The Dingbat, which has long been a residential icon of the Los Angeles area, is direly in need of an update. Transportation and congestion are some of the greatest obstacles that Los Angeles faces today and the traditional Dingbat fails to respond to these problems in many ways. Not only has the limited capacity (6-8 households per building) proven insufficient in accommodating the rapidly increasing population and thus exacerbating already problematic sprawl, but the back-out parking spaces traversing the sidewalks create unfriendly and hazardous walking conditions for pedestrians making the already difficult journey to public transit even more of a challenge.
The new Dingbat 2.0 is an evolved prototype of its predecessor and at the same time the centerpiece to a new urban planning typology named “Pleasantville.” Dingbat 2.0 responds to the rising population of the Los Angeles area by accommodating almost triple the numbers of units and thus helping to reduce further sprawl. The buildings are shifted toward the street, which are turned into vehicle-only streets, to maximize the width of the previous back alley which is landscaped into a lush pedestrian passageway. From an urban perspective, dedicated passageways for pedestrians will ensure safer and more attractive conditions for them to access public transit nodes, which in turn will help reduce dependence on private vehicle usage.
Architecturally, what set dingbats apart from other housing typologies were the dedicated parking space allocated to each unit and the individuality given to each building through unique decorative elements adorning each facade. As the successor to this cultural and architectural icon, Dingbat 2.0 continues to provide an architecture that is unique and reflective of the lifestyle of the residents. Only, instead of the arbitrary decorative elements and names typical of traditional dingbats, each unit is equipped with an automated parking space attached to the vehicle side of the building, creating a real-time matrix of vehicles that can be used to easily identify the building. After all, the city of Los Angeles has evolved to become car-dependant. What began as a necessity has developed into a culture in itself. With so many hours of the day spent in traffic, the car is as much a dwelling as the home and furthermore a defining element of one’s lifestyle. Thus, while the dependence may be reduced in Pleasantville, the culture of the car is not only maintained but proudly displayed as a symbol of individuality.
Between the higher density, pedestrian friendliness and easy access to public transit, Pleasantville features the perfect condition for development of public transit infrastructure and a sustainable urbanism, all while maintaining the unique, regional character of the dingbat.