A Love Letter to Los Angeles
By Georgia Sheridan, AICP
Manager, Systemwide Planning, LA Metro
This fall marked my 10th year in Los Angeles. I live in a small guesthouse with a pomegranate tree in the front yard and a lemon tree out back. My street is named after the golden state’s favorite fruit – avocado. A Church of Scientology sits at the end of the block in a new-to-look-old Spanish revival building. Every now and then, I receive save-the-date postcards on my car window for “purification parties.” My hair is little blonder, thanks to the California sun (and a bit of bleach), and my limbs are a little leaner, thanks to the LA yoga/hiking lifestyle.
When I started writing this note, I was sitting in a café, two seats down from the villain of the latest Ghostbusters movie. The café music was muffled by a steady din of blenders, whipping almond milk, fruit, and veggies into “Joshua Tree” and “Runyon Canyon” smoothies.
But here is where the clichés end.
LA has defied all the stereotypes I tried to tape on it. It is a place I never planned to stay, and now can’t find a good reason to leave. It is beautiful, banal, infuriating, and inspiring. Like the Hollywood dreamers it attracts, it is full of potential, and slow to reach it.
The puzzled map of 88 separate cities is in constant flux, and yet, often feels stuck in time. When we try to pinpoint the “pulse” of Los Angeles, we come up short, falling back on tired stereotypes. Its people and places are too vast and varied to squeeze into a neat tagline.
As I settle into my second decade here, I’d like to pay homage to a place that has challenged my thinking, tested my patience, and granted me interesting work, friends, and a solid supply of fun.
Below are 20 slides – LA’s greatest hits (for me) from 2006 to 2016. From new parks and public art to rehabbed buildings and free events, these projects are shifting and shaping the physical and psychological landscape.
Los Angeles has many challenges ahead – housing affordability, water, a homeless crisis, the list goes on. But, I strongly believe – the best is yet to come … and won’t it be fine.