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Joel Kotkin Defenders UNITE!

Here's something we never thought we'd see. It's a letter requesting we take it easy on urban planning's enfant terrible, Joel Kotkin.

Dear Curbed LA: What's with the constant Joel Kotkin bashing? I am pretty tired of everyone calling him a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian. I don't believe this is true...just look at the discussions that were spurred by the other posts regarding the housing slump as well as the median sale prices by neighborhood and even the post regarding the Burbank project. It all ties into what Joel Kotkin is saying about how all this rampant condo development is simply hype. I think everyone who reads Curbed, and even Mr. Kotkin himself, has in their best interest the notion of a safe and liveable city. Many of Mr. Kotkin's criticisms are a reflection of the local government and developer's thoughtlessness in trying to model Los Angeles after some other city when in fact LA is unique in its own right.

Being an architect, I am always interested in seeing a new gleaming tower or a new transit line being built. The point at where I disagree with most of the colleagues in my profession is at that of interpreting the city as a mere collection of buildings and infrastructure. Joel Kotkin refuses to look at the city this narrow mindedly and sees it as a natural and unpredictable force made up of an infinitely diverse group of people (most of whom could give a shit about planning and development or even local politics). Sure, things like more density, transit oriented development, etc, etc all look good on paper but the reality is much more complex. I could go on and on but that's enough for now. Let's keep the debate going.


A. Mayer

Thank you for this letter, which we hope spurs further discussion of stuff.
· Joel Kotkin: What You're For, I'm Against [Curbed LA]
· It's Time To De-Kotkinize The Planning Debate [CP&DR]
· Why the rush to Manhattanize L.A.? [LA Times]