Last year I was asked by Dana Cuff to participate in a workshop organized by cityLAB, the urban think tank she runs at UCLA. The focus of the workshop was to make architectural, business, transportation, and cultural recommendations for Westwood Village, the neighborhood that surrounds UCLA’s campus. Given its proximity to a major college, a shopping-district layout, and charming 1920′s-era architecture, Westwood is one of L.A.’s most unique pedestrian-focused neighborhoods. But due to a wide range of challenges, today, most of Westwood looks like this:
The workshop asked teams of local architects to examine some of the current trends and envision a brighter future for Westwood. Roger Sherman of Roger Sherman Architecture + Urban Design and Edwin Chan, who works at Gehry Partners, came up with some pretty incredible recommendations, including rezoning the vacant storefronts as live-work studios for grad students, and the idea to relocate all of UCLA’s theaters and museums off campus and into Westwood Village. But then they did something that blew their project out of the water. They produced a newspaper.
They wrote and designed an entire issue of the fictional Village View, published October 10, 2025. In addition to splashy news stories about Westwood’s booming development, they included delightful period-perfect details, from gossip about a washed up Lady Gaga to film premieres (Twilight: At First Bite in “3DS”). Any quibbles aside about whether or not we’d be reading actual paper newspapers 13 years in the future, I only had one thought as I paged through their concept: Any architect designing any building should be required to do this.
And especially those architects working on a major construction project that will be completed a dozen years in the future—designers should be forced to examine every detail of daily life when their building becomes reality. That’s what writing a newspaper asks you to do: To look at everything from culture to crime as it relates to the built environment. I’d love to see architecture schools require this for students.
I was even more thrilled when Roger and Edwin asked me to contribute a story for their paper around the cultural transformation of a particular reimagined area near the new Westwood subway stop. Yesterday, the final plans were revealed for the Purple Line subway, which will travel down Wilshire to Westwood. And if Mayor Villaraigosa gets his way, the line could be completed as soon as 2022. Which means that my story, set in 2025 just after the opening of the Westwood station, could TOTALLY HAPPEN, you guys.
One more thing: Roger and Edwin suggest moving the Westwood station away from an already too-busy intersection and tucking it into the Village where it can become a giant plaza and gateway to the revitalized community. As you’ll see from my story, I thought this was a pretty fantastic idea, and gave some thought to what that might look like. Metro, are you listening? It’s the FUTURE CALLING!
You can read my 2025 story about Westwood’s cultural and transportation rebirth, and see some images from the proposals here.