This afternoon, UCLA's cityLAB think tank, in conjunction with the Hammer Museum and Westside Urban Forum, is hosting an event called Curse and Vision: The Future of Westwood Village. We're not sure what the curse is all about (cast by an urban planning witch?), but some of the neglect on display in the neighborhood is detailed in the California Planning & Development Report: "The paradox of the Village is that, despite its vacancies, it has two of the remaining great single-screen movie theaters, plus a museum, a second-[tier] live theater, and all the museums and performance spaces of UCLA. But it's hard to take in Shakespeare or contemplate Van Gogh when you have to wash them down with Subway and hookah." So true.
CP&DR got a sneak peek at some of the proposed improvements from the event's designated designers, two local architecture firms, Neil M. Denari Architects and Roger Sherman and Associates. The firms were called on to imagine "Living Culture" and "Car-lite Village" futures for the neighborhood.
According to CP&DR: "Denari envisions the Village as a high-density district of mid-rise towers that would be almost off-limits to automobiles but served generously by Metro's planned subway extension, with a station in the heart of the Village." Denari's plan would also partially bury Wilshire Boulevard and cover it with a pedestrian plaza, as well as add skinny towers throughout.
As for Sherman, he "proposed an ingenious stroke of urban acupuncture: demolish the public parking structure in the middle of the Village and replace it with a public plaza dedicated to the arts."
· UCLA cityLAB Tries to Lift Westwood's Curse [CP&DR]
· Curse and Vision: The Future of Westwood Village [cityLAB]