A Funeral Oration for the California Parking Lot

There’s Honor in Anti-Parking Policies—But Killing Off-Street Spaces Also Means Losing Local Revenue, Gathering Spaces, and More

Friends, Californians, fellow drivers, stop honking your horns and lend me your ears.

I come to bury California’s parking lots, not to praise them.

The evil that abundant parking spaces do lives long after the ground is paved over.

So say the honorable officials and wise engineers of California. They tell us that parking consumes huge amounts of property that might be used more productively for business, housing, or transit infrastructure like bus or bike lanes. In L.A. County alone, parking covers 200 square miles. Most parking spaces are empty most of …

A Park for Everyone Offers a ‘Vision of What California Might Be’  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Park for Everyone Offers a ‘Vision of What California Might Be’ 

In Praise of Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, an L.A. Gem That Contains Multitudes

It was tricky to get out of the house while the state was under the latest stay-at-home order, much less to find public places that offered both ample social distance …

In Search of ‘the Commons’ in Modern America | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Search of ‘the Commons’ in Modern America

My Rhode Island Town Has Had a Communal Green Since 1694, but Today’s Public Spaces Are Complicated and Splintered

Zócalo’s editors are diving into our archives and throwing it back to some of our favorite pieces. This week: Historian Steven Lubar searches for …

A Short History of the Idea of ‘Main Street’ in America

From Nathaniel Hawthorne to Disneyland, the Concept Has Represented Both the Experimental and the Conventional

In the United States, Main Street has always been two things—a place and an idea. As both, Main Street has embodied the contradictions of the country itself.

It is …

Democracy Strikes out at Dodger Stadium

The L.A. Ballpark Was a Diverse and Inclusive Public Space. Then Prices Took a Bad Hop.

When Los Angeles Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley opened Dodger Stadium on April 10, 1962, his ticket price structure was simple, straightforward, and inexpensive: $3.50 for box seats, $2.50 for reserved …

How Playing in the Park After Dark Unifies South L.A.

Summer Night Lights Reclaimed Public Space From Gangs and Started a Beloved Community Tradition

This summer, 32 parks around Los Angeles—many located in South L.A.—will stay open until 11 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

This is Summer Night Lights, one of L.A.’s most popular …