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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Respecting History or the Wrecking Ball

Today our city is a built out metropolis with almost no vacant lots. However, if you came here 100 years ago, Santa Monica was mostly open fields. In fact the built out edge of the City had only reached about 11th Street with flat dusty open spaces continuing all the way east to the brand … Continue reading Respecting History or the Wrecking Ball

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)

Hot Enough for You?

While surviving the latest heat wave, now’s a good time to consider the big picture of our over-heated planet. We humans live comfortably in a very narrow temperature range and the world’s population (and most plants) cannot evolve their high temperature tolerance fast enough to compensate for the stress of increasing global warming. When temperatures … Continue reading Hot Enough for You?

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

$76 Million for Sustainable What?

The Santa Monica City Council approved construction of a new “City Services Building” at its Aug. 8 Council meeting. As local media noted, “Council took very little time (25 minutes) to approve quite a bit of money ($76,760,000)” in green, lease revenue bonds. The actual cost of this 50,000 square foot addition to City Hall … Continue reading $76 Million for Sustainable What?

Sustainability: Who Carries the Load? Part 2.

In last week’s article we reviewed Santa Monica’s water supply, and mentioned that the total residential sector has shown the greatest decrease in water usage. From 2005 to 2013 residential water usage dropped 6 percent as the population increased 7 percent from 86,643 to 92,472. During the same period, the commercial sector’s water usage increased … Continue reading Sustainability: Who Carries the Load? Part 2.

Sustainability: Who Carries the Load? Part 1.

A couple of years back, a SMa.r.t. column on sustainability compared the City of Santa Monica’s residential and commercial sectors’ progress towards the City’s sustainability goals. Initially, it appeared that the residential sector was on track while the commercial sector was lagging. While this is still the case, the actual picture is more nuanced, as … Continue reading Sustainability: Who Carries the Load? Part 1.