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1. Horace Dobbins on his elevated cycleway in Pasadena, sitting in his new automobile, circa 1903. 2. The Colorado Street Bridge construction, 1913. 3. The Foothill Freeway (210) under construction in 1976. 4. Reconstruction of the Colorado Street Bridge, 1992 5. The Gold Line Bridge over the 210 Freeway, constructed in 2009, which was the result of a public competition.

The Natural Cycle of Change In the evolution of cities, the view of the future is a repeating pattern that cycles between periods of great inspiration, a slow diluting of that inspiration, a time of anti-optimism and then, in a fit of nostalgia for previous visions of the future, a new cycle of reinvention. As discussed in the introduction (p.20), this Natural Cycle, containing both opportunities and pitfalls, is useful in understanding the last century of planning. 1. INVENTION

2. REFINEMENT Beginning in the mid-1920s and continuing through World War II, the refinement stage of the cycle shifted planning from a romantic vision of civic design and public participation, to a more top-down, methodical and scientific approach to bring order and efficiency to the increasing complexity of the modern city.

The first quarter of the 20th Century was influenced by the Progressive Era’s focus on citizen initiative. Planning emphasized the competition of ideas and public participation. Along with reforming city government, citizens created the momentum needed for the ambitious projects of the City Beautiful Movement.

4. Revitalization

3. Inversion 2. Refinement



the Planning Profession’s Century of Lessons Learned

The impulse to refine and separate the functions of the city became zoning policy during this time. This eventually resulted in the growth of distinct residential, industrial and commercial districts. As the practice of zoning evolved, separate shopping and business districts were created as well.

Example: The refining approach of handling auto traffic is shown Examples: Pasadena’s Four in the 1912 vision for the Arroyo The Natural Cycle of Change Corners Competition of 1914 Seco Parkway (p.30). Over time, (p.33) helped launch Paul and especially after LA’s 1932 This pattern is introduced on page 20 and Williams career and raised Olympics, the vision shifted and recurs on pages 156, and 158. awareness about city planning. from a greenbelt linking parks The Civic Center competition a decade later to a more efficient, autobahn-style solution called a produced great civic spaces, also with the benefit of freeway, which opened in 1940, just before the US public representation and input. entered World War II.

1. Invention

Transforming the Arroyo Seco at the Los Angeles River: A Return to the Original Vision

The adoption of this ambitious plan to restore 719 acres and tear out three miles of concrete marks a shift towards revitalization. 110 Tunnels Arroyo Today

LA River





The Arroyo Seco

MY CITY 1916




Profile for mycityis

"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