mardi 4 décembre 2012

LOS ANGELES : don't throw the baby with the bathwater

You can't figth urban sprawl. It keeps coming.

Whereas in most european cities urban sprawl is a relative recent problem, as we're witnessing, powerless, our cities merging into eachother like one big urban ocean, distance and gigantism are constitutive of Los Angeles from its very begining. 

Los Angeles is born big, people started to go from distant places in the moutains to others close to the sea very early. Distance, ambition, no limit, are part of the spirit.

European cities reach gigantism in reverse mode. They kept extending from their little historical center through the centuries, and now cities that were used to be units on their own merge into eachother. Hello neighbours, my old ennemies.

The superiority of LA will then appear very soon in its capacity to hide the best bar in the middle of the least expected areas. Behind warehouses, at the crossing of some freeway exits, or regular pavillons.

Here in Europe, we still don't know how to make those new urban zones entertaining. We know its bad to separate functions, we know that what's good about historic centers is the fact that they combine a lot of different activities, still we can't help to reproduce the same mistakes.

LA spirit, please save us from ourselves.

In Stockholm, they got it right : they start to have great clubs with hundred of people under freeways bridges, at Trädgården/ Under bron

Soon this blog will provide the proof that LA contains the best exemple of city life, where nature, banana trees, freeways, fancy modern houses, modest wood houses, hispanic families, successful directors, struggling ones, successful actors, struggling ones, bars, cafes, cheap supermarkets,  second hand stores, great hispanic food restaurants, great chinese restaurants, offices, and scooter garages who are also bars, live in harmony.

I name, hereby, Echo Park.


dimanche 16 septembre 2012


This design agency in San Francisco called STAMEN DESIGN created a awesome free tool on line to automaticaly generate water colors maps from Googlemaps....It is amazing, and so kind of them.

Cities have shapes, they have a body, that grew over time, over centuries, like an living organism : the roads are their bones, their squeletons.

This tool makes you realize this in such a obvious and charming way : its like water color paintings from the sky, satellite water paitings of landscapes.

Thanks to STAMEN DESIGN. This is Heaven. Check this out. (the orange and red are the roads, the scales are not the same on each paiting but doesn't matter for now)