Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

Op-ed pieces are a different kind of animal for journalists. Where one is about balanced views, the other is more about taking a stand and making your opinions heard. Here's my latest on building better connections for all of LA's different neighborhoods. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Matthew Fleisher
Published: 5 Feb 2016, Los Angeles Times

In his 2013 book, “Happy City,” urban theorist Charles Montgomery argues that car-dependent suburban sprawl makes people feel isolated and unhappy, and that a well-designed city is one that enables people to live connected lives.

“The most important psychological effect of the city is the way in which it moderates our relationships with other people," he writes. Densely populated cities that encourage people to walk or take public transportation and offer a mix of housing types enable more personal interaction and thus, human contact.

Bluntly put, Los Angeles’ sprawl doesn’t do it any favors in the happy department. The city’s iconic freeways were intended to ease travel from one neighborhood to another but instead have created siloed neighborhoods. Great gems of neighborhoods, yes, but separated by gray concrete ribbons.

Crossing those barriers can be an epic undertaking. [read more]


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