2016 Year in Review

For me, it was another busy year here at the intersection of journalism and urbanism.

Those of you who pay rent in California know 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.

In the course of my journalistic wanderings, I couldn’t help but develop a few opinions and throw out a few ideas for posterity and debate. 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.

Authors far more accomplished than I am produced a wealth of reading material this year. I lament that I wasn’t able to read every book that came to me, but many of the ones I read were fantastic. I was honored 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 showat 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 intertwined and 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, of course, 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.

Happy reading, and here’s to a newsworthy 2017.

California & Los Angeles
Points Beyond
Commentary & Opinion: Decision 2016
Commentary & Opinion: Everything Else
Book Reviews — with Some Art for Good Measure