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Help Make Our Next Magazine. The Cities Issue: Starring L.A. Help Make Our Next Magazine. The Cities Issue: Starring L.A.

Help Make Our Next Magazine. The Cities Issue: Starring L.A.

by Patrick James
February 12, 2011


Welcome to the diary of our creative process for issue 023 of GOOD. We hope you'll collaborate with us.

The magic hour is upon us. We're already knee deep in ideas for the next edition of our humble print magazine, but it's time to dive in. We need a flood of ideas, and as is now the custom, we're asking for your help. Here's an introduction to theme of the issue, which will explore the future of cities by studying the concrete behemoth that is Los Angeles.

The Cities Issue: Starring Los Angeles
As much as any city in the world, Los Angeles is a product of the 20th Century, from its infrastructure to its industries to its insistence on doing everything it does with the help of a car. The challenges facing L.A. are the same as those facing any city in the developed world—just more so. The question is: How do we turn a sprawling 20th century beast into the city of the 21st century? If we can do it here, we can do it anywhere.

Throughout the issue, we're examining the challenges of the coming century—from how we educate our children to how we treat the most vulnerable of our neighbors to how we coexist peacefully—through the lens of Los Angeles.

L.A. is a city whose roads are plagued with congestion, yet it boasts the second highest public transit ridership in the nation. It is a land of competition, and a land of contradiction: a coastal, sun-bleached desert surrounded by mountains; a land of cultural ill-repute that's also the backbone of the entertainment industry; a muse for everyone from Nathaniel West to Raymond Chandler to Joan Didion to Jonathan Gold. It's a staging ground for some of the most architecturally stunning houses in the world, yet its homeless population is the most numerous in America. As BLDGBlog's Geoff Manaugh once wrote, "Los Angeles is the confrontation with the void. It is the void."

But staring into the void, we sometimes find inspiration. For every story of woe in this city, there's another of hope. This is where you come in. We need you to do one of two things:

1. Steal this idea. Tell us about your favorite Los Angeles-based person, business, organization, or movement working creatively to solve a problem. Ideally, their method or concept is something that could inspire people in other cities, even if it's not an exact template. Here's an example: Common Ground and the 100,000 Homes campaign are working with the United Way and the L.A. Housing Authority to find and house the most vulnerable homeless people in the city (and the nation).

2. Fix this problem. Tell us about an L.A. problem—be it catastrophic or relatively small—that you want to see fixed. You don't need to have a solution in mind. Here's one: Because of budget cuts, the Watts Towers, the architectural treasures standing tall in South L.A., face a future without caretakers and the Watts Towers Arts Center is in need of funding.*

We'll do our best to include as many problems and solutions as possible in the pages of the next issue. If enough people read it, then maybe those good ideas will spread—and some of those problems will start getting fixed.

Please post ideas in the comments below.

Thanks. We couldn't do it without you.

*UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times reports that the James Irvine Foundation just pledged $500,000 to help repair and preserve the towers.

Image adapted from a photo (cc) by Flickr user radworld

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