THE PEOPLE OF OUR CITY:  a summer series by Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA

style="border:Are you curious to learn more about the individuals who work in city government?  

Over the course of the summer, as a way for our membership of 3200+ architects and designers to further connect with the people that work for public agencies in the Los Angeles region, I am reaching out to a few dozen government employees and asking them each to share their personal thoughts about architecture, design and what Los Angeles means to them as a place.

Over the course of the next several months, we will feature these short profiles to further inspire a dialogue with our design community about the personal contributions we all make to the public realm.

If you'd like to share your thoughts or have suggestions for individuals that you'd like to hear from, please contact me at Will{at}

Jaime de la Vega

General Manager, City of Los Angeles Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT)

How long have you worked for the City of Los Angeles:  
Since 1993.

What project are you working on right now that you're most excited about?
We’re in the process of transitioning from a department focused on cars to one focused on people, meaning a growing emphasis on transit, bicycle, and pedestrian infrastructure.

Describe some of your favorite features that give Los Angeles a sense of place:  
Stony Point Park in the far northwest corner of the city.  A great place to rock climb, boulder, scramble, and catch vistas of the entire San Fernando Valley. Point Dume state beach (Malibu).  Sand, surf, rock climbing, whales, and sunset.  I live in a suburban part of the city but work downtown in a Thom Mayne building and get to see historic and current architecture every day.

What's your daily connection to architecture and design like?
LADOT processes architectural and engineering plans, but on a daily basis we are designing how the city’s streets operate to support mobility, commerce, and a sense of place.

In your opinion, what makes Los Angeles "Los Angeles"?
LA is about infinite potential and opportunity.  There are different neighborhoods for every taste. You can eat almost any cuisine at any time.  You can have the most urban experience or be just minutes away from the beaches, mountains, and other hidden natural gems in and near the city.

It's the year 2113 - describe what you see from the front steps of City Hall:
I would recommend seeing LA from the 26th floor observation deck of City Hall, both today and in 2113.  From City Hall you will see concentrated development near the region’s emerging rail network, hopefully significantly cleaner air, and the same sense of optimism that is at the heart of LA.  Maybe a flying car or two.

In your opinion, who is tomorrow's most interesting Angeleno?
Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti.  He will have the single most influence on how the city and its transportation system will develop over the next eight years, which will impact LA for decades to come.

What's your favorite building/ place in the world?
I don’t have one, but here are three amazing places: the Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles (see the movie Bladerunner); the waterfalls of Iguaçu in Brazil/Argentina; and Los Angeles City Hall.
Last updated: 25-Jun-2013 11:44 AM
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