Thursday, September 28, 2006
Pasadena, Cal., used to be a paradise. One can get wistful about life in the old L.A. suburb in the 1920s, when one could quickly drive one’s Model T up to the nearby wilderness of the San Gabriel mountains on a Saturday morning, marvel at the view (and even see snow in winter), drive back through uncrowded roads to one’s attractive little bungalow for lunch (finished with home-grown oranges), then take the electric rail line over to Santa Monica for a walk along the warm beach at sunset, returning home by the same transit for dinner.
Today, of course, times have changed. There are ten times as many people in the Los Angeles area as there were back then, the drive up to the mountains (with less snow in this age of global warming) may get you stuck in traffic and smog, and you’ll have a very long wait for the electric streetcar, which even if it did come would probably take a couple of days to work its way across the Los Angeles streets to the packed beach.
The housing boom has been further changing Pasadena, and long-time residents are complaining about the loss of the old suburb’s famous “character,” according to the L.A. Times. [And see a similar complaint about changes in Madison, Wis., in the reader comment to this Tuesday’s entry about tear-downs.] Pasadena (now a close-in suburb) is trying to do its part for “smart growth” by allowing infill of high-density construction. The city is permitting the construction of many new multi-family housing units, often in mixed-use complexes with stores. This is the kind of dense development that new urbanists argue for. It preserves land at the outskirts and allows for trips to the dry cleaner or grocery store without a car. But the new urbanization of Pasadena means that some renters and some established retailers –- including some local semi-landmarks –- are being pushed out.
Governments of established localities across the nation are facing this difficult question: Allow for denser development, or preserve old character? Years ago, nearly all suburban communities with powerful residential lobbies chose the latter. With today’s concerns about sprawl and the emphasis on “smart growth,” some suburban communities are choosing the former. The effects on established residents may be somewhat adverse, but the benefits accrue to the entire region.
This blog is an Amazon affiliate. Help support Land Use Prof Blog by making purchases through Amazon links on this site at no cost to you.
- Katherine Dentzman on A Coordinated Approach to Food Safety and Land Use Law at the Urban Fringe
- Jesse Richardson on Local Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing
- Jamie Baker Roskie on Local Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing
- Samuel on Schleicher and Rauch on local regulation of the sharing economy
- Timothy Wayne George on Is Reed v. Town of Gilbert an important sign case?
- Water Down Under: A Report from Australia by Barb Cosens: Post 2: Comparative Water Law: Australia and the western United States or Conversations with Claire
- APA Planning & Law Division's Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition now accepting entries
- Jan 30 - Boston U Law - The Iron Triangle of Food Policy - AJLM Symposium
- "Basic Human Right" to Farm Your Lawn?
- CFP: Fordham Law: Sharing Economy, Sharing City: Urban Law and the New Economy