Santa Monica’s Achilles Heel

Our expansive beaches largely define Santa Monica. How might our community be impacted, both financially and otherwise, should this vital asset disappear beneath the waves? Ironically, what makes our city so unique, may also be its undoing. As the earth warms, and sea levels rise, our city is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the ocean’s periodic … Continue reading Santa Monica’s Achilles Heel

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ARB (All Ready to Build?)

Santa Monica City’s Architectural Review Board (ARB), established in 1974, acts “to preserve existing areas of natural beauty, cultural importance and assure that buildings, structures, signs or other developments are in good taste, good design, harmonious with surrounding developments, and in general contribute to the preservation of Santa Monica’s reputation as a place of beauty, … Continue reading ARB (All Ready to Build?)

Simply Too Many People? (Part 2)

Before deciding an optimum population for our city, which is the second most densest California coastal city, we should take in a larger context. Most people would agree that space ship earth has too many people today and the aspirations of those billions for a humane life can only be met (and barely) if we … Continue reading Simply Too Many People? (Part 2)

Simply Too Many People? (Part 1)

In this two part article SM.a.r.t. (Santa Monica architects for a responsible tomorrow) takes on the thorny issue of the optimum Santa Monica population. When we look ahead at the population of Santa Monica, there are conflicting views of how many people should live, work and visit here. Some people believe we have already crossed … Continue reading Simply Too Many People? (Part 1)

Santa Monica…A City Searching for Itself at Sea

If our city were a ship, it might be described as “floundering and adrift.” At times it seems that Santa Monica knows neither where it’s going nor, if it did, how to get there. It is difficult to make policy without a clear vision or a well-defined course of action. For example, do we see … Continue reading Santa Monica…A City Searching for Itself at Sea

Santa Monica: A Friendly City for All, Especially the Most Vulnerable

Many residents in this city are forced to deal with a daily reality: the difficult interaction with the city’s man-made environment because of poor planning, inconsiderate design and weak communications. Examples range from parking structure signs on Fourth Street blocking the view of on-coming traffic, to well-known problems with the bus benches – a problem … Continue reading Santa Monica: A Friendly City for All, Especially the Most Vulnerable

In the Spot…light: Creative Zoning in Santa Monica

Santa Monica’s new DCP (Downtown Community Plan) identifies three sites as “Established Opportunity Sites,” although the addition of the word “established” seemed to have appeared from nowhere in the final version presented to the Council for approval. The phrase “Opportunity Site” only appears once in the Land Use Circulation Element (LUCE) of the General Plan … Continue reading In the Spot…light: Creative Zoning in Santa Monica

A Six Pack of City Defining Areas

In our built out City, there are six significant areas of land whose eventual development will have an inordinate impact on the future of our City. Development of these areas, if left to today’s “market forces” without considering the big picture. may result in in an irretrievably lost opportunity that could distort our City for … Continue reading A Six Pack of City Defining Areas

Is Santa Monica the victim of its own success?

Santa Monica has had the distinction of being recognized as one of the most “progressive” cities in the nation. It began in 1979 when residents coalesced around a rent control initiative. It continues today with a City known for its commitment to social and environmental issues. But is this still true? It appears that business … Continue reading Is Santa Monica the victim of its own success?