In the Amazon Jungle or a California Subdivision, Sometimes Less Infrastructure Is More

Using Localized “Min-Frastructure” Prevents Costly Runaway Urban Sprawl

The need for more infrastructure is one of the few areas of genuine bipartisan consensus in the United States. But my experiences working in two rapidly urbanizing regions outside this country have led me to wonder whether there may already be too much of it.

Infrastructure is a double-edged sword. For every case in which it is desperately needed, there is another case in which it enables the rapid proliferation of urban expansion and its domino effect of deleterious land use practices.

One project in Ecuador, with which I’ve been involved over …

Trains Are Not the Silver Bullet

A Successful Rail System in L.A. Has to Help People to Get to Work, Complement Existing Bus Routes, and Serve 1,000,000 Riders a Day.

Trains and rail are inseparable from California’s past. When Leland Stanford hammered “The Golden Spike” in an 1869 ceremony in Utah, he united the first transcontinental railway in the U.S.—and …

Are Walkable Neighborhoods and Bike Lanes Only for the Creative Class?

Urban Planners Are Trying to Make Streets Safer and More Accessible. But Unfortunately Not for Everyone.

The “Complete Streets” concept in urban planning and design has been hailed as nothing less than a revolution. “North America is on the verge of a new paradigm,” writes Mobility …

What Can Downtown L.A. Do for Southern California?

The Dense, Cosmopolitan Neighborhood Already Offers Great Art and Food. Now It Needs to Ease Pressures on the Working Poor and Be More Inclusive.

When the Ace Hotel opened downtown in early 2014, a billboard announced its arrival with two simple words: “Hello LA.” The sign epitomizes a revitalized downtown Los Angeles intent on …

Architect Qingyun Ma

The USC Dean Loves Downtown and Breakfast Burritos; Texting and Air China Not-So-Much

Architect Qingyun Ma is a curator, winemaker, and dean of the University of Southern California School of Architecture. He is also the founder of architecture firm MADA s.p.a.m., which has …

Architecture Does Matter—Even In Crazy L.A.

But How To Use It For Our Benefit Is Another Question

We accord both architects and their buildings celebrity status, but how much do blueprints ultimately influence the way we live or the way our cities develop? Architects, planners, designers, and …