A veteran of planning and public administration in California, Rick Cole has built a career on the premise of bringing innovation and common-sense planning to the jurisdictions in which he has worked. The former mayor of Pasadena and city manager of both Ventura and Azusa, Cole entered big-city administration in 2013 as Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation in the City of Los Angeles. This May, Cole elected to return to his small-city roots with his appointment as city manager of the City of Santa Monica. Cole takes office amid a tumultuous time in Santa Monica, when pressures to grow are running headlong against concerns over traffic, loss of civic character, and housing costs. CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Cole about his plans for a city that captures the best - and worst - of California planning in microcosm. >>read more
At times, city officials in California couldn't be blamed for wanting to revert to bygone times, such as, perhaps, 14th century Italy. City-states would be one solution to what seems to be persistent rancor between Sacramento and cities. At the heart of that fray lies the League of California Cities, whose mission is to lobby for the diverse interest of the state's 600-plus cities.
With funding scarce and plans large and small in abundance, the latest round of Sustainable Communities Grants and Urban Greening Grants awarded by the Strategic Growth Council come as welcome relief to cities, counties, and other agencies. Last month, the SGC announced that it would award $24.6 million in Sustainable Communities Planning Grants and $20.7 million in Urban Greening Grants. Both programs are funded by the clean water bond Prop. 84.
As planners have increasingly embraced the principles of smart growth over the past few years, suburban areas have increasingly borne criticism as examples of how not to plan. This criticism often ignores a crucial point: even if suburbs are imperfect-largely because they promote automobile dependency-they are not necessarily hopeless. A recently completed study led by Prof.
The last time the American Planning Association held its national conference in Los Angeles, the Lakers were playing in Inglewood, the only trains to serve Union Station were Amtrak, and the only people who spent the night downtown were homeless or business travelers. Today, attendees of the 2012 APA National Conference - to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center April 14-17 - will find everything from light rail to lofts to Staples Center. A lot has changed in Los Angeles since 1986.
As inscrutable as public policy may be sometimes, academics and professionals alike sometimes like to believe that they have all the answers. Sometimes, though, an esteemed professor such as USC planning professor Lisa Schweitzer, willingly throws up her hands. >>read more
Jim Kennedy may have taken the most thankless job in all of California planning. The former planning director of Contra Costa County and longtime board member of the California Redevelopment Association, Kennedy succeeds former executive director John Shirey, who recently became city manager for the City of Sacramento.
The preliminary results of the 2010 U.S. Census are in, and so far they depict a California quite different from the one that the state's localities have been planning for the past few decades. It is no longer a young, family-oriented state that lives in detached homes but rather an aging, childless state that is turning back towards the center cities. And, though California's population - estimated at 37.2 million - is bigger than ever, its growth rate is a shadow of its former self.
The Governor's Office of Planning and Research occupies an unusual place in California planning. Even though planning is an intensely local function, part of OPR's mission is to convey Sacramento's planning agenda to the local level. At times when that agenda has been ill-defined, OPR has nearly withered. But now that Gov. Jerry Brown has articulated support for Senate Bill 375 and for a host of smart growth principals, OPR may regain prominence.