“It is not possible to live in this age if you don’t have a sense of many contradictory forces.”

— Rem Koolhaas


Welcome to our new column, Room for a View. We are a group of longtime Santa Monica residents who are also urbanists, architects, sustainability experts, landscape designers and writers with a long history of service on city commissions and boards. The column idea was originated as a way to provide diverse, logical and informed ideas, which respond to complicated issues and misconceptions about development and the myriad of other local issues that are occurring in Santa Monica today.

Our city, any city, changes and change can be both exciting and fearful. This depends in part on how change is managed. Change will and does occur, whether we embrace it or not. The many elements of change are complex in their emotional weight, in their number and in their unintended consequences. Taking a single issue out of the larger context can lead to distorted perspectives and a visceral response that does not reflect the larger truths.

Our column will provide a professional and personal perspective on Santa Monica issues based on local experience and wisdom garnered from our careers working in Santa Monica and other southern California cities and communities. We wish to open a larger conversation than is currently taking place, a conversation that encompasses greater complexity, rather than being single issue oriented. It is a chance for other voices to be heard. From time to time we will invite guest experts in their field to contribute. We welcome the chance to create a civil conversation in our community.

Our topics will range from the Downtown Specific Plan to traffic, parking, density and historic and cultural points of view. We will often illustrate our ideas and have informative links.

We are excited to open up a new dialogue in our city to all groups and be informative and open minded about the issues we discuss.


We are:

• Michael W. Folonis, FAIA, architect, principal of Santa Monica firm Michael W. Folonis Architects, former Architectural Review Board member, currently director of the Los Angeles AIA Board, board member of Santa Monica Conservancy, 41-year Santa Monica resident.

• Gwynne Pugh, FAIA, architect and engineer, LEED AP, principal of Santa Monica firm Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio, Inc., former chair of the Planning Commission, currently director of the Los Angeles AIA Board, 37-year Santa Monica resident.

• Linda Jassim, writer and editor, landscape designer. Principal of Santa Monica firm Studio J, former chair and current member of the Santa Monica Arts Commission, 37-year Santa Monica resident.

• John Zinner, sustainability and green building consultant, LEED fellow, principal at Zinner Consultants, former Planning and Housing commissioner, currently vice president of Santa Monica Conservancy, 35-year Santa Monica resident.

• Hank Koning, FAIA, architect, principal of Santa Monica firm Koning Eizenberg Architecture, LEED AP, former chair of the Planning Commission, 32-year Santa Monica Resident.


To reach the writers of Room with a View e-mail urbansense.sm@gmail.com


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