Renewing the Dream
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A love letter to Los Angeles past and present—and an urgent call to action for its future—Renewing the Dream: The Mobility Revolution of the Future of Los Angeles offers an illustrated exploration of America’s second largest metropolis, viewed through the interplay of movement and place that has long defined its sprawling landscape—and reshaped much of the modern world along the way.
Justin Davidson, New York Magazine
Phillip Lopate, essayist and critic
Produced in association with the global architecture studio Woods Bagot, Renewing the Dream draws together groundbreaking research, cutting-edge design studies, cultural and historical essays, and surveys of technological innovation, Renewing the Dream offers the first comprehensive look at the changes that are remaking the mobility landscape of Southern California—and the remarkable opportunities they offer to re-appropriate vast tracts of the city for uses that are more socially and economically productive as well as architecturally appealing. Above left: book cover, featuring photography by Dennis Keeley, Blue Bus, 2016. Above right: Ed Ruscha, ”Thirtyfour Parking Lots,” 1967
Having brought the world the seductive model of freeways, private cars, single-family homes, and endless parking that defined the postwar era, Los Angeles now stands at the threshold of a new era—pioneering a different but potentially no less influential urban prototype for the future of the cities everywhere. Above: Production still from La La Land, 2016.
Renewing the Dream explores the powerful forces propelling this momentous shift: from dramatic tech-enabled advances in urban mobility, to the rapid adoption of electrified vehicles and changing stations, to massive public transportation initiatives. And it looks at the profound and often controversial impact of this new mobility on Los Angeles, as a city once famed for its car-oriented, low-rise landscape is transformed, year by year, into a denser, more diverse, and more complex kind of place. Above: Comparative mapping of bus service catchment, Metro catchment, and combined Metro and $7 Uber ride catchment, 2018.
To capture a many-sided portrait of this city in change, the book offers essays by a distinguished group of writers and thinkers, including Frances Anderton, popular author and former KCRW radio host and producer; the urban futurist Greg Lindsay; the city planner Mark Vallianatos; and the distinguished UCLA professors Donald Shoup, Eric Avila, and Michael Manville. Above: Rendering of Sankofa Park at Destination Crenshaw, with statue by Kehinde Wiley, 2022.
The book features design case-studies offering striking and often provocative visions of the city’s future and several original research studies by data teams at Woods Bagot (above), along with some of the first systematic data studies of how the new mobility might allow extensive areas of the city now dedicated to parking and gas stations to be re-imagined for other purposes (below).
Complementing its core of writing, design and research—and rounding out its portrait of one of America’s greatest cultural capitals—the book offers a rich array of images, from rare historic photographs, to interpretive maps and diagrams, to contemporary artwork and Hollywood film stills. Above left: Production still from Safety Last (1923) with Harold Lloyd, filmed in downtown Los Angeles. Above right: Wayne Thiebaud, “Heavy Traffic,” 1988.
A contemporary panorama of one of the most exciting cities in the world, Renewing the Dream also offers crucial lessons for its future. And because of the critical role that Los Angeles has played for nearly a century—as pioneer of influential new ways of living in and moving around a city—those lessons will carry resonance to cities all around the globe. Above: Banksy, “Swing Girl,” 2010, street mural in Downtown Los Angeles. Below: Rendering of The Twist, proposal by Woods Bagot for the Sunset Strip, 2021.