AAG Article: Los Angeles, the Improbably Sustainable City

This spring several CCSC researchers will present their work at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. CCSC Director Stephanie Pincetl was asked to write an article about Los Angeles, the improbably sustainable city:

To many, even Angelenos, Los Angeles is the poster child of all that is unsustainable. Sprawling, polluted, car dependent, center-less, the importer of water, devoid of culture and urbanity, Los Angeles is seen as the antithesis of a sustainable city. But some basic indicators show how Los Angeles, and its surrounding county, may now be different from the stereotypes. There are surprising attributes of its urban form, products of the 20th century urban boom and restless ambition. While not a high-rise city like Tokyo or even parts of Sao Paolo, Los Angeles is the densest metropolitan region in the United States. Its form and morphology are such that sustainability infrastructure can be deployed: distributed generation for electricity, and the land capacity for storage; room for urban farming and water reinfiltration projects, land for more small and large parks, and greening. Further densification is possible, too, and if implemented delicately and artfully, will further the goal of beautiful, transit-friendly, walkable neighborhoods that support vibrant communities and businesses at all scales. Yet homeowner associations actively oppose any increase in density in single-family zones, a common problem in many cities that impedes further sustainability success.


To continue reading, please click here to view the full article on the AAG website.