Beyond Sustainability: A Net-Positive LA



Creative Commons Licence


Created date

December 9, 2018

Critical Commentary

This image is an infographic from the firm SOM and was described as intending to “[advance] SOM's global thinking about the city of the future.” Here, Los Angeles serves as a case-study for this interdisciplinary design firm with a goal of moving beyond a “sustainability framework” to one that is “net positive.” The color-coding of this infographic signifies the nine design principles SOM proposes in approaching this work. At the bottom lies a ‘timeline’ of LA representing 150 years -- 1900 to what would (will) be 2050. In this, the question seemingly becomes: what will  a ‘regenerated’ LA look like in 2050? This infographic is informative in that it describes the firm’s 9 general design principles for a net positive city. At the same time, it maps (literally) these principles onto the black and white, and importantly blank, graphic rendition of DTLA. By such, it seems to indicate action points, while also leaving room for opportunity, or perhaps the unknown. How does SOM’s understanding of the history of LA provide a framework for their rendition of the city’s future?


Hand, Gunnar Hauser, Roger Weber, and Nathan Bluestone. 2016. “RegenLA: Los Angeles Beyond Sustainability.” SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL LLP, December 9, 2018.