Los Angeles


Why Buses Are the Saviors of Our Most Car-Crazy Cities

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August 17, 2015
Under a new plan, more than a million people are within a half-mile walk of a high-frequency bus stop in Houston. Is this a blueprint for other car-reliant cities like L.A.?

One of the most radical experiments in American public transportation is being conducted right now in Houston.

Yes, Houston—the sprawling oiltown where life without a car seems almost unlivable. But if the experiment works as planned, a carfree lifestyle will be a real possibility for hundreds of thousands of Houstonians.

Lessons Learned

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July 27, 2015
After a disastrous technology rollout in Los Angeles, schools reassess their priorities.

In schools across the United States, chalk and textbooks are disappearing. In their place are tablets and laptops. This technological transformation is only just beginning, but it stands to reshape the ways teachers teach and students learn. In 2015, school systems will spend an estimated $522 million on tablets and readers, and $4.7 billion on IT overall. “Districts are trying to be very, very thoughtful about how they do this,” says Scott Himelstein, executive director of the University of San Diego’s Institute for Entrepreneurship in Education.

The LA Street Artist Who Sees Beauty in the Cracks of Our Cities

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May 8, 2015
Paige Smith’s Urban Geode street-art project brings a hint of the magical to derelict corners of Los Angeles, and – with a network of fans worldwide – her crystalline forms are spreading

Down a narrow alley between two brick buildings in a Los Angeles warehouse district – now an expensive loft neighbourhood – in the small corner of a ground floor window filled in with concrete, a small plastic growth spreads out from the sill.

Like sculpted globs of clear ice, the crystalline shapes spill out from the window’s crevice, mixing with translucent blue mineral forms, forming a blossom of geometry.

Los Angeles's Four Level Interchange: A History of Cities in 50 Buildings

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April 13, 2015
Planned as ‘a landmark of beauty and pride for the entire city’, the Stack was the first of its kind, helping to create LA as a freeway metropolis and condemning its residents to largely car-dependent lives

The most famous – and most infamous – buildings in Los Angeles aren’t buildings. No one lives or works in them, but they have had an extraordinary impact on the city, its people, and the world as a whole. LA’s most important buildings are its freeways, and the most iconic piece of this vast network is the Four Level Interchange: an elegant vertical boating knot of freeways and ramps just outside downtown.

Could LA survive without its freeways? My six-hour vision of a carless future

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January 27, 2015
Nate Berg reports direct from the middle lane of Route 101, one of America’s busiest freeways, as it undergoes a rare session of ‘swarm maintenance’

Sitting on a Los Angeles freeway – not in a traffic jam but, literally, sitting cross-legged in the middle lane of one of the busiest freeways in the United States – is a contrary infrastructural experience.

This is a space passed over by more than 125,000 cars a day, most speeding through at 60, 70 or 80 miles an hour. At a speed of zero, there’s a cognitive dissonance created by the frozen freeway’s stillness. It feels like visiting the moon, a place you know is real but never thought you’d see firsthand.

The Port of the Future Is Arriving in Los Angeles

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October 27, 2014
Is Fighting Climate Change the Next Maritime Industry?

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the first and second busiest ports in the U.S., are a jigsawed infrascape of water channels and shipping terminals, a skyline built of cranes and steel containers. Together the neighboring ports cover more than 7,500 acres of land – about 12 square miles – and at least that much water. The metropolis of L.A. and Orange County and greater Southern California fans out around the ports, the grand industrial gash in the coastline, endlessly swallowing up and spitting out the commercial goods of the global economy.

A Database to Keep Los Angeles From Forgetting Itself

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July 2, 2014
Still a young city by global standards, L.A. has created a model for chronicling its historic resources.

The heritage of a city is often measured by its historic buildings — its cathedrals, its monuments, its ancient structures of stone and clay. For cities like Paris or Rome, with hundreds and thousands of years of history, it’s somewhat obvious which parts of this past must be remembered so that future generations can know the story of their city. But what about newer cities? What’s historic when you measure history in decades rather than centuries?

World's largest concrete pour: LA witnesses 'ballet of construction trucks'

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February 14, 2014
Wilshire Grand building will put Los Angeles back in the skyscraper business as city aims to rejuvenate its centre

Hundreds of spectators lined the streets in downtown Los Angeles Saturday for what might seem a lacklustre event in a city known for its entertainment: a parade of trucks poured a load of concrete into a hole. But this was no ordinary hole. It's the site of the future Wilshire Grand, a 73-storey building filled with offices, retail and hotel rooms that will, when it opens in 2017, be the tallest building in the city, and the eighth tallest in the US.

An Artist Tries to Fill L.A. With Wildflowers

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November 1, 2013
A countywide effort to transform vacant lots into wildflower fields.

Fritz Haeg is looking at a house on Google StreetView and contemplating its front yard. Haeg is an artist who's perhaps best known for his works converting grassy suburban front yards into so-called "edible estates" of vegetable gardens. But it's not an edible garden he imagines for this front yard. It's a field of wildflowers.

Anatomy of an L.A. Police Pursuit

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September 20, 2012
How police and media helicopters navigate the crowded airspace of L.A. when a suspect's on the run.

It's the sort of escapade Los Angeles has long been known for: a man in a stolen car with an AK-47 drives dangerously through the streets of rush-hour L.A. with a tail of about 8 police cars directly behind, and even more following a short ways back. The driver had allegedly carjacked the vehicle from its owner earlier that day – a slightly less concerning crime than the homicide he allegedly committed in July. The car's electronic tracking system had alerted police to its location and a chase ensued for more than an hour – at relatively low speed – through the city.