In 2030, Van Nuys is expected to complete perhaps as much as $3 billion dollars in new construction. Offices, apartments, multi-family dwellings, parks, schools, health care facilities, all of it is going into that area between Oxnard and Sherman Way along Van Nuys Boulevard.
A light rail line, carrying 50,000 passengers a day, travels down Van Nuys Boulevard, and a unique partnership of politicians, multi-national industries, local artisans, architects, planners and residents has come together to upgrade and invest in the area.
The Republican Mayor, Juanita Sanchez Garbanzo (b.1988), elected in 2028, is the daughter of immigrants, and is a strong, well-educated, imaginative leader who lived in Los Angeles during its worst period from 2010-2025, when trash camping by tens of thousands of derelicts was promoted by city government, and astonishingly, all types of illegalities were turned into law among them health care benefits for non-citizens, and voting privileges and drivers licenses for unlawful residents.
Sanchez-Garbanzo, and her wife, Alexa Siri O’Really are the proud parents of two self-described young boys, Martian, 3 and Vendo, 5, and live in one of the new developments along Van Nuys Boulevard near Kittridge. “We don’t think being a gay couple means supporting policies that make the city a slum. In fact we believe that being progressive means encouraging small business, and plenty of new housing for all people,” Alexa said. “We believe that law abiding citizens who respect each other and the city are the foundation of a civilized nation.”
Crime has dropped significantly since the the LAPD added 25 new officers in Van Nuys and boosted the Los Angeles police force by 5,000. Security cameras monitor people who walk and drive in the area, and there has been a drop of 75% in felonies and misdemeanors since traffic enforcement raised moving violations fines to $4,000 for red-light running and $2,500 for speeding. Van Nuys Boulevard has also benefited from bike lanes, and traffic modifications that put walking, biking and light rail in the same category as private vehicles.
One of the interesting multi-cultural additions to the area are Koban stations which are LAPD booths modeled on Japanese style law enforcement. They are inserted into the street life, rather than the old LAPD station in Van Nuys which stood half a mile back from Van Nuys Boulevard in a forbidding building. The idea for the Koban stations came from Lisa Kinoshita-Horowitz, an architect from Reseda who studied law and architecture in Kyoto in the 2020s. She brought the idea home to LA and proposed it to her good friends, the Mayor and her wife.
With investment strong in Van Nuys, and the whole area coming along as an experiment in density, bike/train/walkability, real estate values are booming. Houses that sold for only $4 million last year, are now going for $6.5 or even $7 million. But there are also some 11,000 new housing units for rent in the area, and landlords are offering three months free rent to new tenants.
23-year-old writer and cyber security actor Gretchen Dynamanski grew up in rural Nebraska but always dreamed of living in LA. She was thrilled to find a community of young, creative people in Van Nuys and the fact that she can get around the city without a car, and even ride to LAX by light rail and monorail convinced her to move to Van Nuys. “I think Van Nuys is probably the most gorgeous section of LA and I love what they are doing here,” she said.
Mayor Sanchez-Garbanzo says part of the reason Van Nuys is thriving is because the mayor herself lives right here. “When you are in power, frankly, it’s important to put yourself right in the area where you can make a difference. Someone offered me a mansion in Hancock Park, and I turned it down. I want to be where I can help my constituents and live with them on a day to day basis and know what struggles and what triumphs they are experiencing. As a mother and a wife and a professional, I share those stresses and hopes and dreams with all my beloved people in Van Nuys. And I am thrilled that our work has really paid off!”
(All photos in this essay come from the website Architizer.)