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Los Angeles River reflects late afternoon light as it flows beneath the Soto Street Bridge in Boyle Heights. (Los Angeles Times)

How do we build a more livable Los Angeles?

WT24 Desk

Good morning, everyone. This is Matthew Fleischer, Web editor of the Times’ Opinion section, filling in for Paul Thornton,Latimes reports.  Los Angeles has long been known as the city of traffic and smog—but that’s finally starting to change. With a rapidly expanding rail network, and plans in place to revitalize the L.A. River and build hundreds of miles of new bike paths throughout the city, L.A. is in the midst of a complete reinvention—aimed at making the city a more livable, people-friendly place.

This past week, Opinion launched a new series called Livable City, devoted to examining the roadblocks and realities of moving L.A. as close to that goal as possible. So what makes a city livable, anyway?

The answer, of course, is that there is no single right answer. Ideas about livability change with the times. While we all look forward to the day when Elon Musk’s pneumatic transportation tubes connect our cities with fossil-fuel-free efficiency, livability can’t simply be left to the futurists. It requires constant vigilance from all of us.

In the weeks and months to come, we’re going to be exploring the idea of what livability looks like in 21st century Los Angeles. We want to hear from readers about their expectations for their city.

It’s a pivotal time in L.A.’s history — and an exciting one.   It’s imperative we get things right.

Lewis MacAdams, the visionary behind decades of L.A. River revitalization planning, was not happy with the city’s proposal to build a 2024 Olympic Village on a sensitive patch of river-adjacent land. “Overnight,” he writes, “decades of consensus-building on the river’s future seemed to have disappeared.” Livable City

While the Olympics river plan may have its critics, the efforts to beautify another long-neglected riverside space got good news this week. California has agreed to chip in $25 million to help purchase and restore a 42-acre tract of land known as “G2” along the L.A. River. L.A. Times

Why is downtown L.A.’s Pershing Square so hated? Because it’s a rare public space that was built for cars instead of people. L.A. Times

Affordable housing is on the lips of mayors across the country. But: “If policymakers and activists are serious about getting housing prices down,” writes Matt Welch, “they need to acknowledge their own role in bidding the market up.” L.A. Times

The community surrounding Crenshaw Boulevard in South L.A. is one of the country’s great African American enclaves—home to generations of artists and musicians. Is it in danger of being gentrified into oblivion? Livable City

Want to weigh in? Please send any feedback you have about this newsletter to letters@latimes.com or tweet us @latimesopinion.

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