The Land: The Man with The Plan

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Out on Catalina. Irvine Ranch is the biggest job in Pereira's bulging portfolio, but it is crowded by others. On 22-mile-long Catalina Island, which Pereira is completely reorganizing for its owner, Chewing Gum Tycoon Philip K. Wrigley, the grand design leaves room for hardly any autos at all. Local transportation will be generally restricted to electric carts, which will have their own system of cartways, forbidden to automobiles. An electric tram will serve the principal city, Avalon (Pereira staffers are now in Europe studying various types of narrow-gauge railways), and the island will be dotted with small parks within 200 or 300 feet of each other. Outdoor cafés, garden apartments and single-family houses will be designed around open plazas and courtyards, and a new hotel and yacht club will be built. Southern California Edison Co. already is building new facilities at Avalon, so that power will be available when the scheme gets under way.

At Mountain Park, an untouched 11,300 acres, nearly half the size of Paris, within the city limits of Los Angeles, Pereira's design would relegate the automobile to a circular rim-road linking ten villages that cling like jewels to the slopes. To keep even this traffic to a minimum, he suggests monorail and funicular transportation and several heliports for quick, easy access to other parts of the city. Within the villages themselves, everything would be so cozily clustered that the common way of going shopping, or to school, or to sports, or to work (in the light industries and laboratories he hopes will settle there) will be on foot.

Canyons with Roofs. Actual work on the Mountain Park project awaits only the approval of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, which must authorize zoning changes. The commission is studying the daring master plan: houses cantilevered from slopes of hills; factories hidden in "caves"—actually canyons with roofs built over them; high-rise apartments sited on the crests of ridges to provide tenants spectacular views without obstructing the views of others. One breathtaking idea is a bridge crossing a canyon to link one section of the mountain roadway; Pereira suggests that the bridge be paid for with the rents from a hotel suspended under the swooping span.

Pereira sets great store by open spaces. He holds that the history of any civilization is written in its treatment of open spaces—Athens' Agora, Rome's Forum, the broad sweeps of Paris in the 19th century. And what of the 20th? Says Pereira: "While the auto was supposedly freeing the individual and his family from the asphalt jungles, our open spaces have been overpowered in much the same manner that the tropical jungle eventually mastered the great cities of the Yucatan. Take parking lots. A great deal of our open land has been withdrawn to provide parking lots. Nothing is more ugly. Parks and other open spaces restore the land to the pedestrian. These open spaces must be connected by a pedestrian way."

At Irvine, promises Pereira, "I expect to practice what I have been preaching.

The parks are there, the green ways are there, the pedestrian veins and arteries connect them." The university, says Pereira, "will be a real link between town and gown, a place intimately connected with the center of learning."

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