Oral Histories

Interview of Calvin S. Hamilton

Director of planning for the City of Los Angeles.
Seven Decades of Planning and Development in the Los Angeles Region: Calvin S. Hamilton
Seven Decades of Planning and Development in the Los Angeles Region
Politics and Government
Urban Planning and Land Use
Urban Planning
Biographical Note:
Director of planning for the City of Los Angeles.
Holden, Edward A.
Hamilton, Calvin S.
Persons Present:
Hamilton and Holden.
Place Conducted:
Hamilton's home in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Edward A. Holden, M.S., Public Administration and CityPlanning, University of Southern California; Consultant, City and Regional Planning; Director of Planning, Southern California Association of Governments (retired); Principal Regional Planner, Los Angeles County (retired); Chair, Board of Directors, Los Angeles Regional Planning History Group.Holden had known Hamilton since 1964 as a fellow professional city planner and had worked with him on many planning projects in the Los Angeles region. The interviewer used a resume and numerous other documents and papers provided by Hamilton in his preparation of the interview.
Processing of Interview:
Lisa Magee, editorial assistant, edited the interview. She checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed.Edward Holden reviewed the transcript. He verified proper names and made minor corrections and additions.Alex Cline, editor, prepared the table of contents.Kristian London, editorial assistant, assembled the biographical summary and interview history. Magee compiled the index.
12.6 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
Interviews in this series were initiated by the Los Angeles Regional Planning History Group to ensure the preservation of recollections of pioneer planners in both the public and private sectors in the Los Angeles region.
Education in Indianapolis; Presbyterian upbringing and beliefs; military service; visiting cities throughout the world; marriage to Barbara Winslow Hamilton; majors in landscape architecture at the University of Illinois; graduate study at Harvard University; further study at UCLA's Graduate School of Management; Rotary International Foundation Fellowship Award leads to venture with the University of London to introduce supermarkets to England; project to reduce impact of nuclear bombs on American cities; employment with Harland Bartholomew; master plans for De Kalb, Illinois and Great Bend, Kansas; city planning for Indianapolis and its surrounding area; serves as director of planning in Pittsburgh; teaches at the University of Pittsburgh; preparation for Los Angeles city planners exam; becomes director of planning in Los Angeles; Mayor Samuel W. Yorty and the Los Angeles City Council's responsiveness to Hamilton's general plan for Los Angeles; Milton Breivogel; meeting the needs of Los Angeles's diverse environments and population; tension between Hamilton and the city council; successfully implemented aspects of Hamilton's plan; Los Angeles fails to fully implement the plan; Los Angeles's unwillingness to create a rapid transit system; changes in zoning; reaching out to community interest groups; media support of Hamilton's planning efforts; planning ideas for downtown L.A.; Porter Ranch; L.A. civic center area; Warner Center; the Century City area; the Westwood area; Hamilton's plans for the Miracle Mile and other sections of Wilshire Boulevard; the harbor district; Los Angeles International Airport; working with the Los Angeles City Community Redevelopment Agency; the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles; conflicts with Mayor Thomas Bradley; teaching at both American and foreign universities; international consulting; historical preservation and restoration projects; how Hamilton's religious philosophy affected his approach to planning; awards and honors; Frank Lombardi; working with Howard Hughes; Albert C. Martin; ethical questions involved in the planning process.