By Jesse Rosales
The Cal Poly Pomona Department of Urban and Regional Planning took over the historic Fox Theater in Downtown Pomona for the 2017 Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning colloquium Wednesday night.
The night was themed, “The Southern California Suburbs: Looking Backward and Looking Forward.”
The department also celebrated its 50th anniversary, featuring talks from each prize recipient as well as food and beverages.
USC professor Dowell Myers won the Scholar Prize, while Donald J. Waldie, an essayist and former deputy city manager of Lakewood, California, won the Practitioner Prize.
Myers is a demographer and urban planner as well as the head of the Population Dynamics Research Group.
He is an expert on demographics of southern California and researches demographic change and its implications on housing, workforce, immigration, education, taxpaying and voting.
Waldie is an essayist, editor, memoirist and translator in addition to working in city government.
He is also known for his memoir, “Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir,” in which he gives the history of the city of Lakewood and the cultural, geographical and political effects before its development and after its incorporation in 1954.
University President Soraya M. Coley gave an introduction for the night, but not without referencing recent political events.
Coley shared some history behind the award and department, beginning with, “These are not alternative facts.”
Waldie’s presentation was titled, “Imagining Suburbia.”
He gave the history on the development of Lakewood as a suburb and how aerial photography from William A. Garnnet assisted in creating the surge of working class Americans to occupy the skeletal rows of homes shown in black and white photographs.
Waldie came to the conclusion that there is no suburbia, but the memories and feelings that come from living amongst others in suburbs.
Myers followed with a presentation titled, “Knowing and Making the Future: Southern CA Suburbs at the Forefront.”
He presented data about population growth slowing down and racial diversity trends.
Myers’ talk focused on taking advantage of this slow time in growth to accurately plan for the future.
The lectures were followed by a Q&A session where the pair answered questions like, “Will millennials one day wake up with a burning desire to own a home?”
The answer is yes.
Myers explained, “Things happen as you get older. Basically, people will decide, ‘You know, I’m going to fix up a nice place to live.’ And the housing gets cheaper in the suburbs than it does in the city. You can get a bigger place. Life cycle will put pressure on people to move out towards bigger and cheaper housing and that’s usually how it works beyond busy cities.”
A banquet was held the following Thursday night at the Kellogg House Pomona.
Drinks and dinner were served as guests explored the historic home built in 1924.
Do Kim, associate professor and chair of urban and regional planning, thanked the prize winners and emphasized the importance of having their unique perspectives and how they reflect CPP’s motto of “Learn by Doing.”
“This is an enormously welcoming, warm and convivial community. It reminds me of my own suburb,” said Waldie as he accepted his award.
Both Myers and Waldie received trophies and awards of $5,000.
A GoFundMe page has been established to cover funeral costs for a Cal Poly Pomona student who died in a car accident last Tuesday.
Jesse Rosales / The Poly Post
Do Kim, associate professor and chair of urban and regional planning thanked the prize winners
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