The Los Angeles of cicLAvia’s (and 2015 Hon. AIA|LA designee) Aaron Paley


He changed the city with bicycle pedals. 

That is, in brief, a feat of this year’s Honorary AIA|LA designee, Aaron Paley. A lifelong proponent of alternative travel inside cities, Paley is best known to the general public for his role as Co-founder and Executive Director at cicLAvia. But his bio runs so deep. 

Paley holds a B.A. in Architecture from UC Berkley (we did not know that before we wrote this lede!) He is President, Community Arts Resources. He offers a living breathing body of work that seamlessly integrates performing arts in public space into Los Angeleno’s daily lives. He created Los Angeles’ Fringe Festival, gave form to the Grand Performances at California Plaza series, and launched Yiddishkayt, founded on the premise that the culture of Eastern European Jews has a crucial role to play in our world today.  

In short, in Los Angeles, Paley is everywhere. 

Here then his responses to the Presidential Honoree Questionnaire scoping his Los Angeles first, lasts, and favorites—and including the name of a fellow Los Angeleno he looks up to. Hint—the LA River.

Celebrate Aaron at the 2015 AIA|LA Design Awards, Thursday, October 29, 2015. Purchase tickets here

AIA|LA: What was the first Los Angeles building (and relevant architect) to influence you?
Aaron Paley, Hon. AIA|LA: Hard question. Clearly, my parent’s house where I grew up in the Valley had a huge influence on me. Mid-century modern--built by an architect in 1955. Over the years, my Dad (a civil engineer with an Architecture office) remodeled the place inside and out until the original
house was almost completely gone. I think that’s a great metaphor for living in LA!

Name a Los Angeles person, place, or thing that inspires you today and tell us why (as briefly or in as great detail as you wish).
These are tough! I’m inspired by Lewis MacAdams and how he transformed his “poetry project” into the transformation of the Los Angeles River that we are all going to benefit from!

Favorite book or website/blog or Instagram feed?
It’s a toss-up between 100 Years of Solitude and Proust’s epic “In Search of Lost Time.” Both deal with memory, place, family, social milieu and friends.

What's the thing you'd most like to change about Los Angeles in the future?
I’d like Los Angeles to be car optional for everyone. Meaning, there should be great alternatives for getting around in one’s neighborhood and around town in addition to the car. That means making all of LA’s neighborhoods “complete” - great to walk in, with all the shopping, services and amenities that we all want! And, I want this to happen without displacing the amazing mix of people we have here today!

What should never change in this city?
Our culture of inventiveness and play which allows each generation to break new boundaries.

Where is your favorite place to go in LA?
Right now, it’s Little Tokyo!

Last updated: 26-Oct-2015 11:14 AM
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