from a lack of funding from the public sector or a lack of attention from society in general.

Development and Construction Are Slowly Improving L.A.’s Traffic

September 12, 2016
Even if they make it worse in the short run.

Back by popular desperation, a recession-halted program from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation will soon resume installing speed humps on neighborhood streets. Residents on more than 800 city blocks have petitioned for the traffic-calming asphalt lumps over the last three years. They want to slow traffic and make their streets safer, dissuading all those drivers straying into residential areas—directed by navigation apps and sheer frustration—as they try to avoid the horrendous traffic elsewhere.

Why Some Homes Get Burgled and Others Don't

March 29, 2016
It could have as much to do with geography as curb appeal

Los Angeles is a city that was built for crime. According to architecture writer Geoff Manaugh’s new book, A Burglar’s Guide to the City, its urban form deserves at least part of the blame for the larceny inflicted upon us. In fact, the sprawl gave rise to what Manaugh calls an entirely different kind of policing: from helicopters. We talked to him about buildings, burglars, and bank robbers.

Certain parts of L.A. are more prone to burglary simply because of their architecture and design. Manaugh says cookie-cutter suburban development is a prime target.

Cracking the Code

April 1, 2015
Detail-oriented and technically skilled, young adults with autism are finding surprise careers in Hollywood

Inside the corner suite of an office building on Riverside Drive, a roomful of young men and women in their late teens and early twenties are drawing cartoons. Well, to put it more accurately (and geekily), they're creating simple computer animation through 2D Flash software. One digital sketch is of an underwater fight between a giant shark and a Jurassic plesiosaur. A tamer story across the room revolves around a family of cute kitties. Another series of animated bits shows a young devil trekking through hell en route to a rather intimidating job interview with Satan.