Colin Marshall sits down before a live audience at the New Urbanism Film Festival at Los Angeles’ ACME Theater with Tim Halbur, Director of Communications at the Congress for the New Urbanism, former Managing Editor at Planetizen, creator of the two-disc DVD set The Story of Sprawl, and author of the children’s urban planning book Where Things Are from Near to Far. They discuss the anti-Los Angeles indoctrination he received in San Francisco, and what that indoctrination might have had right; the two “nodes” of Hollywood and the beach that outsiders tend to recognize in Los Angeles, and why people claim to live here even when they live thirty miles away; why cities actually build for the car aren’t as often derided as “built for the car”; the hard-to-place unease we grew up with in the suburbs; his past producing museum audio tours, and how he would produce an audio tour of Los Angeles that navigates by subcultures; whether Los Angeles is too big, and what it means that we continually try to define and connect it all; what the Congress for the New Urbanism does, and how it addresses the way we once “carved out” our cities for parking lots and freeways; the Jetsonian vision of the future that carried us away after the Second World War; what Disneyland gets right about urbanism; the constant change that defines a living city, and San Francisco’s unhappy experience trying to halt it; the Beverly Hills 90210 model of denser-than-suburbia living he found in Los Angeles; his weekly commute to the CNU in Chicago, and what he learns from living in these two quite different cities at once; how he’d like to see Los Angeles change in the next ten years; how Eric Brightwell‘s neighborhood maps surprise people, and what that means for neighborhood awareness; and the importance of “theming” urban places.
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