John Chase, West Hollywood's urban designer was 57

john-chase-gelatobaby.jpgChase, the author of several books on urbanism and Los Angeles, died Friday of an apparent heart attack. He was the godfather to the daughter of Frances Anderton, host of DnA on KCRW who calls Chase "one of LA’s most unique and talented sons." Anderton posted on Saturday:

Yesterday we lost John Chase, dearest friend to me and many others; brilliant writer, outrageous wit, dandy (as you can see from this photo); and secret weapon in West Hollywood, where, as urban designer, he was responsible for nurturing urbane and adventurous real estate development.

Another friend in the architecture and planning world, Alissa Walker, posts at Gelato Baby:

John was a tremendously outspoken voice in planning and politics, a larger-than-life fixture at architecture events, and honorary cheerleader for an entire generation of young writers and designers....

John was a very unique mentor in that he encouraged me just as much in my walking as he did in my writing. He walked to work most days, and we’d often compare stories about crosswalk etiquette or commiserate about which bus route needed to fix its potholes. He instructed me to create a pen name (A. Walker) and to write about my LA walking and public transit experiences, annotating them with photos. And so I did. I remember silently passing him once while both in our preferred modes of navigating LA, me on the 2 bus high above the street, he below, walking down Sunset Boulevard. He was impeccably dressed in a sharp suit on a swelteringly sunny day—and that hat, always that hat—looking more like he was headed for the Santa Anita horsetrack. In 1952. I remember thinking that he was a walking advertisement for his most famous book. As he wrote, as in practice, The Everyday Urbanist.

Chase was also the author of "Glitter Stucco and Dumpster Diving," "Exterior Decoration" and "L.A. 2000+." More coverage: Curbed LA.

Photo from Gelato Baby


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