Daily Archives: April 4, 2014

4 Million Visions for Los Angeles, and Then Some

Ok, the other day I posted about what I think defines LA. The next question is, where are we going? And strangely enough, when people ask me what my vision for LA is, why I care, why I’m doing this, I find myself tripping over my own words, unable to articulate what’s the point of the enterprise.

So, my vision for Los Angeles is a place where you get to try out your vision. Where the other 4 million people in LA, and all 18 million in SoCal, get to try their visions too. And importantly, where people from all over the world can come to try to achieve their visions.

That could be anything. Maybe you want to build the next Century City, or maybe you want to build a couple apartments behind your house to have income for funding your kids’ education or your retirement. Maybe you want to start the next Pinkberry or Forever 21, or maybe you want to run a small neighborhood café or home business. Maybe you want to escape violence and poverty elsewhere in the world to build a better life, or maybe you just want to make enough money to spend most of your time on the beach or building quads of steel biking Angeles Crest Highway. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. I don’t know what anyone wants. I just want a city where everyone has a chance to achieve it.

To me, that’s the point of cities. And it only works if we have accessibility, affordability, and opportunity.

Accessibility means we have the quality transportation necessary to allow people to move around the metro area quickly and efficiently. That’s why I’m passionate about good transportation investments.

Affordability means that we have enough residential, commercial, retail, and industrial buildings throughout the city to allow anyone to live and work in LA without spending all their money on rent or transportation. That’s why I’m passionate about making it easier to build.

Opportunity means that the city has a growing, dynamic economy that creates the ability to get educated, find good work, and start a business. That’s why I’m passionate about education and eliminating the barriers to starting a business, like high rents, high permitting costs, and unnecessary bureaucracy.

There is, of course, another dimension to all of this, and that’s equality. Accessibility, affordability, and opportunity are often systematically denied to people because of racism, sexism, or other discrimination. I’ve never really written about that because I’m not sure I have anything to say – for now, all I can do is be curious, listen, and learn.

And that’s about it. No dream should be too big or too small to have a chance in LA.