Suburban LA Gets a Retrofit

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Malls across America are “dying” and suburban communities are looking for ways to lessen dependence on the car. DnA explores explores how this is manifesting itself in Los Angeles--from a gas station becoming a public space in Highland Park, to a former Macys and a car dealership being converted to hotels in Pasadena.

Ellen Dunham-Jones is the co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs. She talks about her work tracking the ways people are retrofitting the “prototypical suburban property types” that are now abandoned and vacant.

Richard McDonald, a land use lawyer working on many projects in Pasadena, describes a new vision for Pasadena involving a trolley and denser buildings.

Alan Hess, architect and author of many books on 20th century architecture, argues that Southern California’s suburbs offer lessons in design and planning that retrofitters could learn from.

Craig Raines is a designer for the Department of Recreation and Parks, specializing in skate parks. He talks about transforming a former gas station to a park, in a neighborhood that loves its cars.