This documents the National AIA Regional Urban Design Conference “Restructuring Urbanisms: the Next L.A.,” held February 10-13, 1994, at Shutters Hotel, Santa Monica.
Aaron Betsky is introduced as the moderator of a panel on public space in Los Angeles. He begins by detailing his objections to many of the assumptions contained in the phrase “public space. He introduces the other panelists: Pamela Burton, Brenda Funches, William Fain, and Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe. Pamela Burton proposes attention to psychological aspects of open space as the most appropriate response to contemporary cycles of natural disasters and social conflict. Brenda Funches describes how L.A. Harvest develops community gardens in vacant lots to encourage healthy eating, reconnect urban populations with nature, and create public spaces that are safe. William Fain argues that, contrary to the received wisdom, Los Angeles has a tradition of significant public space. He discusses the possibility of landscaping rail corridors as usable public spaces throughout the city. Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe analyses the unique qualities of Los Angeles, especially its light, and its impact on art made there. He notes that the experience most people have of Los Angeles is complicated by the ubiquity of representations in the movies.