We had the pleasure of visiting the three South Bay beach cities of Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach over the Christmas holiday weekend. Below are ten planning lessons learned from these charming and beautiful communities. Peace!
- Though they share a common bond through the beauty of their Pacific Ocean coastline, the three cities of Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach have distinct identities that help separate them from the vastness of Greater Los Angeles.
Esplanade nearest the buildings and The Strand Bike Trail below next to the beach
- The multi-tiered beachfront walking and biking options of the Esplanade and the Strand Bikeway were a strokes of planning and design genius. Few multi-modal networks anywhere can compare to these impressive systems.
Strand Bike Trail below and Esplanade above
- The refreshing and renewing ocean breezes off the Pacific Ocean make these three surfside communities among the most desirable in all of Southern California.
Oil terminal in El Segundo on the northern edge of Manhattan Beach – Source: maps.google.com
- The oil terminal and refinery adjacent to Manhattan Beach in EL Segundo (see Google image above) is an unfortunate scar on this otherwise lustrous landscape and is clearly an unacceptable threat to the South Bay’s environmental, ecological, economic vitality. In the exciting age of electric vehicles it is time for this dinosaur to be shut down and the site reclaimed and rehabilitated for more appropriate land uses.
- Meanwhile, since October 2021, 90 percent of all homes and businesses in Manhattan Beach have had 100 percent of their energy needs provided by clean solar and/or wind power. If only more American cities were so forward thinking and acting.
Catching a wave!
- As the birthplace of California’s surfing culture (Redondo Beach), one cannot help but be enamored by the beachcomber lifestyle and its social, cultural, and economic impacts on our country.
Sunset in Redondo Beach
- The iconic lifeguard shacks dotting the sunny beaches here are one of the quintessential images of Southern California. All of the coastal communities where they are situated should be commended for their continued care and preservation.
- Redondo Beach has done an impressive job of preserving its local seafood market and sportfishing industry – something I doubt most people outside the LA (including this blogger) area knew even existed.
Linear park in Hermosa Beach
- These three cities have found ways to maintain a feeling of openness despite their noteable urban density of 10,970 people per square mile. Having a wide open western gateway like the Pacific Ocean certainly helps, but their linear and traditional parks, lush landscape features, as well as pocket parks definitely contribute, as well.
- These three beach cities occupy less than 12 square miles of land area combined, which is remarkable given the social, economic, and cultural impacts they have on the entire 56,500 square mile Southern California region.