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The Unwalkable Made Walkable

The Planning Report has an interesting interview with urban planner Emily Gabel-Luddy of LA City Planning about her role on the newly formed urban design team. So far they've produced a big packet of info about creating walkable communities that has provided an interesting read for planner nerds like us. Gabel-Luddy says it's time to start taking a new approach to how we view our streets and how we design our city.

"Everything is urban design, but our primary focus is everything that has to do with our streets. [The City has] not, in many, many years, worked on our public realm. We’ve had a one-dimensional approach to our streets. In fact, for all of L.A.’s 6,500 miles of streets, the city has only about nine basic cross-sections for how a street should work. And none of those cross-sections considers the human dimension of that street. So the first area of urban design deals with humanizing the public realm, and we can’t take a one-dimensional approach; it really has to be comprehensive." Gabel-Luddy also takes aim at the proposed one-waying of Pico and Olympic for being a quick fix to a larger issue that will ultimately harm pedestrian activity along those two stretches of roadway. Nice job Zev! She also goes into the problems created by various departments who have fixed rules for development that in some senses work against good architectural and pedestrian design, creating the 4-story, flat-roofed stucco boxes populating the City. In a similar article on urban design, A Daily Dose of Architecture links up to, which looks at "great streets" around the world and how they are designed, with helpful little diagrams explaining right-of-way widths and heights in context to the street. The goal of the site is to collect 1,000 examples of good street design. So far they're stalled on 169.
· City Planning Department’s Urban Design Studio Is All About Making L.A. More Liveable [Planning Report via Planetizen]
· Street Sections [A Daily Dose of Architecture]