An introduction to the series and discussion of L.A.’s renewed attention to its public realm, and how that shift relates to the architectural, urban and political history of Los Angeles. With UCLA’s Dana Cuff, REDCAT Gallery Director Ruth Estevez, Occidental’s Mark Vallianatos.

Before a standing-room only crowd in Choi Auditorium, the Third Los Angeles Project brought together a historian, a gallery director, architects, activists, urban planners and writers to explore the nascent beginnings of the third phase of the city’s development.

As Hawthorne explained, the first phase of Los Angeles’ development extended through roughly World War II, as it developed a streetcar system, major public, commercial and multi-family buildings, and an active street life. In the Second Los Angeles, through the turn of the millennium, the city turned inward, focusing on private suburban space and the automobile’s promise of personal freedom.

Today, the city is moving to reanimate its public sphere, returning to the First Los Angeles concepts of rapid transit, denser development, and shared space. The clash between local residents and tourists seeking out the Hollywood sign, for example,  “is really about the transition of Los Angeles from a private place to public place, and the friction that occurs when we decide what we get access to,” said writer and pedestrian advocate Alissa Walker.

Joining Hawthorne were USC History Professor Bill Deverell; Los Angeles journalist and essayist Lynell George; Hadley Arnold, co-director of the Arid Lands Institute; Mark Vallianatos, policy director of Occidental’s Urban & Environmental Policy Institute; Dana Cuff, UCLA professor of architecture and urban planning; Ruth Estevez, director and curator of the REDCAT arts center; and Walker.