Results of Urban Design Brain Storming Session

On Wednesday August 25, 2010 a group of 24 TEDxers enjoyed an evening of discussion and debate around the ideas of good Urban Design.

Following the TED Talks we broke into six groups that discussed urban design that they liked and disliked.

Here is the summary of the points discussed.

Good Existing Urban Design

Walk Streets – Strong communities emerge from the close proximity and the car free streets.

Strand – A great place to walk or run and watch the world.

Wood Chip Walkway – Another great place to walk, meet people and exercise dogs.

Sepulveda Median – Replanting has improved the visual appearance of the street.

Bad Existing Urban Design

Downtown Manhattan Beach – Could be improved by removing the cars and turning the section from the ocean to the Valley / Ardmore area into a pedestrian street

Rosecrans / Highland Intersection – The area is congested, confusing and the parking structure dominates the corner.

Manhattan Village Mall – Needs a retrofit with the parking placed under the ground and mixed use buildings added. Westfield has created various malls that are great places to be.

Big Box Retail – Many stores are ugly and negatively impact the local environment.

Sepulveda Boulevard – Perhaps the ugliest street in town. If the road was buried the space on top could be turned into the heart of the city.

Lack of Street Cafes – Creating social spaces that allow and encourage people to meet to talk, drink and eat.

Lack of Bike Lanes – To improve life the city needs to have a network of safe bike paths and sidewalks. If it is attractive to walk or bike more people will do it. If it is dangerous they will stay in their cars.

No Community Gardens – Some of the under used parking lots should be turned into community gardens.

Big Unknowns

Hearing the Voice of Non-Motorists – Planning decisions should consider the needs of all stakeholders and that includes walkers and cyclists.

Downtown Manhattan Beach Vons – The redevelopment of this property could improve or ruin the down town area. Little is known about the plans for the property.

Big Questions

Without public transportation it is hard to redesign the city to be less orientated about the car. Public transportation removes the need for large amounts of parking and reduces congestion. Without addressing transportation it is hard to decide how best to redesign the city.

Could the congestion be reduced by adjusting peoples work schedules so that we do not have two distinct rush hours.

Changes may impact city and business revenue for the better or the worse.

Can visitors be attracted to downtown for reasons other than retail, perhaps education and performing arts.


Many items were discussed and the above is based on the notes I have. I probably missed about half of the good ideas. Sorry. Email me or comment if I missed something.

Tickets on Sale for August Social

TEDxManhattanBeach is pleased to announce our fifth monthly social.


Wednesday August 25, 2010.


6:00 p.m. Registration and networking – we will be providing beer, wine and a light dinner.

7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Recorded TED Talks on the theme of Community Design.

8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Discussion, networking and more beer and wine (if any is left).

Community Design

Community Design will explore the ideas that link architecture, zoning and street lay out decisions with community interactions and happy people. Why do we choose to go some places just to enjoy the location and why do we avoid other places. How major roads prevent or impede walkers and cyclists.

Community Design incorporates some of the theme ideas from the brain storming session at the TEDxManhattanBeach Social on August 4, 2010. Specifically the idea about Community Design is how our design decisions impact transportation, education, slow food, obesity, families, isolation, community and lots more. We hope that the conversation will help us all create a better community for us to all enjoy living in.


The event is free to attend. We will be asking, at the door, for a $10 / person contribution towards the cost of the beer, wine and food that we will be providing.

The courtyard at the hotel is outside and has a capacity for only 50 people.


The event will be held at the Hawthorn Suites, 1817 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.

Parking and Transportation

Please park across the street as the hotel is expected to be full and the guests have priority for parking.

If you can carpool, bike or walk to the event everyone will benefit 🙂


If you have any questions please email us at

Ideas for Future Events

On Wednesday August 4, 2010 a group of 39 TEDxers enjoyed an evening of Creativity. Prior to the presentation we had an amazing hour of music from Patrick’s Band.

Following the TED Talks we broke into seven groups and brainstormed ideas for future TEDxManhattanBeach events. I have named the groups after colors for reasons that are unknown. I have listed the ideas (based on the notes that were given to me) and linked to TED Talks, YouTube and Wikipedia on the subjects when I found a video or article that appealed to me (in other words no real science). If you have suggestions for links or articles please add a comment or send an email with a link to the TED Talk, other video or article.

I am really excited about all the ideas and we will use these ideas to build our future sessions – thank you everyone.

Here is the summary of the brainstorming session.

Group Blue
Garment Industry and Fashion
Eating Locally and the Slow Food Movement

Group Red
Monkey Moms (women with per chimpanzees at pets)
The Illuminati / Bilderberg Group
Cutting Edge Trends in Technology – e.g. payments using cell phones
Obesity – Why is it an epidemic?
Haiti Update
Community Volunteers
Promoting Safe Driving

Group Yellow
How we learn
Love – the power and science of love
Power of Music
Intelligent Naivete

Group Green
Harmony – How do people of diversity find this?
Motel Kids

Group Purple
Design like you give a damn
Education and Teaching
Cancer and medical breakthroughs
Micro Lending
New Frontier Exploration
Rebuilding Communications

Group Brown
Positive Technology
Social Networking, Isolation and the Impact on Values
Online Games
Reduction in Life Expectancy
God versus Science
Slow Food

Group Orange
Communications in the Future – What does that look like?
Growing Up Digital – Lack of one-on-one communications
Bite-Size Servings of Personal Interaction and how that is affecting our culture
Out Sourcing the Education of Math’s and Science

Which Suggestions Should We Select?
For the next social on Wednesday August 25, 2010 we will be focused on the ideas that could help us in Community Design. This incorporates the theme ideas from above of transportation, education, slow food, obesity, families, isolation, community and perhaps some more.