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Interplay Volume 1: Verdant Pleasure

Interplay Volume 1: Verdant Pleasure

Editor’s Letter 

What would Los Angeles be without its storied weather? Imagine if sunshine and beaches gave way to snow and a discernible winter season. Would the city still enjoy the same stature as the prized northern capitals of Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Tokyo? In RELM’s inaugural issue of Interplay, we investigate the state of Los Angeles’ urban fabric, a key quality to any vibrant metropolis. We posit the importance a quality public realm exerts on the branded experience of a city and discuss the successes and shortcomings of LA’s extensive development boom. Are current efforts, likely to be unseen again for another century, yielding a world-class metropolis that keeps us competitive as a livable city? 

It’s a complicated analysis and naturally, as landscape architecture practitioners, we approach the question with an inherent bias. Reconciling the degradation of our streets with pockets of urban life is a milieu of promise and heartache. While there are instances celebrating landscape as destination, the primacy of urban nature and the role it plays in meeting the city’s aspirations regarding urban form, the environment, equity, and mobility continues to be underutilized. Interplay’s inaugural issue looks at what changes can be made to realize a verdant city of the future, drawing parallels to the catalytic public works projects of 17th century Paris that today, remain a gold standard for urban design and placemaking. 

“Prior to the seventeenth century, the most celebrated European city was one famous for its past… [Rome]…Then, in the seventeenth century, a new model for urban space and urban life was invented, a blueprint for all great cities to come.” 

Joan DeJean 
How Paris Became Paris