Eli Broad, Urbanist

The great irony of the philanthropist’s life was that he made his billions on sprawl — and then poured it into making Los Angeles a more urban city.

Surplus Land Act Upends Public Agency Development Plans

According to the Surplus Land Act (SLA), a relatively new state law whose implementing guidelines went into effect in January, all of these properties must be made available to affordable housing developers first. While state officials defend the guidelines, the landowning agencies say the law will undermine their vision for the property – and maybe even hinder their ability to build the affordable housing that the law seeks to create.

The Phony Debate Over Wall Street and the Housing Crisis

Over the past few years, concerns about “Wall Street ownership” of houses in California has grown increasingly serious, with the The Blackstone Group being the poster child for a handful of finance companies that buy up single-family homes, often in disadvantaged areas, only to kick out tenants and increase rents.

Updated Cal EnviroScreen Will Improve State’s EJ Efforts

In March, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released the draft of its fourth iteration of CalEnviroScreen (CES). First released in 2013, CES is a database of environmental hazards that forms the basis of myriad state and local efforts to limit human exposure and strive for environmental justice.

SCAG Shoots Down RHNA Appeals

Many housing advocates considered the assignment of 1.3 million new housing units to Southern California via 2019’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation process to be a serious win. It was followed up by an intra-regional allocation process that weighted units toward high-cost, high-demand coastal cities, for another win. Last month, they scored a few more wins — 50 to be exact.

The Rise of Zoomtowns

While many in the state do not have the means to pick and choose exactly where they want to live, the combination of remote work and pandemic ennui has prompted untold numbers of well-off urban Californians to retreat to suburbs and to exurban “Zoomtowns.”

2020: A Year Like No Other

2020 unexpectedly generated more writing about urban planning in the mainstream media than any other year in recent memory. And not for pleasant reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic brought urban life to a halt, inspiring news articles and photo essays about newly desolate streets, strained finances, and imperiled businesses.

Sexism and the City

Leslie Kern’s new book Feminist City will likely ring familiar with women planners — and provide male planners crucial insights for making cities more welcoming and equitable for everyone