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City, Opinion

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Via Curbed LA, we came across a video report from CNN talking about how the Los Angeles area might look in the future.  Parts of the report are made from the streets in and around West Hollywood, which is no surprise since we’re considered by many people to be at the center of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. (Scroll down to watch the video.)

The report puts our local hot topics around development and the evolution of our city on a national and even international stage.  Those featured in the report talk about increased density as an inevitable fact.  But locally, there are many who resist change in the faces of our neighborhoods and are quite against allowing developers to build larger and taller buildings on our streets.

So what is in store for the future of West Hollywood?  Listening to the local discourse and debate can be confusing. The one thing we don’t have much control over is the overall growth in population in the Los Angeles area.  No matter what we do, more and more people are going to want to drive through our streets and live in our city. Considering that fact, many of the arguments are contradictory.

We complain about the high cost of housing, yet we also complain about developers who want to increase the number of homes available in the city.  Development and zoning proposals create controversy as they provide for ever larger buildings.  By the laws of supply and demand, a larger supply of housing is a key part of the equation in bringing the price of housing down.  If we insist that things remain the same, then prices are going to rise as more and more people compete to buy or rent the limited housing that exists now.

Complaints about traffic and parking seem to be mostly about other people getting in our way rather than a desire to see fewer people driving cars.  We want to have the freedom to clog the streets and parking spaces with our own cars!  Separately, there is a lot of support in West Hollywood for mass transit, but until it is here, we want to be able to freely drive and park whenever and wherever we like.  That seems to be more of a dream than a potential reality, as there isn’t anywhere to build bigger roads.  If we did, it would only encourage more people to drive in and through West Hollywood.

And then there is a tie between traffic on our streets and the density and height of our buildings.  On one hand, people complain that larger and larger buildings will only increase the traffic on our streets as people drive to and from them.  But if we don’t start building larger and closer together — creating a more walkable city — then we guarantee that people will still have to use their cars to get around.

Is there any choice but to allow greater building density and height in order to keep the cost of owning or renting a home or business location down?  Must we accept our traffic woes and look at them as a way to discourage people from driving?

Take a look at the CNN report below and please post your thoughts in our comments section.

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The Future of Weho: Are Density and Tall Buildings Evil?, 1.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

What do you think?

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