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Jack Skelley has over 25 years of experience at publications ranging from Harper’s magazine to the Los Angeles Times. He specializes in issues surrounding urban design, including architecture, real estate and urban planning. A senior partner at Paolucci Communication Arts, Skelley edits the firm’s “marketeering and urbaneering” e-newsletter and blog, The Hot Sheet. He serves on the Executive Committee of Urban Land Institute, Los Angeles and writes frequently for FORM, Urban Land and Riviera magazine, where he is a Contributing Writer. Other publications include Los Angeles magazine, LAist.com, Angeleno, Riviera Interiors, L.A. Weekly, Wired, Salon, Buzz, PlanNetizen.com, California Homes and California magazine. He is an active blogger on Politico, Curbed L.A., and Huffington Post.

Skelley recently co-edited a book, Los Angeles, Building the Polycentric City, for Congress for the New Urbanism. At Los Angeles Downtown News he served in a series of top positions, including Executive Editor and Associate Publisher.

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Jack Skelley

Entries in Jack Skelley (3)

Tuesday
Nov232010

Chris Burden's Hot Wheels Auto-Urbanism Coming to LACMA

Artist Chris Burden gave conceptual art a real shot in the arm back in 1971 when he had someone fire a rifle at him. Since then he’s evolved into creating elaborate, entertaining museum-scale installations. The latest, coming soon to Los Angeles County Museum of Art is “Metropolis II.” It includes 1,200 custom-designed Hot Wheels-style cars and 18 lanes; 13 toy trains and tracks; and buildings made of wood block, tiles, Legos and Lincoln Logs. Burden’s crew is completing the installation at his Topanga studio, according to LACMA. Check out the video and you can see the scale and significance of the artwork: It seems to capture the multitudes of autos in today’s cities, but its tiny toyishness puts the experience in an aloof – perhaps absurdist – perspective.

-Jack Skelley

Monday
Nov082010

Urbanists Notice That Arcade Fire Rocks 'The Suburbs'

The hot-selling new album by Arcade Fire, The Suburbs, has caught the attention of the urban-design community. (The title song is the video above.) It’s a series of anthemic explorations of the complications suburbs are for most of us: not just a near-universal living experience, but a state of mind: nostalgia and freedom mixed with paralysis and decay. On the negative side, songs such as “Wasted Hours” explain: “First they built the road, then they built the town / That’s why we’re all driving around and around.” Or even more frighteningly, in “City With No Children,” singer Win Butler despairs of privatization: “I feel like I’ve been living in / a city with no children in it, / a garden left for ruin by a millionaire inside a private prison.”

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Tuesday
Oct122010

‘Densification’ Sounds More Appealing in an English Accent

CNN’s Richard Quest (Quest Means Busines) has new a series on problematic urban centers around the world. Guess which troubled berg made the list? Los Angeles stars in this recent installment with the veddy British Quest reciting L.A.’s standard list of shortcomings: dozens of cities in search of a center; unwalkable, unsustainable. It’s all true, of course, and architect Michael Maltzan and ULI Los Angeles’ Katherine Perez give good advice. The most palatable, most opportune solution is urban infill: Increasing density by building in already built-up areas. But why can’t Quest find where infill has already blossomed? Dozens of urban centers from Santa Ana to Santa Monica have vibrant mini-cities, where – even in our current recessionary disaster – economies have managed to survive if not thrive . And they’re much more livable than Quest’s L.A. clichés suggest.

--Jack Skelley