I went out to meet the folks behind Planetizen last night at a rooftop party near Wilshire and Western, in L.A.’s Koreatown, to celebrate the recent publication of their new book, Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning. The book has contributions from the usual suspects in today’s city planning debates, such as Joel Kotkin and Andrés Duany, and it includes a variety of short essays by other writers, critics, and practitioners, from Alex Garvin and Robert Olshansky to James Howard Kunstler, Harriet Tregoning, and Constance Beaumont.
What made the night particularly memorable, however, was that I had to park several blocks away – and so, to get back to my car in the darkness, the sun having set on Los Angeles, I found myself walking past the Aroma, a multi-level indoor golf driving range, well-lit and thriving there on a Tuesday at 9pm.
I looked up at the glowing structures of netting that surround the place, a soft-focus rectangle of light, nearly the size of a city block, only to see little white flashes like meteors – falling stars – streaking across the sky in front of me. Everything else was silent.
Then another flash – and another – as the nets at the end of the driving range rippled with the impacts.
Then more flashes.
And that artificial astronomy of tiny white spheres crossing space went on and on as I walked away.