Exploring the 'Third L.A.'


Angelenos are invited to participate in a series of conversations about the future of their city and region.

The Third Los Angeles Project offers an unprecedented opportunity to explore the cultural, political and policy changes that are upending the stereotype of a privatized, suburban, car-dominated city.

The series, hosted by Occidental College and moderated by Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, begins Feb. 12, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in the Choi Auditorium at Occidental. 

The project is called the Third Los Angeles to mark the city’s third distinct era. The First Los Angeles, as Hawthorne defines it, stretches roughly from the city’s first population boom in the 1880s through 1940 when the city, growing at an exponential pace, worked to establish a coherent civic identity. In the Second Los Angeles, covering the period from 1940 to the turn of the millennium, the city pursued a hugely ambitious experiment in building suburbia.

Today, Los Angeles is undergoing major shifts and facing new civic challenges –- its cultural center is migrating from west to east, major investments in public transit are challenging the dominance of the car, and multi-family residential architecture is gaining in popularity even as climate change threatens to make the region drier and hotter.

"We’re in a new phase in our civic development, and this is the time to come together and discuss and debate the future of our city," said Occidental President Jonathan Veitch. "We need to create bridges –- east-west, cross-cultural, cross-class. There are very few existing platforms for discussing Los Angeles, the collective idea of the city. That’s what we want to create."

The conversations are open to the public and free. Most will be held on the Occidental campus in Eagle Rock, while a few are planned for other locations around the city, including the MAK Center/Schindler House in West Hollywood, the Line Hotel in Koreatown and Clockshop Los Angeles near the Los Angeles River. The schedule is as follows:

Welcome to the Third Los Angeles – 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, historian William Deverell, writer Alissa Walker and others; moderated by Christopher Hawthorne. Feb. 12, 2015 at Choi Auditorium, Occidental College

Post-Immigrant Los Angeles – How foreign-born residents, and their expectations about how cities work, shape the architecture and urbanism of Los Angeles. With Occidental’s Jan Lin and Kelema Moses and others. February 18 at the Line Hotel in Koreatown

City of Quartz at 25 – A critical view of the impact of Mike Davis’s City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (published in 1990) and what it means for architects and writers a generation later. With Los Angeles Times book critic David Ulin, deputy mayor of Los Angeles Rick Cole and others. March 4, at Choi Auditorium

The New LACMA – A discussion featuring Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan, journalist and critic Carolina Miranda and others on the controversial plan by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor to remake the museum campus. March 25 at Choi Auditorium

The Future of the Single-Family House: New Housing Models for Los Angeles – Can the city grow denser without losing the low-rise appeal of its existing residential fabric? With architect Barbara Bestor, MAK Center’s Kimberli Meyer and others. April 8 at the MAK Center at the Schindler House, West Hollywood

What Do We Want the L.A. River to Be? A walking tour along the Bowtie Project in the Glendale Narrows section of the Los Angeles River followed by a discussion of the river’s emerging role as public and park space for Los Angeles. With Clockshop’s Julia Meltzer, architect Michael Maltzan, Public Works Commissioner Barbara Romero and others.  April 22 at Clockshop Los Angeles

The Third Los Angeles Project is a unique collaboration among Occidental College, Southern California Public Radio and Christopher Hawthorne, professor of practice in the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental and architecture critic at the Los Angeles Times since 2004. Occidental is offering a corresponding academic course for its undergraduates. The students will take an active role in the series, meeting with the panelists and helping organize and promote the discussions.

For reservations and more details about specific events, visit www.oxy.edu/3rdLA or join the conversation on Twitter at #3rdLA or @ThirdLosAngeles.  Reservations are recommended, as seating is limited. 


About The Third Los Angeles Project

The Third Los Angeles Project is a series of public conversations and an academic course at Occidental College, exploring a city that is moving into a dramatically new phase in its development. The series focuses on many of the issues examined in Occidental’s Urban and Environmental Policy Institute – urbanism, planning, architecture, environment, culture, immigration, public policy – with the lens focused specifically on Los Angeles and its future growth. The topics are approached from an interdisciplinary perspective, featuring historians, cultural critics, policymakers, architects and activists. The project builds on the legacy of pioneering architectural historian Robert Winter, Occidental’s Arthur G. Coons Professor of the History of Ideas, Emeritus. 

The series is a unique collaboration among Occidental College, Southern California Public Radio and Christopher Hawthorne, professor of practice in the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College and architecture critic at the Los Angeles Times.