5 Hot Topics for Los Angeles Downtown Dwellers

Living in Downtown Los Angeles is full of highs and lows, excitement and frustration. With more than 30,000 residents already in the community and thousands more waiting to move in, issues are bound to arise. This year, expect these five topics to be discussed over the dinner table.

Social and Education Services
Pre-schools, Schools and Community services

Commercial Space and Events
City needs more shopping and large department stores especially a Target and a large bookstore.  Downtown also needs restaurants to bring dining into the city after hours. Also needed are festivals and weekly events such as markets.

Clean & Safe
LA Downtown needs to become cleaner and safer although the last 5 years have been an improvement.

Neighborhood Watch
Increase funding and community involvement in this powerful deterent to crime and making people feel safe in Downtown

Taxis and Transit
Freedom for taxi drivers to pick up in any area of Downtown not designated areas, increasing bus services and also the return of the Red Trolley.

Summary of Kathryn Maese article from Los Angeles Downtown News

Amsterdam neoliberal city?

Amsterdam is investing hundreds of millions of euros in the Zuidas, the new business district south of the city (corporations will also invest in the project, but if it fails, their losses will be compensated with taxpayers’ money). Despite the scale of the project, there has been almost no public debate. Decision-making is an opaque process dominated by government officials, banks and other potential investors.

Nieuws uit Amsterdam.

Face-lifting Beijing stops to retrieve its ancient flavor

How to protect Beijing as an ancient city, or is it necessary to protect it at all, has been under debate by officials and experts for over 60 years, during which fancy buildings mushroomed in the 62.5-square-kilometer area, while gray brick residential houses collapsed before bulldozers in a facelift frenzy, along with the memories they carried down through generations.

According to a report by the official People’s Daily in January2007, about 500 Hutongs still survived, in comparison to the more than 3,000 in early 1980s.

Local officials marked out 25 areas in the inner city in 2002 where traditional houses and alleys will be preserved, and later expanded to 33, accounting for 29 percent of the inner city.

Although real estate developers built some courtyard-styled houses, the sale goes very slow.

“Those ‘fake cultural heritages’ are too costly for local residents,” said Xu Pingfang, 77-year-old renowned professor of archaeology and director of the China Archaeological Society, “while Beijingers are forced out and the houses are purchased by new-riches, Beijing is losing its flavor.”

Feature: Face-lifting Beijing stops to retrieve its ancient flavor _English_Xinhua.

Creating Inspirational Spaces: A Guide to Quality Public Realm in the Northwest

Creating Inspirational Spaces: A Guide for Quality Public Realm in the Northwest has been produced by Gillespies on behalf of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and RENEW Northwest, and forms part of the wider Places Matter! programme co-ordinated by RENEW Northwest.

Creating Inspirational Spaces: A Guide to Quality Public Realm in the Northwest – Landscape Institute– UK

A Borrowed Place on Borrowed Time

In Hong Kong, where land for construction is scarce and commerce has long ruled, preservation has usually given way to a tide of urban development. Few of the British expatriates and Chinese immigrants who came to the city with the moniker “borrowed place, borrowed time” saw it as a permanent home. But since the territory was returned to Chinese rule from Britain in 1997, its local identity has come to the forefront and heritage conservation has taken on the overtones of a populist struggle.
Rendering of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s proposal for the Central Police Station (inset) and Victoria Prison

Recently battles have been waged over buildings that in most cities would have little historical appeal. In the past year, the demolition of two 1950s ferry terminals to make way for a highway and commercial property developments spurred demonstrations, hunger strikes and arrests.

“These recent heritage battles represent a desperate search for a cultural anchor,” says Lee Ho Yin, director of the architectural conservation program at the University of Hong Kong. “It’s part of Hong Kong people seeking their own identity and roots.”

A Borrowed Place on Borrowed Time – WallStreetJournal.com.

New York Market – but Where?

KIM SEVERSON looks at the quandry facing New York of where to place a permanent food market. Kim looks at Greenmarkets and locations in New York that could satisfy the need and hunger for a market in the Big Apple.

Hungary for a Market, But Where? – New York Times

Calgary – a city looking to the future

Calgary is looking towards the future when in 2035 some 70,000 people will live in the downtown core and in 2025, 180,000 people will work there. Calgary is an Winter Olympic host city that is planning its future and looking towards international and national examples of good and bad developments.

Calgary needs to develop into city with an exciting downtown core with life and activity. However it needs to mix the uses of the city and not dedicate areas to one use activities. It needs to mix the civic, cultural, commercial, urban and green uses to make a dynamic urban environment to serve the new and existing population in Calgary.

Also Calgary needs to invest more sustainable infrastructure for transport and also expand the +15 network so that the new residents of the downtown core can move from home to workplace to afterwork activities easily.

Lets hope the City, Developers, Retails and the people of Calgary can capitalise on this new vision.

Article inspired by Planners envision vibrant makeover’ – by Mario Toneguzzi – Calgary Herald

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