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Crosstown Bruins Recognize the Importance of Downtown

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2007, at 08:09AM

Tuesday night I attended a UCLA event at the Music Center. 500 people, mostly graduates of the university, attended to mingle and hear from speakers that included Councilman Jack Weiss and Chancellor Norman Abrams.

The program included a presentation on the Urban Simulation Team's Virtual LA, and I was particularly interested to see that (always on the lookout for ways to push my ideas on Downtown's artificial geography, I guess). They've created a model representation of Los Angeles, including a fairly comprehensive version of Downtown. AEG in particular has used Virtual LA to model different design iterations for LA Live, allowing company and city officials to really feel the concepts before they're chosen and built. The team is also getting a visit today from the US Olympic Committee, in town to listen to LA's pitch for the 2016 games.

All that was really just a hook to bring people out and pitch them the real idea of the night. UCLA's location on the west side has meant that its networking circles Downtown have been traditionally weak. There haven't been the established mentoring and networking programs that you might expect in the downtown nearest a major university. Now they're looking to change that, and this night was a chance to pitch people already successfully working Downtown about getting involved.

To me that says great things about how the Downtown revitalization is going. Downtown is starting to become the place to be, and UCLA recognizes that and wants to get involved. Even as a Trojan, that's something I can support.

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