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George A. Damon

Dean of Engineering Damon led planning efforts in Pasadena and around the Caltech campus when it was first being devveloped. “My City” is based on his work.

The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena

Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design

In 2015, Caltech was rated as the world’s top university. Dean Damon’s “Four Corners Competition” was sponsored by the school, and “My City” is also the work of its Dean of Engineering. Revitalizing Dean Damon’s effort would once again benefit both Pasadena and the Caltech community.

Utilizing the imagination of Art Center College of Design students is a recurring strategy of corporations and government who want to protype ideas. Art Center has students in every imaginable aspect of design who could contribute in mutual benefit to “My City” projects today.


Leveraging Community Wisdom

Continuity and a More Enduring Community Vision

“Recognizing the important fundamental that the city as a whole is wiser than any one citizen or committee,” Dean Damon knew the resulting plan would be much better than a collection of theories from it single individual, or even from a limited group.” Leveraging the wisdom of Pasadena’s world-class citizens, students, educators, and local design professionals in the visioning stages of planning is an opportunity to revitalize Pasadena’s bottom-up tradition.

Part I documents the history of bottom-up and top-down approaches to planning. Part II shows how revitalizing “My City” would create a stronger bond between the visions of past, present and future generations. Revitalizing the Critical First Step Writing in 1917, Dean Damon reports how, through “My City,” they first determined “Pasadena is particularly interested in the possibilities of a civic center.” It was “My City” that refined the vision so that “its program for civic improvements includes nearly all of the elements which go to make up the very heart of the city’s design. The exact location of this center, its size, its arrangement and its style of architectural treatment are details to which the city will, very shortly, address itself.” Gathering solutions and building community vision is essential to bottom-up momentum. Both Dean Damon’s “My City” and Abbot Kinney’s library effort (p.16) are examples of the early visioning stages of planning that can be difficult to see in retrospect. Revitalizing the “My City” approach is that critical first step.

An Approach of Broad Support In 1916, “My City” had representation from over 50 of Pasadena’s leading organizations. In that same role today, “My City” would serve to both provide and gather support and participation from citizens, organizations, schools, developers and government; a non-partisan resource for creating a more united vision of future, serving (p.133) all who are involved and who care. WHAT IT WOULD TAKE The potential for revitalizing “My City” in Pasadena or any city is further explored in the appendix, on page 187.

The Participation Gap When Mayor Bill Bogaard retired at 78, the runoff election between council members Terry Tornek (71) and Jacque Robinson (36) did not draw the 20-50 demographic into the mayoral debate, which was won with only 5% of the total population.








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"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

Profile for mycityis