MARTIN WACHS, professor of urban planning, UCLA, and head of UCLA Urban Planning Program:
IT DEPENDS DIRECTLY on the actions that we take in the next 10 to 15 years. There's a distinct possibility that the quality of life will be inferior if we do nothing--if we continue along the same path with respect to air quality, traffic, the distribution of social services and economic opportunity among the ethnic and class groups, investments in education and so forth. We have an opportunity to make L.A. the leading city in the world at that time if we're committed to doing something about it. I think the answer to that question is "maybe," and it all depends on what we do. The single most important factor will be political leadership.
DAN GARCIA, president, Los Angeles City Planning Commission:
IT DEPENDS ON the quality of leadership we get. I think that the public awareness and response to the critical issues of the day and their perception of them will have a great bearing on how the future will turn out. We need good schools and education, we need good transportation systems, including mass transit, and we need to prepare for the coming population growth in an intelligent fashion. If we don't do any of those things, the region will be a disaster.
SELWYN ENZER, director, Pacific Rim Data Base , USC International Business, Education and Research Program; past associate director, USC Centers for Future Research:
IT'S GOING to be a better place. There'll be a lot of things about it that aren't as good as they are now; from a pure quality-of-life picture, it might have been better here 100 years ago. But L.A. is going to be a very dynamic and exciting place--an international city, one of the great ones of the world.
It may be crowded, congested, have high crime rates. . . . But, like anything else, there are goods and bads, costs and benefits. I'd love to be able to be in that exciting city at that time.
MARK PISANO, executive director, Southern California Assn . of Governments:
L..A. WILL BE a better place in 2013. When you have the opportunity to define the life style of the future, I think we'll be a pattern for the rest of the world--and when you're as creative and innovative as the people of Southern California and Los Angeles, I think we'll be successful. Also, given the capacity of this area to generate wealth through the robust economy that we have, we're going to have the resources to make it a better place.
The only question is: Will our public and private leaders lead? Having worked with them enough over the past several years, I'm convinced they will. And the other test of our success will be the extent to which we bring all of the segments--racial, ethnic, different age groups--into that leadership process. And again, I'm convinced we'll do that.
MARCUS FELSON, associate professor of sociology and senior research associate, USC Social Science Research Institute:
IT WILL BE a different place . Some people will look back and say what a bore it was-- now it's a real city; and some people will say, I liked it back then.
The people who think anti-development are fooling themselves, because the cat is out of the bag. It's ridiculous now that we have enough people and no way to move them around. You can't stop now, having created the contradiction. It can't get denser and denser without mass transit, but now it's too expensive and spread out to have a mass transit system, so there's no solution besides spreading out work and minimizing trips.
More development will reduce the load on the system, if the development helps reduce the commute. If they do some very creative things--business and government--then we may look back at this as the congested period and then, things got peaceful again. If they do apply what we've learned about designing out crime and designing in community, and if they apply those lessons creatively, then things will be much better.
GLENN F. BLOSSOM, city planning officer, Los Angeles City Planning Department:
PLANNERS ARE always optimists. Since we're working to make the city better, we have confidence that our efforts will be productive and that we will make a difference and that some of the most pressing problems of today will have lessened. For example, that we'll make a dent in the homeless problem and have fewer people sleeping in the streets; that we will have a better balance in our communities between jobs and housing so there's less need for long-distance commuting; and that we'll be successful with ride sharing and public transportation, so that there'll be more persons per vehicle and therefore proportionately fewer vehicles.
We're also looking at the design of our commercial areas so there are more pleasing, less garish, less inharmonious developments, and are paying more attention to blending the new with the old.