I built an urban development tracker for Los Angeles

A website for tracking urban development in LA

I’ve recently uncovered a hidden passion in my life, largely as a result of a random book recommendation a friend of mine made. That book was Walkable City by Jeff Speck, which is all about how the concept of downtown, and the associated density, productivity, and resourcefulness, is what will save not only our society, but our planet as well. His ideas really resonated with me; I finished the book in three days, which I suppose is normal for some people, but was freakish for me considering it takes a lot these days to pull me away from computer-related projects. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with all the new transit-oriented development taking place in Los Angeles.

I’ve always been a huge fan of cities like Chicago and New York because of the lifestyle that walkability promotes. Friendships are not only stronger due to the ability of a neighbor to simply “drop in and say hello”, but they’re also easier to come by. People get Sunday brunch andgo for bike rides. People hang out in the park. We don’t get a lot of that in LA, and it’s really bummed me out for a long time. I’ve thought about leaving before, but with such an enormous part of my family in the Los Angeles area, I couldn’t leave. So I figured I’d just have to deal with the less than ideal living situation.

After reading this book, though, I decided to do a little more research on LA’s long-term plans, and what I found was astonishing. It seems like all of a sudden, everyone finally gets it. They understand that we don’t want less traffic on the 405: we want an alternative. They understand that zoning laws are ridiculous, and that we all want to be able to walk from our apartments to coffee shops and brunch places that make other cities so vibrant. They’re finally making it happen. The development projects are coming in spades. The more I dug, the more I uncovered, and from the new Sci Arc campus in the Downtown Arts District to the expo line to Santa Monica, they’re looking good.

In order to help contribute to this momentum, felt compelled to document it. So last weekend I put together CityGrows, a site that enables anyone who’s interested to learn about, post about, and discuss all of the new projects that are showing up every day. I’m hoping it’ll get all the other Angelenos as excited about the future as I am!

Want to find out about progress on LA’s newest/highest sky scraper? Check it out!