Editorial: If we want wildlife to thrive in L.A., we have to share our neighborhoods with them
Los Angeles in the early 20th century was the second-largest city in the United States. In the 1920s, the city was a “city of dreams” that was “the most spectacular thing that had ever happened to Los Angeles.”
In 1926, Los Angeles became a “modern city” with a streetcar system, a freewheeling downtown (located on Venice Boulevard between Broadway and Figueroa Street) a thriving residential district, and an all-female police force.
Today, Los Angeles is a huge city — and the biggest city in America. In 2013, the population of Los Angeles was 8.7 million. By 2050, that number will grow to 13.6 million, meaning we’ll have one tenth as many residents. And we won’t be able to say we’re just a city of dreams in 2020, either.
The problem with Los Angeles and other urban centers that are bursting at the seams with people, where every square inch seems to be under construction, is that we only have so much space in our urban neighborhoods. We are like a city that has been squeezed by a runaway truck. The city is being squeezed from all sides: By residential, commercial and manufacturing development, by new housing subdivisions, by increasing traffic, and by ever-shrinking green space.
Our lack of greenspace is bad for wildlife, and for our economy. It has become a major urban issue and a major environmental problem.
Los Angeles is, in large part, an arid city. We have lost more than 300,000 acres of parkland in the past 50 years, and we have only a million open-space acres of green space left — a fraction of the land that our city once covered. And our cities need to grow — especially as we grow.
So it makes sense that we need to come up with new ways to maintain and improve our urban space. The key is to build more green space.
So far, so good. It sounds great. But there’s a problem: It won’t happen if we don’t build it. The city is too busy and the housing market is too hot for new housing to be built, and we’re not going to build new parks or open-space