Los Angeles


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.

The Future of Intelligent Parking

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March 23, 2012
Technology is changing the ways cities and drivers park their cars.

They're in the ground all over the country, in parking lots and city streets. They're small and unobtrusive little guys, like small discs flat on the ground or the reflector bumps like you might drive over when crossing lanes. These are simple devices with a straightforward task, and they're about to have a huge impact on the way drivers in U.S. cities park, just by knowing when cars are parked over them and when they're not.

Los Angeles Seeks Pedestrians

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March 5, 2012
L.A. converts a street into a public park.

The automobile is undoubtedly the dominant mode of travel in Los Angeles. But to write off the city as made up entirely of car-driving, bumper-to-bumper rush hour commuters is clearly an over-generalization. A growing group of Angelenos is finding ways to make transit, cycling, and walking (and, often, a combination thereof) relevant and viable in their daily lives.

The Struggle to Define L.A.'s Transitional Moment

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January 5, 2012
A year of reading about Los Angeles with LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne.

Last January, Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne kicked off a year-long project to explore his city through its literature. He picked 24 – plus three more reader suggestions – of the “most significant books on Southern California architecture and urbanism.” The Reading L.A. project covers the city's growth, development, design, infrastructure and culture, including well-known titles like Reyner Banham’s 1971 Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, as well as less prominent books like David Brodsly’s 1981 L.A Freeway: An Appreciative Essay.

L.A.'s Bike Lane Blues

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December 14, 2011
The city's new green bike lane has hit costly speedbumps.

The city of Los Angeles recently followed the lead of cities like San Francisco and New York by altering two of its streets and adding new bike lanes, part of a pilot program that included painting the entire width of the lanes bright green. These new lanes have been welcomed by the bicycle community and by ribbon-cutting local politicians as a bold green sign of the city’s efforts to become a safer and friendlier place to bike.