Everyone who pays rent in California knows that the housing crisis truly came to fruition this year. It influenced nearly every story I wrote. Very close to home, we opened a Phase 2 of the Expo Line and are facing a certain disruptive ballot measure. Statewide and worldwide, cities are focusing on resilience.
Further afield, I visited Los Angeles’ kindred spirit, Houston, to find out how what it is doing to become the city of the future. I covered two national trends, the so-called YIMBY movement, and the traffic safety movement Vision Zero, which grew out of a local story I wrote last year on the LA Mobility Plan.
I couldn’t help but develop a few opinions. I know I’m not supposed to read the comments, but a reader recently accused me of “spitballing.” Well, sometimes that’s exactly what I’m doing. A certain election got me fired up too.
I lament that I wasn’t able to read every book that came to me, but many of the ones I read were fantastic (some not). I was pleased to recognize the author who inspired me, and probably many of you, on the 100th anniversary of her birth. I got a rare opportunity to review an art exhibit, the Ed Ruscha show at the De Young, enabling me to make a point that I have always held dear: the whimsy of art and the solidity of cities are essential to each other.
In total, I’ve written more articles this year than I can remember, including some that I probably don’t want to remember. But, it’s been a good year, and I’ve included highlights below (with many more posted at joshrstephens.com).
I was also honored to lead the Westside Urban Forum as its board president this year, organizing some dozen events this year and, hopefully, elevating the discussion about land use in L.A.
I thank all of you for your support, criticism, good humor, and newsworthiness, with special thanks to all of my editors — especially to Bill Fulton at CP&DR — who gave me such great opportunities this year.
Most importantly, whether or not you read my stuff, and whether or not you subscribe to CP&DR or take classes via Planetizen, this year I hope you will support journalism as robustly as your budgets and attention spans will allow. The more certain factions attack journalism in this new “post-truth” culture, the more important it becomes.
Selected Works from 2016
California & Los Angeles
- Revamp of Fresno Plans, Zoning Code Aims to Create “Next Great American Downtown”
- Governor’s Housing Proposal Faces Stiff Opposition
- Rent Control Gains Traction Amid Housing Crisis in Bay Area
- OpEd: Expo Line
- Social Justice, Regional Economics at Odds in Downtown Oakland Plan
- California Cities Join Global Urban Resilience Movement
- Using Tuolumne Tactic, Moreno Valley Approves Development of 40 Million Square Feet
- Second-Generation SCSs Focus on Incremental Change
- Why Winning Park Design Is a Win for Los Angeles
- Ballot Initiative Takes Aim at Planning in Los Angeles
- New Faces in Long Beach
- Life After Wartime
- “YIMBY” Movement Heats Up in Boulder
- The Houston Townhouse: An Appreciation
- Cities Zero In On Road Safety
- A Philadelphia Solution to California’s Housing Woes
- What If Houston Fell in Love With Planning
- Columbus Bucks Trends, Grows Steadily
- What is Houston Doing Right and Wrong When it Comes to Development?
Commentary & Opinion: Decision 2016
- L.A. Metro’s Prop. 13-Driven Christmas Tree
- Renters vs. Tenants: A Distinction with a Difference
- Jane Jacobs: 100 and Timeless as Ever
- Hyperloop and Hyperbole