Getting L.A. to grow up

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One of the best moments in the new movie Her is watching Joaquin Phoenix ride an elevated train through a Los Angeles of the near-future, dance through a bustling station (actually the Hollywood/Western Red Line station), and emerge at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The scene got a surprised laugh from everyone at the screening I was at last Friday: Director Spike Jonze had just completed the Subway to the Sea!

You can see a part in the trailer:

The movie was wonderful in the way that it presented a dense, future Los Angeles as something beautiful—not some dystopian world to be feared like so many other movies. It was an L.A. that I wanted to live in. But it’s especially frustrating that many Angelenos do not see the value of living in a more vertical city. In a piece I wrote for Gizmodo today, I call for L.A. (and other squat cities) to grow up. It might be awhile until we get there: Today, a judge shot down Hollywood’s new community plan that would allow for taller building heights.

You can read my piece here: Tall Is Good: How a Lack of Building Up Is Keeping Our Cities Down.

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