Opinion: Make West Hollywood a City to Look Up To

If someone were to grab you off the street, tie you to a post, and force you to watch every “Spongebob Squarepants” episode ever made unless you answered the question, “What is the most beautiful city in the world?” what would you tell them?

If you’re like me, after you escaped your bonds, smashed the TV, and had a few choice words for your captor, you might later answer the question with “Paris,” or “Prague,” or perhaps “Rome.” [Yes, I have a Euro bias]

You probably would not think of West Hollywood, or even Los Angeles during your ordeal, at least not as serious answers for a ludicrous situation. [Why would anyone force you to watch Spongebob? Except perhaps the nine-year-old you have to babysit some long weekend. Yes it happened to me, leaving out the bit about the pole]

Even if Paris, Rome, or Prague are not your top three choices, it’s obvious they’d be among the top choices for a lot of people, particularly anyone who’s ever visited. New York? Not so much. Tokyo? Doubt it. Calcutta? Let’s not go there.

One thing my top contenders have in common, old buildings, places where real epic history happened, lends dignity to any city. Almost as important, the actual height of the skyline. We’re grounded to mostly single stories in earthquake-phobic L.A. Buildings press into the cloud layers so they hurt your neck and back in New York. Paris, Prague, Rome, these places sit at six or seven stories tall. They give you something to marvel at without blocking out the sun and casting the pedestrian in perpetual shade.

All of this is my roundabout way to suggest that Los Angeles, and in particular the West Hollywood enclave, might do well to rethink its zoning rules. We have a huge housing problem and skyrocketing rents. We might lower the skyrocketing rents by raising the skyline, allowing builders to build more housing units on whatever acreage we have available.

If we do so, we might just end up living in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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jeffery ward
jeffery ward
6 years ago

I’d say someone needs to see more of America, Nashville, Omaha, San Antonio, Portland, Santa Fe, Monterey, Savannah, and so many more are just beautiful in their own ways, and what they have in common is they are creative and they have art and a sense of purpose and smart growth policies, I give West Hollywood Credit, it is tough to straddle the Big City sprawling look of LA with the Urban Village for creativity in the middle of that sprawl and keep both conflicting ideas at bay while trying to provide inclusion for current residents all the while fighting… Read more »

Just sayin'
Just sayin'
6 years ago

Why does Weho need to aspire to be something else. Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo? Let it be. Produce Class A architecture for humans not sardines rather than reaching for the sky.

6 years ago

Those cities are also walkable and scalable. Thier streets accommodate people and bicycles better. Surprise surprise, if you accommodate cars first you tend to get ugly locales.

6 years ago

Paris sucks. I’ve been there and will never return. Filthy streets and nasty people. It was a pleasure to return to Germany. Amsterdam was my favorite city. Beautiful buildings and canals coupled with some of the nicest people I have ever met.

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