The revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles remains a work in progress, with the area still a patchwork of commercial and residential towers, government and cultural facilities, light manufacturing, and parking lots. Lately, its momentum has turned to its eastern fringe, a once-industrial area now dubbed the Arts District.
Aficionados of the musical West Side Story will know the New York neighborhood Lincoln Square, once called San Juan Hill, as the backdrop for the clashes between the Jets and the Sharks. But in real life, this is the part of Manhattan’s West Side that was bulldozed in the 1960s to make way for the performing-arts complex Lincoln Center.
Chicago’s gentrifying River North neighborhood is a gritty mix of older commercial and newer residential buildings. Among these is 747 North Clark Street, a 22,000-square-foot condominium completed last year.
A sympathetic design raises the bar for affordable housing in a not-so-affordable city. Affordable housing in Santa Monica sounds like an oxymoron. In 2013, the city's average monthly rent of $2,328 was the priciest in Los Angeles County. Adding insult to injury are local homeowners who fear that buildings for lower-earning households will be eyesores that drive down property values.
Adapting to a changing program, an inventive project in Seoul mixes micro and small apartments with arts-focused functions. Although they used repetitive units and simple construction in their Songpa Micro Housing in Seoul, Jinhee Park and John Hong of Single Speed Design (SsD) brought variety and style to the 5,500-square-foot project by animating the spaces in between and around the tiny apartments.
As cities wrestle with an affordable-housing crisis, some people see micro units as one option to explore. Chances are, if you live in a city, you live alone. More than half of all adults living in New York, Austin, Denver, and Seattle live by themselves; in Washington, D.C., 71 percent of adults are single.
A new condominium building in an old waterfront section of San Francisco sparks up the neighborhood with its serrated facade. 'When I was looking for an apartment, I saw the facade and immediately called my real-estate agent,' says Mark Chila, a resident of 616 20th Street in San Francisco. 'I was lucky: the condominiums were almost sold out.'
On a midblock infill site, a pristine box wrapped in layers of clean-edged metal is a stylish antidote to its surroundings. Los Angeles’ reputation as a reluctant metropolis—a city without much in the way of urban lifestyle—has been well deserved.