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A centered philosophy

July 13, 2006

Re "Don't feed the white elephant," Current, July 9

Joel Kotkin feeds us his either/or philosophy: Either invest downtown (foolish) or invest in the region (wise). He thus continues the legacy of avant-garde planners who loved the idea that Los Angeles is a new type of metropolis, with numerous widely distributed centers, especially auto-oriented and certainly not "centered."

But the evidence shows that the multiple centers are not coequals, and a maturing city must engage in both -- rather than either/or -- policies. In this more complex and real perspective, the Convention Center is a "center" and needs a few additional investments to help it thrive. And the distributed centers need attention too. Moderation is the key and is the spirit of support for new development in downtown L.A.

Kotkin's views are not only wrong regarding the levels of support being provided but wrong in the sense that he would leave existing investments to rot. What a vision!

ROBERT S. HARRIS

USC Professor of Architecture Emeritus

Los Angeles

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