The City Council, in their predictable wisdom, approved an East Village project with windowless, 550-foot-long apartment corridors; narrow, shaded courtyards with zero privacy; an open space environment of concrete with “potted” landscape; and a density in excess of LUCE [Land Use and Circulation Element] and significantly in excess of the recommended Bergamot Area Plan density.

In addition to these glaring and inhuman design fallacies, there is also the inadequate compensation for Village Trailer Park homeowners, inadequate housing replacements, and an inadequate relocation plan. And all of this for 41 “affordable units?”

But kudos on the council’s foresight; in a short time this could be a slum with 377 units renting for “affordable” prices. And you also will be creating more “affordable” homes in the area with bottleneck traffic and a 15-20 percent decrease in adjacent property values. And of course one shouldn’t recognize the council without giving sole recognition to the ones behind this astute policy — Gleam Davis, Bob Holbrook, Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day, and Mayor Pam O’Connor. Congratulations and keep the development ball rolling!

And in doing so remember that the ethos of a city is embodied in its architecture and open space, that good design is good economics. Density is not good design. Quality is more important than quantity. Anxiety over tax revenues is not worth architectural and environmental mediocrity.

The public has truly been “railroaded.” Maybe the council should visit the mixed-use project at Rose and 5th to see what could have been designed for this transitional site. When you realize there are some 40 development agreements waiting in line, maybe it’s time for a serious recall effort!


Ron Goldman

Fellow, American Institute of Architects

Santa Monica

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