What are the unintended consequences of building the city of tomorrow?
Orinio Opinaldo had been watching his West Adams neighborhood change for years. Throughout the 1990s, the area had gradually filled in with apartment buildings and higher-end housing. Opinaldo saw neighbors kicked out of rental units or bought out of homes by developers looking to reposition their properties. The pace of change quickened with the 2012 phase-one opening of the Expo Line light rail train connecting downtown, USC and Culver City.
The Salton Sea, Southern California’s accidental oasis-turned-environmental tragedy, is the kind of disaster for which 20th-century U.S. policymakers only have themselves to thank.
Sitting 150 miles east of Los Angeles in the dry and hot Sonoran Desert, the Salton Sea is a 375-square-mile accident of nature, industry and real estate. It’s the largest inland body of water in California, but it’s saltier than the ocean, and the diversity of fish and wildlife it can support is diminishing. And below the surface is a seabed of contaminated soil that, once dried, turns to a toxic dust that is already posing public health risks.
Oh, and the sea is evaporating rapidly, which means more toxic dust being released into the air.
Over the course of the year, the Planetizen staff editors review and post summaries of hundreds of articles, reports, books, studies, and editorials related to planning and urban development. Now, we take a look back at 2008 and the trends and issues that defined the year in urban planning.
The economy and the housing market dominated the news this year, but there was also a considerable amount of coverage related to the Presidential election and President-elect Barack Obama. Transportation investment and city living were also major themes of the year. Read the full summaries below to see how these stories played out in 2008...