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Curbed LA End of Year Awards: IV

Our End o' Year Awards are broken into multiple pieces and categories. We give you Urban Planning awards now. We have so many more awards to give out, but they'll have to wait until next year - like December, not January. Curbed Stuff, Architecture and Real Estate have been posted below. Thank you for continuing to read our blog.


Biggest Thinker
WINNER: Ken Smith of the Orange County Great Park. Seriously, the super New Yorky landscaper's vision of orange balloons, a man-made canyon and restoration of the area's natural eco-system on the site of the former El Toro air base, is a masterful undertaking in the vein of Olmstead. The park will be a great gathering place for the OC and should be an inspiration for thinking "big". Somebody cares besides us, right?

Most Anticipated Change Our World Project
WINNER: Subway to the Sea/Purple Line. After years and years of wrangling and an exploding Ross, the stars have finally aligned to see the completion of the subway from Western/Wilshire onto Santa Monica with stops in West Hollywood, Century City, Beverly Hills, West LA and finally somewhere near the beach in Santa Monica. Somebody wake us when it's done.

Dumbest Planning Scheme/The John Stossel "Give Me A Break" Award
WINNER: The 710/Port Maglev. If you're talking about Los Angeles, the craziest plans come from the realm of transportation, i.e. how to solve our traffic gridlock. While monorails fall apart in other cities, the idea still holds some odd sway over the populace here. And then there's the Maglev - a billion dollar, monorail on steroids (magnets), that will swoosh people and cargo around the metro area. Pollution free floating trains! Too bad it costs so much and there are better alternatives.

Most Up and Coming Hipster Hood
WINNER: Long Beach. Another tough choice. There were only a couple of hoods/communities in the running for this category. Atwater Village and San Pedro being the other two. But we would actually leave LA city limits and go to Long Beach. Maybe its the Cliff May homes, Belmont Shore, or the new residential towers planned for the south bay city, but something about the LBC strikes our fancy. Forgetting Pine Street, the city is still a bit raw in places and has Blue Line access to the rest of LA.

The Don Quixote Award for Community Activism
WINNER: The South Central Farmers. They fought the good fight, armed with fruit, righteous indignation, and Daryl Hannah. But alas, like Cervantes' literary protagonist, the South Central Farmers were tilting at Ralph Horowitz's intractable windmill.

The NIMBY Award: We're Anti!
WINNER: The Horses of Burbank. Horse owners and quality of life proponents who ride horses have come out against a Whole Foods Market locating in their rustic neighborhood in Burbank, saying it will drive up traffic, destroy their peace of mind and spook their pussy horses. Perhaps they'd prefer a Wild Oats? LA City Beat, the Daily News and The New York Times have all covered the story.

The Zell Miller Award for Crazy Old Kooks
WINNER: Ray Bradbury. We just can't get past this monorail thing, especially when Ray Bradbury crawled out of his hyperbaric chamber to author an op-ed piece in the LA Times earlier this year to call for one. The most amazing part of the op-ed? The fact that Ray Bradbury is still alive. Who knew?

Most Captivating Retail/Restaurant Story of The Year
WINNER: Pinkberry. The homegrown phenomenon first got on our radar screens after causing traffic and parking mayhem in West Hollywood. Pinkberry yogurt has since curdled its way into our hearts. Now its made it to New York, not to mention multiple locations in LA metro and beyond. Too fast, too soon? We say YES. Seriously, it's just frozen yogurt. Honorable mentions: Famima!! and H&M.

The Eric Garcetti Do Gooder "Goody Goody" Award
WINNER: Eric Garcetti. The Council President wins his own award. This past year, Garcetti made a nice effort to give LA some affordable housing, he's recognized the blogosphere, he drives a hybrid, and has been seen about town with Winnie the Pooh. And he joined the military or something. We also hear he's a closet Star Trek fan.

Thank you for your continued support and emails! If you have a category and winner to add to our lists, email us ( and maybe we'll post a reader's section when we get back. Happy New Year!