As cities densify across the world, local planning arguments ensue about the appropriate process of and balance of interests for redevelopment. Emotional debates about the “wicked problem” of urban design (a term introduced by the design theorist Horst Rittel in relation to American city planning in the 1960s to define the complexity of social and urban planning) stem from conflicting demands within layered and overlapping domains of interest, with varying evaluation criteria.
Like many American cities, Los Angeles has been segregated for decades along ethnic and income lines. Over the years, communities and urban morphologies have come to reflect this organic zoning, providing “character” and identity to districts. When the redevelopment of districts is in discussion, the expectations of various stakeholders and their drivers differ wildly. While developers primarily think about financial yields, architects approach the subject through morphological types, and urban designers through context. Different types of densities need resolving into solutions that satisfy different domains of interests, and disparate communities.
As part of the LA3.0 conference organised by Woods Bagot in Los Angeles February 2018, Christian Derix presented a SUPERSPACE study addressing this subject, quantifying, analysing and visually revealing some of the urban layers that make up the diversity of forces underpinning these ‘competing demands’. By mapping divergent aspects of density (from the differing perspectives of developers, architects and urban designers), and from an outsiders’ view, we explored what can be learnt about the spatial utilization and urban character found in Los Angeles’ many neighborhoods. How will these socio-spatial profiles evolve as Los Angeles undergoes massive changes in transport infrastructure and discovers typologies of densification to support a transforming city?
View the presentation here