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LESSONS

FORM

the Planning Profession’s Century of Lessons Learned

Old Lessons of Form The following assumptions about the basic requirements of a modern city were used in the planning of Pasadena. Over time, especially during the post WWII building boom, many fell out of favor. Today most of them are being revitalized.

CIVIC SPACES Among the characteristics that make Pasadena a great city is its grand Civic Center. The courtyards and grand arcades of its Classical Mediterranean City Hall, Central Library and Civic Auditorium, serve as the embodiment of Pasadena’s open democracy and a source of civic stature and pride.

GREENBELTS AND OPEN SPACE In 1912, the vision of a greenbelt park system joining “the mountains to the sea” left a legacy of parks on the Arroyo Seco. It has since been paved with a concrete channel and pieces lost. Pasadena’s Civic Center suffered a similar fate. Since the 1990s, the city has worked to revitalize the Arroyo, a great start for planning.

“A CITY HOME FOR THE LIFE OF ITS PEOPLE” In 1916 “My City” presented “A Vision of the City Plan” that included “small parks and restful places, with frequent neighborhood centers made up of schools, playgrounds, branch libraries and swimming pools and family parks for picnic suppers.” A century later the effects of this endeavor can still be found in Pasadena.

CONVENTIONAL ZONING AND SEGREGATION BY USE Isolating industry from residential areas, later separating shopping and office districts has characterized zoning and modern planning. Today, the limitations of this once sensible approach can be found in many suburbs, office parks, and shopping malls that have proved to be sterile and isolating (p.71).

RESTORATION AND REVITALIZATION After over 30 blocks of downtown Pasadena were lost to redevelopment, the remaining core was finally preserved. Today, it is hard to believe the same structures that helped reverse the decline of downtown—including Castle Green, the Colorado Street Bridge and even City Hall—were once in danger of demolition.

THE INFUSION OF ARTISTIC ENERGY A century ago, when Pasadena’s planners viewed the city as a kind of “people’s home,” architecture was imbued with a richness of detailing and feeling of care that persists to this day. After the decline of downtown, cheap rents attracted artists and with them an infusion of energy that helped to revitalize Old Pasadena.

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CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRO

MY CITY 1916

MAIN ST.

TODAY

LESSONS

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
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