Woods Bagot is delighted to present this preview edition of our multiyear research and design initiative, Renewing the Dream: The Mobility Revolution and the Future of Los Angeles, produced in association with our experience consultancy, ERA-co, and edited by James Sanders, FAIA, who serves as our Global Design Council Chair.

Renewing the Dream seeks to explore one of the most momentous trends of the 21st century: the extraordinary changes underway in transportation and mobility, which, with each passing year, are reshaping the landscape of cities around the world. The study focuses on a single, extraordinary place—Los Angeles, which pioneered the model that swept across the globe after World War II.

In recent years this traditional “California dream” has been fundamentally challenged by powerful forces and trends—from the collective impact of the region’s traditional low-density way of life, almost entirely dependent on the automobile, which has brought on one crisis after another, to the restless advance of technology, supercharged by leaps in digital innovation and harnessed to transportation as never before, which is bringing forth nothing less than a revolution in mobility.

Renewing the Dream represents one of the first sustained efforts to provide a rigorous yet accessible understanding of this many-sided transformation: not only the changes rapidly remaking urban mobility itself but their impact on Los Angeles—especially the opportunities to re-appropriate land for uses that are socially and economically valuable as well as architecturally appealing.

Renewing the Dream builds on public programs focused on Southern California that Woods Bagot has been developing over the years, including MORE LA: From Parking to Places in Southern California, a research study and workshop held in 2020, and Pump to Plug, a 2020 symposium organized by Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer of the City of Los Angeles.

This preview edition includes a sampling of four contributions by the studio’s own teams as well as distinguished contemporary observers of Los Angeles, including the critic Frances Anderton and the planner Mark Vallianatos. Because of the crucial role that L.A. has played for the better part of a century—as pioneer of influential new ways of living in and moving around a city—we believe our research and design projects will have resonance not only in Southern California but in urban regions all around the globe, helping to reshape the way we envision the future of cities as a whole.