Sunday, April 24, 2011

Urban Planning

Our LA view

With our recent tour of a few American cities, it became all too clear that it takes a vision to create a livable urban environment. I could barely pry James and Olivia out of Portland, OR-- a cityscape whose scale is both pedestrian and cyclist friendly, surrounded by parks and wildlife-- whereas we scarcely left the hotel in LA. True, the hotel was one of the most amazing rockstar experiences of our life with a rooftop pool and a free minibar, but it was the thought of driving through the urban sprawl which made sightseeing of little interest. The city is a study in poor planning and lost opportunities. Worse yet, with its expanse of sunny rooftops, the city was screaming for arrays of solar panels which were few and far between. Heading south, the French Quarter in New Orleans was its usual charming pedestrian self, with tourists returning to the area for some gumbo and beignets, and our last stop in Fairhope, Alabama, was a keen reminder of what a vibrant downtown fabric can do for a community.
The underlying element of success for a city seems to be simple-- design it for people and not for cars.

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