The interesting thing about cities the size of L.A. is that everyone makes them into a small town by virtue of their daily/weekly/monthly rituals and routines. Having lived in a loft downtown for several years, a 1950s era post-war housing project in Venice, and another in mid-city—I’ve found that my definitions for this list would vary wildly based on my commute and many other factors. At the end, the diagram of my "small town versions of L.A. would look a lot like the routes of migratory birds as mapped onto a projected globe in their interconnection and overlap, each with its own distinct destinations for different seasons. So, tradition in L.A. remains both profoundly temporal but also very much the effect of a “network city.” —Mark McVay, SmithGroup

L.A. is a city that has not been designed, therefore it has grown (and is growing) in multiple directions, this gives designers the possibilities to test, transform, and invent constantly. It is a city where all design disciplines mingle and collaborate, and not just because of shared agendas, but rather because the disciplinary boundaries have been blurred and the expertise that pertain to each one are now open and collective. At the same time academia plays a more active role in L.A., schools are more engage with practices acting as testing ground for advanced design, research and fabrication. —Florencia Pita, fpmod

Somehow the combination of the wild west and the entertainment industry in L.A. has created an atmosphere where cultural production has no limits, and isused to constant innovation. In particular, the presence of the special effects and production design industries here make anything possible, and I think we are as architects just beginning to realize the potentials of the cross-breeding with those industries. My own personal hope is that architects can begin to more fluidly shift back and forth between architectural design and film design, in terms of networking with production offices, but also in terms of actually doing cameos as film designers. —Tom Wiscombe, EMERGENT

I like working in Los Angeles because it's possible to find clients who are willing to take risks with young architects; building goes on year round and the unions do not make construction too difficult or too expensive; though the city is segregated in many ways, it feels open, and it screams for change: if you make the effort, you can help effect that change architecturally, socially, politically; one has time and opportunity here to build up a practice without too many people looking over your shoulders—there's never enough work, but there's enough for everyone with a lot of energy to get their chance. I like living in Los Angeles because it's wide open and not confining. You can take vacations in your own city - the beaches, mountains, and parks allow one to get that holiday feeling on a Saturday afternoon without traveling more than an hour; the city does not stifle or overwhelm the character of its diverse neighborhoods: for example, when you are in Koreatown, you feel like you are really in Seoul. —John Friedman, John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects

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