I was on the Facebook GrowLA page last week and came across something that made me ask, _can a developer make a building so ugly even a YIMBY can’t love it_? (Roughly analogous to the old test o’ faith can God make a rock so heavy even He can’t lift it?) And the answer, apparently, is yes.
It was on this post I saw a collection of images shot by a Mr. David Schumacher—here’s some:
These are all down around USC. Most of Schumacher’s shots are of near-identical Tripalink structures. You have to look twice before you realize oh, right, these are in fact different buildings.
I’ll bet you a Coke that’s fake grass
Unbelievably, the YIMBYs thought their own beloved mid-block ultra-dense max-height econobox cubes were, for once, less than appealing:
If, at the outset, you’re asking what is a YIMBY? that stands for Yes In My Backyard, meaning they are anti-NIMBY, who don’t want development in their backyard. YIMBYs want development in your backyard; there’s no actual evidence they’ll accept it in theirs. They’re the sort who pee themselves a little with glee and break into song when, for example, single family zoning is eradicated:
But predictably, enough is never enough:
They also invariably refer to NIMBYs as “boomer NIMBYs”.
I can assure Mr. Sanchez, there are a lot of his Millenial brethren who are fans of a human-scale Los Angeles. In fact, the NIMBY comes in all forms, and you might read more about them here and here and here.
But what of these bilious buildings which elicited such a response?
As I said, many down by USC are built by Tripalink. Tripalink is based in Los Angeles, building primarily for Chinese USC students. “It is our mission to establish a truly co-living neighborhood, to redefine the experience of living overseas” which they do through building multi-unit co-living set-ups. In this article, Tripalink CEO Donghao Li uses phrases like “the value of connectivity fostered by Co-living community” and “Co-living is the trendiest lifestyle in recent years” resulting in a “supreme living experience”…and pairs it with this image:
Which may raise the question, what is co-living exactly? Simply put, it’s teaching young people to live with less. Instead of having an apartment with a bathroom and kitchenette, say, they have their little bedroom, with a communal kitchen and toilet down the hall. Modern co-living stems primarily from Dutch communism in the 1960s, from which springs lots of lofty words about sharing and connection and such. Ultimately it’s people getting the Youth of Today accustomed to their Glorious Tomorrow: tighter space, fewer amenities, on the pretext of combatting loneliness, and being cheap. I suppose there should be something charming about a return to Dickensian living but I’m not seeing it. I thought part of the the appeal of Los Angeles was to escape the tenements of the east…though in this case I guess I refer to tong lau, and not the Lower East Side.
But anyway. Let’s look at some recent losses. Here at 1476 West 37th Place, god forbid we have a lovely 1910 home on a tree-filled corner lot:
Or here at 1601 West 35th Place, God save us from another one of those dreaded Single Family Homes!
Right smack in the middle of the block consisting of one-story homes, like most Tripalink projects
And this one's just across the street from that one—
And this one's around the corner, also mid-block:
Of course the disingenuous chuckleheads at Curbed have for years been saying stuff like:
But imagine my shock, YIMBYs are certainly not fine with with allowing that, and as we’ve seen again and again and again and again and again, it’s been by and large five-story buildings with no parking right in the middle of side streets. (But nice thing about Tripalink? Hey, at least they’re only three-story buildings.)
To which I might add, in looking at the images shot by Mr. Schumacher, they seem to feature a decided lack of flora. Likely because the City has bent over backward to allow developers to not plant trees. This, despite the immense amount we have lost recently; I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of their benefits.
Those, then, are my musings on seeing a simple Facebook post from our demo-happy, density-disposed pals over at GrowLA. Cheers!
About Nathan Marsak
NATHAN MARSAK says: “I came to praise Los Angeles, not to bury her. And yet developers, City Hall and social reformers work in concert to effect wholesale demolition, removing the human scale of my town, tossing its charm into a landfill. The least I can do is memorialize in real time those places worth noting, as they slide inexorably into memory. In college I studied under Banham. I learned to love Los Angeles via Reyner’s teachings (and came to abjure Mike Davis and his lurid, fanciful, laughably-researched assertions). In grad school I focused on visionary urbanism and technological utopianism—so while some may find the premise of preserving communities so much ill-considered reactionary twaddle, at least I have a background in the other side. Anyway, I moved to Los Angeles, and began to document. I drove about shooting neon signs. I put endless miles across the Plains of Id on the old Packard as part of the 1947project; when Kim Cooper blogged about some bad lunch meat in Compton, I drove down to there to check on the scene of the crime (never via freeway—you can’t really learn Los Angeles unless you study her from the surface streets). But in short order one landmark after another disappeared. Few demolitions are as contentious or high profile as the Ambassador or Parker Center; rather, it is all the little houses and commercial buildings the social engineers are desperate to destroy in the name of the Greater Good. The fabric of our city is woven together by communities and neighborhoods who no longer have a say in their zoning or planning so it’s important to shine a light on these vanishing treasures, now, before the remarkable character of our city is wiped away like a stain from a countertop. (But Nathan, you say, it’s just this one house—no, it isn’t. Principiis obsta, finem respice.) And who knows, one might even be saved. Excelsior!””
Nathan’s blogs are: Bunker Hill Los Angeles, RIP Los Angeles & On Bunker Hill.