I just returned from China where I visited, for the first-time, Beijing and Shanghai. They are incredibly interesting and exciting cities (and you’ll hear more about them on an upcoming DnA). One of the many astounding sights is the madness on the roads where buses, cars, pedestrians and bicycles compete for space. But cars of course dominate. It is said that 3000 new cars a day are taking to the roads of Beijing, already at such a standstill that LA’s traffic seems fastflowing in comparison.
Before China’s huge leap forward, bicycles dominated the streets and, seeing the pollution and the gridlock in Beijing, one can’t help but mourn the passing of this efficient, clean and cheap mode of urban transport.
Ironically, it’s in the capital of car culture, Los Angeles, that bikes are being gingerly welcomed back onto the roads. And that’s a topic of our show today.
We’ll hear about CicLAvia, LA’s own version of Ciclovia, a concept invented in Bogota, Colombia, where roads are closed to cars on a Sunday for use by bikers and pedestrians. This has been so popular it is happening in many cities worldwide, and LA will hold its very own, on October 10, on 7 1/2 miles of roads from Boyle Heights to East Hollywood. We’ll also hear from the Mayor about the LA City Bicycle Plan, as well as why he likes biking and about his belief in changing the road culture in LA to accomodate bikes. And, since DnA is a design show, transportation designer Stewart Reed will bring us up to speed, as it were, on advances in the technology that harnesses pedal power.
That’s one half of the show. The other deals with the opposite of mobility: restful contemplation. Or specifically, the new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion at LACMA, opening next week, and a further example of Italian architect Renzo Piano’s gift for creating luminous and calm — if unadventurous — spaces for displaying art. We’ll hear from LACMA director Michael Govan about how the Resnick Pavilion fits in with his larger vision for the museum — in which art and sculpture and architecture and interiors and gardens — by a diverse range of talents including Robert Irwin, Jorge Pardo, Jeff Koons — come together in a way that fuses those arts in a modern variant on classical harmony. We will also hear from architecture writer and editor Sam Lubell about exactly why Renzo Piano gets to design so many art museums. That’s all on DnA today.