Segment | Billboard Confidential

Kaplan: On Billboards

Sam Hall Kaplan, the former design critic for the Los Angeles Times and an Emmy-award winning former reporter for Fox News, praises billboards and says it is time for the select entertainment districts of the city to sparkle with an array of brilliant, blinking conceits that will mark L.A. as the creative capital of the world.

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I think hearing Sam Hall Kaplan is a fresh point of view. He brings new ideas for people to think about.

I remember Sam Hall Kaplan when he was on Fox News. It's good to have him back. He always has an interesting angle.

Sam is an original all right. He gets me thinking every time. OK, billboard signs in certain districts work, places like entertainment districts, NYC's Times Square, or those in Tokyo or Las Vegas. These give us good models of pulse quickening energy that mark a city as alive.

Where could they work in Los Angeles? West Hollywood already works well. The Hollywood district would probably benefit from more high tech signage in strategic areas. The new downtown around Staples Center. The San Fernando Valley's Ventura Boulevard in certain stretches has potential. Then there is the nostalgia of the old neon signs in the Mid-Wilshire District, reminiscent of Raymond Chandler's noir mysteries.

Just as I would support the above examples, I would just as vigorously go after the huge signs in or near non-entertainment commercial business districts or especially residential areas. The massive sign intrusions outside apartment buildings are an abomination.

So it all depends on where the signs are. Concentrated signs that pick up themes of fun and entertainment are a marvel of enlivening energy. Isolated signs in inappropriate places ought not be allowed to intrude.

Interesting idea from an experienced architect and urban planner - modern billboards that coordinate with the new image and stuctures of downtown LA.

Corporate advertising as a way to bring the city together? "[public spaces where LA can] share an experience.." of looking at ads? Seriously? The Hollywood sign is "stale"? Mr. Kaplan, you're so far off the mark it's laughable. When you decide a city is better off slathered in high-tech commercial come-ons than interesting public spaces with artwork or architecture, you're not worth listening too. Those billboards you tout have to block the view of, or cover the side of something. Apparently, LA doesn't have anything worth looking at.

Manuael T has it EXACTLY RIGHT in his comment: Corporate advertising as a way to bring the city together? "[public spaces where LA can] share an experience.." of looking at ads? Seriously? The Hollywood sign is "stale"? Mr. Kaplan, you're so far off the mark it's laughable. When you decide a city is better off slathered in high-tech commercial come-ons than interesting public spaces with artwork or architecture, you're not worth listening too. Those billboards you tout have to block the view of, or cover the side of something. Apparently, LA doesn't have anything worth looking at.

Sam Hall Kaplan’s perspective presents a winning solution for this city. I’m in favor of signage districts and more regulation outside of them. I would love to see more flashing LED signs and billboards around the Staples Center and less commercial assaults near the beach. Sunset Blvd be would not be the same without billboards. Let’s not forget much of LA’s economy is about selling image.

‘Tinsel Town’ does have the possibility to really sparkle. Thanks Sam.

I'm NOT in favor of the sign "districts". I live in Miracle Mile and have a horrid 20 story ad I can see from my apartment that's also LIT UP AT NIGHT. We don't need more light pollution and advertisements to make L.A. vibrant. What a load of crock!