Los Angeles Odyssey

My name is Jim Gilbert and I publish this blog. A native Angeleno, I grew up in West Los Angeles, went to college in the Bay Area, grad school in LA and spent quite a few years living and working in Boston and Silicon Valley before moving back to southern California. 

While my family and I currently live in Orange County, about a one-hour drive south of the City of Los Angeles (which is not far by southern California standards), my heart is in LA and that is where I spend a considerable amount of time. I’ve discovered that living just outside LA has made me especially appreciative of the city where I grew up and has given me the opportunity to view it both as a native son and an outsider. I hope to exploit this particular perspective as I write this blog.

Although I’m an urban planner by training, I haven’t worked in that field for over ten years. Instead, I’ve been doing the tech start up thing, co-founding two software companies and working for several other technology related businesses. 

Despite my professional absence from the world of architecture, urban design and planning policy development, my passion for all things urban remains strong. I love exploring cities – walking neighborhoods, trying new restaurants, talking with locals and learning about the region’s culture through both the performing and fine arts – and I’ve had the good fortune to travel to many great cities for work and pleasure, such as Mexico City, Paris, Athens, New York, Barcelona, Jerusalem, Boston, San Francisco, Venice, Stockholm, Tokyo, Brussels, London, Chicago and Rome. 

During my travels and while living both in and away from Los Angeles, it became clear to me over the years that many people just don’t appreciate LA the way I do – and that got me thinking. Clichés about LA abound. But this teeming metropolis contains a multiplicity of worlds, sometimes overlapping and sometimes completely isolated, that confound, defy easy stereotypes and belie expectations. Through this blog, I want to share some of the many aspects of LA that fascinate me.

My intention is for this site to become an ever-expanding collection of information about the city that I love so much. I hope locals and visitors alike will learn something new about the people, places and cultures that define Los Angeles and be inspired to venture forth into this great metropolis. As this site develops, I look forward to gaining new insights about LA from you – so please share your knowledge, thoughts, observations, favorite places, etc. with me and the others who visit this site.

One final thought. While I am responsible for producing the majority of content on this site, I will periodically share these pages with others who have something special to contribute. I think you’ll appreciate their insights, expertise and/or opinions. Any content created by others will be identified as such.

Now…let’s begin.


  1. Paul Manfrini says:

    I am very excited about your new website. I know you & your family have unique and rich insights to the history, art, venues, neighborhoods, archtecture & the general pulse of LA. I will be following along learning as I go and will certainly purchase books and other items to keep this worthy site going. I know you mean it when you say it's a labor or love – thanks so much for sharing. Paul

  2. BRYAN COCKEL says:

    Great site! There's so much more to L.A. than Disneyland and Universal Studios. For those who want to really taste what Los Angeles has to offer, this site is perfect.

  3. Arie Katz says:


    Kudos on the new site! I look forward to learning all about the amazing sites in Los Angeles!!


  4. Jim,
    This is a wonderful site. Much success with it!
    I will stay tuned,

  5. I would love to follow a blog that deals with exploring cities, even LA. Bryan is correct. There is more to LA than Disneyland. As someone who appreciates all things urban, I would like to read and see what your perspective is about the other side of LA – probably those that are worthy of exploring but sadly left on the sidelines for whatever reason.

    Brad Kent

  6. Martin Brower says:

    Arie Katz just told me about your website and I really love it. I too am a native of Los Angeles (1928) and although I too now live in Orange County (since 1974) I still feel that Los Angeles is my home and a place to which I enjoy returning. Last year I published a book entitled "Los Angeles Jew; A Memoir" (Amazon.com) which covers the growth and development of the Los Angeles Jewish community set against my own life of growing up in Los Aneles, attending UCLA, and working in Los Angeles — especially my 14 years in public relations with the architectural firm of Welton Becket and Associates. Thus, my book includes aspects of the planning and development of Century City, the Los Angeles Music Center, etc.