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David Ulin:I'm going to very quickly and vestigially introduce the panelists. To my far right, Jon Christensen, whos the editor of Boom: A Journal of California, professor at UCLA. In the middle, Alice Kimm, one of the principal architects at John Freeman Alice Kimm Architects and Chairman of Undergraduate Architecture at USC, and to my immediate right, my colleague, Christopher Hawthorne, the architecture critique of the Los Angeles Times. So thisthis panel sort of grew out of something that I've noticed in my reading about Los Angeles, which is that the architecture of the city has been for 100 years or more away for outsiders to bash the city as stupid in various ways and just sort of derive the triviality or silliness of Los Angeles. I want to talk a little bit about that perception and how it's used. I also think that it's a misperception because it seems to me that the diversity of architecture and in some sense, even the steeliness of some of he architecture, the fairy tale houses, the chateaus, etc. which Nathaniel West makes fun over the opening pages of Day of the Locust is actually a symbol of the citys fundamental democratic impulse. But I'm also interested in kind of using that as a broader conversation, which we'll have about the stories that are told about the city and the stories that the city tells about itself and also the way I think in which the city is changing and developing. I love to kind of go through and have each of you talk a little bit, you know, not necessarily to provide literary criticism although you're certainly welcome to do that. But let's talk about like, those perceptions of Los Angeles and how the physical landscape. It can be the architecture, the design of the city. Louis Adamic famously called it the enormous village, how that has affected our perceptions of the city both from the odds in also how we as Angelinos think about the city. Chris, do you want to start? Christopher:Sure. Can everybody hear me? This mic is a bit low but I think it should work. I've been thinking about a lot of these issues both in terms of my own work and I've beenthe early stages of thinking about doing a new architecture, a guidebook for this day of LA because there hasnt been a new one since Charles Morris was published an ambitious nuance since Charles Morris was published in 1984. And so I've been looking back at a number of these early treatments of LA architecture going back to Adamic and Borromeo in the 1930s and Tom Vogner, the German geographer who comes here in the 30s and writes the first kind of sustained treatment of LAs built environment and then Carey McWilliams who in 1946 and we'll hear more about McWilliams from tomorrow, really grapples with these questions for the first time. And what's interesting about that treatment is that he talks a lot about that sense of improvisation in the city that everything is imported, that everything except the climate essentially is imported. So we bring architectural styles. We bring people. We bring culture. The only thing thats native really is in his telling, the light in the air, the climate itself. But even before McWilliams publishes Island on the Land in 1946, therere several decades of improvisation, innovation in the architectural world. I think what's different about LA is that it's an architecture that unlike so much of what's happening in LA, this is a city of boosters and of course self-promotion, marketing, during all of these booms, starting in the 1880s that kind of propel Los Angeles into, you know, into major cityhood. The architects themselves are not promoting themselves. They're not writing manifestos. The work that they're doing is much more about action, about that kind of improvisation and creating the building and the architecture itself. And so while the city fathers their busy marketing Los Angeles, the architects are really creating and trying to create a kind of native modern architecture starting, you know, really starting with the greens but then [???][0:04:20.5] who are sort of forging this modern LA architecture here. And so they're notbut they're not writing manifestos. They're not really grounding the work in theory. There's just so much room here to experiment and build that thats what they're spending their time doing. And I think Gill in particular is worth thinking about in this regard because he at the same time Adolf Loos in Vienna is really dramatically cutting ties with the idea of histories andthe past in architecture and really forging a new kind of modernism. Gill is doing the same thing that Louis is doing in Europe around 1910 and Louis is doing it though and also producing manifestos suggesting thatcrime really advertising his work and how radical it is. Whereas Gill is justis doing work that is just as radical in that formal break from the architectural past in an effort to produce a machine-like sort of modernism thats completely stripped and spared. Alice:So it's interesting this question about identity and Los Angeles and outsiders versus insiders. I remember coming to Los Angeles fresh out of grad school. I drove in. I just finished a road trip from Boston here and taken about 2 and half weeks and sort of driving into Los Angeles and I remember driving down like a boulevard, which, you know, when you havent seen or experienced Los Angeles and you drive down, there are particular boulevards that can really strike you as very extreme in one way or another andfor me was one of those, Lincoln Boulevard is another. And you know, my first reaction was actually relatively I would say negative. It was justI just wasnt accustomed to the kind of cardboard to use a phrase thats used a lot to describe Los Angeles architecture. I just wasnt used to it and having come from the East Coast, I was still sort of entrenched in the sort of traditional notions of what architecture is, even as an architecture student myself. And in the year since then, practicing and slowly becoming an insider within Los Angeles, my viewpoint of LA and what architecture means within the context of Los Angeles really, really changed and I think just as an example 4 years ago had an opportunity actually worked with David on this project, to work on a project where our firm had to sort of define the city of Los Angeles somehow spatially for a project thats going to be located in Mexico. So without going into details, I'll just say that I had to do a lot of research on the city and what the city really means, what does the city mean to each one of you. And one of the things that kind of kept coming up is this idea of invention and innovation and something about the city of Los Angeles as being kind of a creative environment in which innovation can happen. You know, the idea that you come to LA as an outsider as many of us do and you really are able to throw off the kind of feathers of tradition and all of the kind of preconceptions that you have about anything really and make your own way and while that makes it difficult and sure it gives rise to the kind of eclecticism that many people dont relay to or dont like. It also really gives rise to freedom, to invent, and to create. I think Christopher is also getting at that when he starts talking about Los Angeles architects and the way they view themselves. And I would also say that LA therefore as a city without center or city with multiple centers has really become a place where it's not about pieces of architecture that somehow are emblematic of the city but it's really about all these little pieces of architectural acupuncture if you will that sort of dot the city in which you can really find embedded that sense of creativity and innovation. And sometimes it falls flat on its face and thats why I think there's so much to kind of complain about Los Angeles but at other times, so many times it really rises above and somehowI think that for me is one of the ways that I kind of make sense of this topic that you're bringing to the table today. David:Jon. Jonathan:In our current issue of Boom, we have, you know, a couple of pieces reflecting on how different places in California have been used to represent different versions of the future and, you know, as we heard in the previous talk. I mean this idea that, you knowsaw the future as being in California. It is so pretty prevalent that Los Angeles is used to represent that dystopia. The bay area or Northern California is often used to represent the utopia. There's some mix of that but it's definitely, you know, it's a very, you know, kind of common trope. What I find interesting, I mean, kind of reading through your anthology and others in the literature is that there's so much disenchantment, you know, in the literature of Los Angeles and the history of Los Angeles. But there's still this enchantment, you know. So even a critic like the geographer, Edward Soja who has a new book coming out in a couple of months kind of surveying his career whos thought about a lot of about this politics of space and spatial justice. His book is called My Los Angeles. And he even ends it, you know, after seeing all of this, you know, all of what the industrialization and reindustrialization and the post-modern metropolis have rot for people who live here. Even he has a sense of enchantment of the kind ofthe reinvigoration of the right to the city. I kind ofI mean, just on this shortI kind of like to just end on that so I dont neglect to say this. I mean, did I thinkyou know, we think about writing from Los Angeles. I think were incredibly fortunate. I feel, you know, honored to be, you know, with all of you on this panel as a newcomer. But especially with Christopher Hawthorne. I mean, we have a writer who is thinking about these things in our major daily newspaper, you know, all the time and putting these issues in front of us of what is the identity of Los Angeles, how does our built environment in space and architecture fit into that. And moreover, with this history, you know, where are we going now? Were at a really important point in the history of Los Angeles and were just so fortunate to have someone in a very eloquent literary fashion in the daily newspaper putting those things in front of us. Thank you. David:Well, let's talk about that, and now you're really on the spot. I would just say quickly as in the side that I think that one of the reasons that much of the literature is about this enchantment is because most writers are disenchanted. If you actually like people, you dont sit in a room. Butthats why this is so difficult but I think that the other point I want to bring up is let's talk a little bit about that. I think Alice bringing up the idea of this city as somehow centralist or multi-centered, which is both what I found the more I think about Los Angeles is that all of theI stopped calling them clichs and I call them tropes now. All the tropes are both equally false and true, you know. So that does become a kind of way of looking at the city and dismissing itoh it's a city without a center. But it is also true. It's a multi-centered place and I thinkyou know, so I wonder to what extent does that affect the way that we think about architecture and the city as a kind of unified landscape and also to bring it back to if not literature exactly to story or narrative. What is the narrative that werewhat is the narrative that disallows us to tell about ourselves? It's only recently it seems to me that we have really begun to think as citizens of the city streets as public space, right? Traditionally, they have just been a way to get from one private location to another. Now, were starting to think about them in a new way. Were starting, you know, so I just throw this out to anywhoever wants to jump in. Christopher:I have some thoughts about that. There's a terrific book by David Brodsley that came out of 1981 called LA Freeway, which I recommend if you havent read it. It actually came out of his thesis at Santa Cruz and he went off. He's a native. Angelina went off to college at Santa Cruz and started working on her project on the freeways as a disenchanted Angelina, the kind weve been just been talking about. Thinking that he would write a kind ofa critical attack essentially on the freeways and what the freeway had done to the idea of community and the built environment in LA. But as he spent more and more time away from Los Angeles, he began to look at the freeway in a different way. Still very critical but a more new way, more clear right way and wrote this book, which is really a terrific and very subtle rumination on it. But he says a couple of important things. One is that, and this goes to the question of public and private space. I think that we are beginning to see the boulevards and the streets of the city as public again in a new way. And why thats such a profound change in the city is that the freeways have dominated not only mobility in the city but the kind of popular imagination here and outside of LA about what LA meant. So Brodsley in that book calls the freeway, the only, the great metaphor of Los Angeles and the only synecdoche that the only thing that the single part thats capable for standing inthat capable of standing in for the wholeand this is in 81. So it's just at the tail end of our great freeway-building boom. But he also says something really significant, which is that the freeway is essentially private space. The difference between a freeway and a street is that a freeway isand I agree with him. A freeway is essentially a private space and a street is a public space even if it's dominated by cars and has the capability of being transformed and being used in different ways without changing the basic design or use of it in a way that the freeway does not. So the freeway is a kind of monoculture designed for only one kind of activity-- David:Does that have to do with the accessI mean, in the sense that if you're on a street even if you're in your car, you can always pull over and park their storefrontstheir various means of entrance and exit whereas on a freeway you're locked into the freeway. Christopher:Right. So a street, by definition is for many uses. I mean, we try to turn many of our boulevards into miniature freeways in the post-war period. But it'sby design, it's made for many uses and the balance among the users can be tweaked overtime as a designer or political gesture. The freeways, the monoculture is I was saying it's designed for one and only one kind of activity and that is to get you as quickly as possible from point A to point B. And so that makes itthat as the ruling symbol or metaphor of LA in the post-war period was connected to this idea of the city being privatized in that way. So the combination of the freeway and the single-family house really set the model. And both of those things are changing. Were not building freeways. We havent really been building freeways since the 1980s. Were not in the business of building single-family houses any longer. But I think it's important as Alice said to think of the appeal of that kind of city too. I mean, there are a lot of people, writers and architects who came here, wanted to come here because it wasprecisely because it was a place where you could get away from the weight of history and you couldyou could disappear and it was deepand still is a deeply tolerant city where you can pursue a kind of individual dream. I think the question now is, this has been a city thats been so great for advance and kind of individual idea of progress or achievement and we havent been as good at advancing collective ideas about the city for a whole bunch of reasons. That would take a long time to really get into. But now that were not in the business of creating those building blocks of the citys 20th century identity, the single-family house in the freeway. Can the city begin to advance a collective idea and tell its own story in a more successful way? I think thats really the-- Jonathan:Yes about stories and narratives. I mean, I think there may be an even more or has been an even more basic kind of problem at which also has of course a literary metaphor, you know. The city of Los Angeles has been largely eligible. I mean, it's very difficult to read, let alone narrate or tell a story about it because it has been so, you know, diverse and spread out, you know, I mean those famous phrases that I tried to run down, you know. Was it 68 suburbs in search of a city or was it 70 suburbs or was it Dorothy Parker who originally said it was 19 suburbs but that was apocryphal so I finally I was like, okay, this is an interesting apocryphal. Christopher:Even the clichs are slippery in a way. Jonathan:You know, and I think that that comes across, I mean, in some of the reading, you know, in reading the literature that this city itselfit's very hard to narrate, you know, the story of the city itself. It has not had a coherent narrative. So there are possible within it, you know, this individual past through it and through the private space that is inyou know, the homes and the mysteries and all of those things. And I think as we'll see later, you know, theyll alsothe other part I think if what comes next is what comes next in this really, you know, in a sense, I mean, it's post-modern, multicultural, diverse global city of neighborhoods and cities within cities of very rich, you know, very rich stories and cultures and thats what's been, you know, fascinating too kind of see and discover how thats happening. David Ulin:Well, this raises a really interesting point because one of my contentions is long been that thereI mean, that there is no overarching narrative or through linenot necessarily that there is to any city but that you can make a case, you know, you could say for instance there is, you know, a novel like let say Bonfire of the Vanities or Manhattan Transfer that tries to encapsulate a sort of a New York sensibility or Augie March or Studs Long in for Chicago or even Tales of the City for San Francisco. But Los Angeles doesnt really have that kind of novel and by in large the people who have tried to write the big overarching all encompassing story have failed because it's too much. I often think of the metaphor of not being able to see Los Angeles. I mean, you know, you really have to climb above it to actually see it. And when you see it, what you see again, I think it is neighborhoods and it is sprawl and a sprawl is very difficult to define or wrap your mind around. So what to extent, I mean, this is not just a literary question but also a kind of cultural question. To what extent does that sort of the indefinability? I also think about the idea that, you know, within the borders of Los Angeles, I mean, surrounded on all 4 sides are all of these independent municipalities called city, Inglewood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica. I mean, what is the kind of amorphousness the question of what is Los Angeles or the difficulty of answering the question. How does that play a part in all of this? Alice:Or is that reallyI mean, is that really a necessary thing. Is it really necessary to find some kind of a unifying framework? I mean, as a designer, as an architect, you know, were given a project and even if were looking at the overall kind of larger context of perhaps the city or Los Angeles where still of honing down on those neighborhoods on those pockets, the cities within cities. And when I try to think about books or novels that I've read about Los Angeles and the ones that I keep going back towards, they always are concentrated maybe perhaps on a neighborhood. I mean, were reading age of dreaming right nowbefore and that takes place in a very particular timeframe within a particular context. And then I think of novels that are more about Los Angeles as a whole, Joan Didion played as Lays and it's notit ends up not beingI mean, even though it uses the freeway as sort of a vehicle. It's not really about the cityit's not trying to define the city. It's more capturing kind of an attitude maybe about the city. So I dont know how important the question is or how necessary it is to look for that unifying framework whether literary or architectural or otherwise for the city. Jonathan:So Ed Soja and this new book thats coming up, My Los Angeles, I likeit's half a dozen, maybe a dozen pages just trying to figure out that question and I'm, you know, kind of notthere are so many different definitions of what is Los Angeles that even, you know, a great, you know, a great geographer has a hard time, you know, answering it but instead says it's something that has multiple facets and multiple answers. Id be curious to hear Chris, your thoughts becauseI mean, it do becomes important when you're trying to narrate a transition like where have we been in the past and where are we going and I kind of, you know, seethats something that you're doing and, you know, the Mayor is trying to do as the Mayor of Los Angeles in concert with 88 other mayors or whatever it might be, you know Christopher:I think the eligible quality of Los Angeles is actually one my favorite things. I love how slippery it is and in fact another way to put it is I love how ruthless Los Angeles is in exposing lazy takes on it. So more than any other city I know, Los Angeles does is both encourages people who dont really understand it, to think that they can define it after just being here for a few months and then ruthlessly exposes how short-sided that take is. And thatif there's one thing I did when I got here was to not jump on too many soap boxes too early because I had Red McWilliams who said it took him 7 years and he said the shorthand in that book is it takes 10 years to go from being a newcomer to being a native. Everybody has a timeframe that they think it takes and that timeframe is certainly longer here than most other cities. So I love that it's difficult to figure out. I love that the leading trope or clich about the cities, how superficial it is and in fact how difficult it is to get any kind of grasp on it and how it does expose people who try, you know, after 4 to 5 months to think they can write the definitive essay on LA and that continues to happen, thats the remarkable thing. But I think even as Alice makes a good point in saying that maybe we dont need to have a definitive take, I think it's important that we keep trying and I think the books that continue to stand out for me in this cannon of books on architecture and the built environment her just limiting it to that and now taking on the world of fiction too. For me, the books that stand out are the books that tried to wrap their arms around the entire thing and had some measure of success. So for me, thats McWilliams and 46, it's Reyner Banham, 71 with 4 ecologies and Mike Davis, City of Courts in 1990s. So even though each of those books in its way. I think particularly City of Courts is flawed. The attempt to kind of tell the whole story of the city, we reserve a special place in the cannon for people that have even a modest measure of success in doing that. But it is incredibly difficult and we havent had a book that tried really since Mike Davis. I'll be curious read Sojas new book and see what thoughts it has on that topic but...so I think the people that make that attempt, as difficult as it is, we have a special kind of respect for those books. And you're right, they're not too many of them. David Ulin:But what do we think about where we are and where were going? I think there is very much being a shift in some way towards a perception of public space as were talking about towards the development of public architecture going back to Disney Hall and you know, some of the other buildings, the Cathedral, the DWP building, etc. sort of interesting public architecture which was never at least in my estimation of function, a real aspect of Los Angeles, right? But the interesting architecture was always private or generally private. What are some of those shifts that you guys have observed and what do they signify again in terms of the bigger story or the series of smaller stories that the city is telling about itself? Does anyone Jonathan:I'm kind of curious because in my reading, I mean, it seemsand I love to, you know, hear differently that most of what I read and I read a lot of non-fiction, you know, as a historian. I do read some fiction. I wish I read more. But even the fiction, I think in some ways is still coming out of this era of the post riot Los Angeles, the period in which deindustrialization was happening, you know, had happened. Reindustrialization, the kind of new economy that was more dispersed and all was more happening. There was a lot of, you know, a lot of pain in thatin those economic and spatial adjustments and you know, thatthere was a lot of pain in the city and that era to me seems to have really lasted, you know, uppartly with I think, you know, there was maybe some hope around thebut you know, a lot of disillusion meant kind ofso that era sort of lasted up into the recession. Weve been through the recession. Were looking at maybe what comes next and we dont know. You know, which is partly why I think it's so important and interesting the kind of writing, you know, that Chris is doing, you know, the kinds of things that are happening and you knowactual things in architecture and you know, the mayor is talking about too is that we arewe dont know but, you know, and I recently did the thing I was not supposed to do after only a year and half ago and wrote them a big essay on, you know, called Brave New LA, about LA is becoming a model for sustainability and the American west. You know, and took a lot of flack for it but I think it's important, you know, for us right now to have these conversations because cities change very slowly. But were at a period I think where some different patterns can be said and they will be set I think culturally as much as politically and economically and you know, in thewith what we build but also how we use what's there. David Ulin:And generationally too I think, right? In terms of how younger residents of the city are using public transportation for instance in ways that more setting their ways, residents are not, you know, the way that the usageit's not just the availability but also the usage of these things begins to be a way that the city transforms itself, right? Christopher:I think the future in questions are reallyis a really key one because I think there is a sense, this is what makes it such a fascinating time to be writing about LA, a sense that there's a lot up for grabs at the moment. There's no other American city that I can think of that is facing so many basic, even existential questions about what kind of place it's going to be. David Ulin:Can you articulate what you think some of those questions are? Christopher:Sure. I think the city that had been so deeply privatized, that had been organized at least in the second half of the 20th century around a kind of private mobility and a kind of private residential architecture and as you said, most of the great landmarks are in the private sphere. If you made a list of the hundred most important buildings, a much higher percentage of those would be single-family houses here than in any other city that I can think of. So now that weve reached the end of that era, we have probably past speed car. Weve run out of room to build freeways or single-family houses and we have to kind of reassess how towhat that means for the city that had been so organized around these privatized experiences. And part of that is learning that to go forward, we have to look back pre-freeway and realize that there is a great history of multi-family housing here by architects like Gill and Neutra and Schindler and others courtyard apartment even by craftsman architects, that there is a great history of transportation here, the streetcars. There was a time when we had, even though it was privately run, we have the most significant mass transit system in the country, if not, one of the most in the world. So it's not just about future as abut I think what's changed is thatthe other transition is the city has becoming more settled. There are some significant demographic changes that are happening that are important. This city is becoming grayer. It's becoming older. And immigration has significantly slowed down. By most measures, immigration peaked around 1990. And the immigrants that are here are more settled. They're more financially stable. The new immigrants who do comethis is still a city of immigration but the immigrants who come, there a few of them, and they find that they have a richer support system because the immigrants who came before are now settled in the way that wasnt true in other periods of foreign immigration. I've been thinking about these issues because I'm working now a series on architecture and immigration. I've been thinking about these issues. So if the city is more settled than older and more public and more interesting in gathering in public space and looking for enough-- David Ulin:And more native, right? In the sense that you got more multi-generational families, more people who were born and raised here so they are notthey're not newcomers. Christopher:We now have a native-born population, majority native-born population for the first time in many, many decades. So all those things combine to meanI think the question is what does that mean for the architecture of a city that has been so connected to experimentation, innovation. I was looking back at this great Charles Jencks book, which just came out in 93 right after the riot. So one of the first books to look at the LA School of Architects, it's called Heteropolis. So it's a study of Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne, Michael Rotondi, Franklin Israel, Eric Owen Moss, those architects who we now think of as the LA School, and it was a kind of book into City of Courts and much more optimistic about what was happening in the first. Another attempt by an outside critic to sort of say there's important architecture going on here. But he talks a lot about this notion of the city being a place for experimentation but of a particular kind and I was really struck by the Sam Waters quote from the LA Times about Gertrude Stein, the question of whether its profound seriousness or whether she has her tongue in her cheek, right? And that isI agree with Sam, thats an LA attitude, the combination of the two because of course thats what Gertrude Stein was doing. She was doing both of those at the same time and what Jencks finds in the work of these architects is both of theand thats always the question people have asked about Frank Gehry, right? Is he joking? Is his tongue in his cheek or is this serious ambitious architectureand Charles Jencks said it's both and he talked about the architects of that group beingproducing kind of carefully careless architecture and saying that it takes a lot attention to detail towhat is the phrase? Oh the depth collision that he sees in thisin the works of these architects and it's actually a lot tougher to pull off than it appears. But he talksso the question is, he talks a lot about a DIY culture and that the architecture being a Do it yourself kind of culture. Now the question is, as the city gets more public, as we run out of room for those private experiments, what does that mean for the architecture of the public space. You can't do a DIY subway. You can't do a DIY, you know, and so what weve had David Ulin:The Hayden Tract can only exist-- Christopher:Exactly. So what's so important and interesting about this moment is there are a lot of experiments that have captured that interest and carried it through to a more public LA-- David Ulin:Alice, as the architect on the panel, what do you think? Alice:Well, actually, I kept thinking about how technology actually plays into all of this. A lot of the things that you just said about Do it yourself architecture in the way buildings are put together in the way they used to be put together by architects such as Gehry and Mayne. You know, all that is also shifting because of advances in technology, which have, you know, completely filtered into construction and design industries and is really changing the way you build things. And so I guess one of the questions also is we move into kind of a more public scale is alsodoes that also mean that we move into a more sort of uniformed, you know, kind of city making. You talked about sustainability or you brought up the issue sustainability but the whole notion of performance as it ties into transportation and infrastructure and how we build things in the future, I jus think is very interesting. So how does technology play into the definition of the city and the look of the city and the form of the city and the scale of course of the city? Christopher:It's a really important question and one I've been thinking a lot aboutI think there was so much discussion about what architecture that was digitally produced would look like in the last couple of decades. Remember 10 years ago, there was a lot of talk about blobby architecture and blobitecture and what this kind of digitally produced architecture would look like, and I think what's changed and I think were finally starting to realize this, because of this incredible technological revolution, digital revolution, is what's changes not how buildings look as much as how we look at buildings. So thats totally shifted. So how we navigate the city, how we move through the city thanks to Google Maps and street view, how we look at architecture off and on screen and from the top down rather than physically entering a building, how we, you know, there's this kind of effortless way that we can map our own roots to the city, which has some significant implications for LA, which has always been a placeas Jon said that you have to go out and find, you have to go to find in your own way. It doesnt present itself to you in a really easy way. So I think theand then the other issue for me in terms of technology is just screens. I mean, this isnt LA, this isnt specific to LA but I think there's really a significant shift in how many layers of screen stand between us and the buildings were looking at in the built environment. So most of us, and this is very true of herit's veryI mean, what's nice about the movie is that it's not utopian or dystopian. It's the way all cities are, which is to say a mix of all those things and there's a lot to be worried about. There's a critique of the kind of alienation that comes with staring at your phone but there's also a sense of the city has figured out its urban design problems and is much more connected and figured out this question of density. So the screened question is really significant I think for architecture. I dont think critics or architects have grappled with it enough yet. So we have this phone in front of us and thats one screen and then there are televisions and other kinds of digital screens everywhere. And then buildings themselves are more and more covered by screens and that raises some really exciting possibilities, the idea that the faade of a building could be refreshed, could be constantly changed that the skyline of the city could change in the way that the digital content of all of our screens, our own personal screens and tablets changes but it also means that this idea of a fixed architecture of a city is very much or will be perhaps in question. So it'll be interesting to see how Los Angeles architects respond to that. But I think so for me to get back to the movie, her was significant because it did shift our gaze forward at a time when it's so easy to pick up cultural inspiration from the past and also particular in terms of LA, the city has been in some very positive ways, grappling with its own architectural history much more dramatically in the last 5 years or so. So the Getty series of shows, the pacific standard time present shows on LA architecture where a new way to kind of put many decades of architectural production into some kind of historical context and there's a sense that the city is looking backward more intelligently but also more directly. So given that the city has this great history of innovation and experimentation, I like the fact that the spectrums in the film kind of shift our gaze into the future. And I think thats what to get back to your question about futures and thats a really important thing. How can we take the innovation experimentation invention that had animated mostly private architecture here and apply it to these questions about the public spaces of the city? So thats one of the ways I'm thinking about this guidebook project is guidebooks have typically been historically minded by definition. They take stock of a citys architectural production up to a certain point of their backward looking. I'm really interested in whether you could have a guidebook that has a few moments of turning the gates forward and saying, here's some key spots in the city and let's revive this idea of speculation, speculative architectural production and apply to places around this city and say what could happen here, because as the city has gotten denser and more crowded, it's been very easy to say no to a lot of things. We have a culture that promotes a kind of that idea of nimbyism of saying no to things and architects and critics. I put myself in this group. We havent done a good enough job at saying, here are the waysand the movie actually does thisto a degreesaying, here are the ways that this kind of mobility, new kinds of connection even density itself can change the way we live for the better and can offer some opportunities rather than saying were going to turn into Manhattan every time we want to build a skyscraper and were going to lose sight of what makes Los Angeleswhat has always made it appealing. So if we can kind of turn that energy, that speculative energy forward and look at the public spaces of the city, I think that will pay some significant dividends. Thats a politically tricky thing. David Ulin:So were almost out of time but I want to throw one last question out for all of you, which sort of, hopefully will deftly summarize everything weve talked about and leave people with an exciting takeaway. Anyway, here's the question. I'm just thinking about the last couple of comments. On the one hand, were talkingAlice was talking about sort of uniformed city making or the risk of uniformed city making, which I think is a risk of a city as it becomes more established. One of the things that were talking about is Los Angeles as a landscape as both a cultural landscape and a physical landscape has more of a weight of history behind itI mean, write the way the history cruise everyday. So now were looking at a city that has a century plus of cityhood rather than 20 or 30 years of cityhood where we can't really expand much more, that sprawl has sort of hit its limit, whereas Chris said were not building freeways or single-family houses in the same way. And that sort of pushes, maybe reduces LA exceptionalism in some sense and makes LA more like another city or more like other cities. At the same time I think this notion of the mediated city or technology plugs into what is also I think both a truth and a clich of LA which is that sense of innovation or reinvention. The idea that we dont bring the weight of history to bear here that we can reinvent the future but whether on a personal or a collective level. So those 2 ideas seem both contradictory to me and also possibly, you know, coexistable in some sense and I'm just curious what you guys think about that. Are we looking at Los Angeles becoming and the stories that we tell about Los Angeles becoming more like other cities, more uniformed city making or is that culture and history of innovation of technology of reinvention likely to be more prominent or prevalent. Anyone want to jump? Anyone want to jump in? Christopher:I think it is a really complicated layered set of questions and I think it always has been and I think, as you're saying, it's important to both accept the power of those clichs and begin to take them apart a little bit. I think Union Station is a great example of that just an individual building. Alice:I guess I still keep going back to this idea of, you know, the expectation of what architecture or what a city actually looks like and going back to this notion of technology and what it's really doing because I think that kind ofthe increasing uniformity of cities is not so much a function of looking at how or wanting things to look a certain way, you know, you want everything to look like your iPhone. But I think it really is truly becoming a function of how it's made and how technology sort of ties into that every level down to that last bolt and I think soI dont think we can escape the kind of uniformity thats kind of coming. So then I wonder what role culture will really play in allowing individuality and heterogeneity really still exist between or you know, to set cities apart from one another and cultures apart from one another. And you know, so those are really complicated questions and then I think about, you know, the actual delivery systems for buildings and large projects that make big public spaces and cities today and they're becoming more and more developer-driven. They're becoming more and more contractor-driven and design-built and all of these things, and you know, it's all very, very kind of this complex sort of big moving machine and I think as an architect, you know, one of the things were always discussing amongst ourselves is, you know, how on earth are going to maintain any sort of relevance, you know, as designers, as people who really care about the environment and how its shaped and you know, we really see our job as kind of reflect or being a reflection of what the kind of direction you might want to be and being kind of pro moving it in that direction. Jonathan:Science fiction is going to be the literature, you know, that is really going to be able to grasp these stories and narratives and I think help us think through them. You know, were living in, you know, the urban century globally. The population growth, you know, on the planet from 7-9 billion people that those 2 billion people are going to all affectively end up in cities, the urban built environment on the planet is going to double in the next, you know, 30 or 40 years and how that happens is going to fundamentally shape how people live with each other and how they live with nature and you know, in that sense, LA is facing the same challenge that every city and you know, particularly the big mega cities of the world are facing. So there will be a lot of commonalities as we try to figure out what does sustainability mean and what sustainability mean in a world of inequality thats unsustainable. These are the big, huge challenges, you know, of our times and of our children and grandchildrens times. You know, I think thatbut I think in a city like LA, it's not going to be a top down solution. I mean, as much as, you know, as much as Christopher could help us think this through in the daily newspaper as the mayor, you know, can have a vision, you know. Were still a city of cities and 88 cities and you know, neighborhoods within neighborhoods and street by street. David Ulin:House by house. Jonathan:House by house is how it's going to be figured out and played out. David Ulin:Okay. So it's up to you guys. I think thats a perfect place to end. Id like to thank the panel, Jon Christenson, Alice Kim, Christopher Hawthorne. Thanks guys. That was really interesting. [Applause]