A Great Wall on Burbank.


“Building-to-street proportion is the relationship between the height of buildings on either side of a street and the width between those buildings. An ideal proportion between these two creates a pleasant and visually interesting public realm. The public realm, therefore, may be considered as an “outdoor room” that is shaped by 
the “walls” of the…

The RV Encampment


Parked along Tujunga Avenue in North Hollywood, on the east side of the park, between Magnolia and Riverside, a remarkable new residential community of homeless people has been established in a line of permanently parked RVs. Visible and egregious, with their reflective cardboard stuffed inside windshields to cool down the metal houses in the summer…

“This is the club where Bing Crosby belongs….”


Some of the enormous, picturesque, and historic postcard collection amassed by Tommy Gelinas and his Valley Relics has passed through my hands. The San Fernando Valley, only 100 years ago a largely agricultural area, dotted with newly established towns, became the fastest growing part of the United States in the 15 years after WWII. Postcards from…

Foley’s Donuts and North Hollywood (via Japan and Vancouver)


On a recent visit to Vancouver, I met a naturalized Canadian named Christopher Foley, who by coincidence comes from a family that settled into the San Fernando Valley in the early 1930s. Chris lived in both the SFV and San Francisco and later emigrated to British Columbia. He showed me, in his digital scrapbook, some…

Holiday Inn Express, North Hollywood.


One of the strangest juxtapositions of new development and old crap can be seen in the San Fernando Valley east of Lankershim on Burbank. A new six-story Holiday Inn Express is going up on the south side of Burbank Blvd. within view of the “arts district” yet firmly within the auto zone of muffler, tire,…

Lankershim and Victory: 1930


83-years-ago, the San Fernando Valley was an all together different place than today. Rural and urban, it was dotted with Spanish style gas stations, grocery stores, small houses; orange and walnut groves, neatly designed and well-kept businesses, with swept curbs and gracefully articulated architecture. Store signs were designed to fit into architecture and each letter…