Santa Monica and Glendale are an unlikely match. One is a coastal city known for its shoreline; the other is an inland hub for large entertainment campuses. However, the two markets are close in age and in similar phases of growth—making them the perfect case study to take a closer look at development policies and public planning.

"Both Glendale and Santa Monica were incorporated a little over a hundred years ago as independent cities from Los Angeles, and generally followed similar growth patterns up until the 1980s," Alan Loomis, principal of urban design at PlaceWorks, tells "Both cities were connected to downtown Los Angeles via streetcar, and the streetcar routes helped establish the basic business districts we still see today."

The two cities also offer similar local amenities—or did at one time—like an airport, hospital and retail. "Both cities had a regional airport that originated as airfields for aircraft manufacturers. Santa Monica's still operates as a local airport, but Glendale's was long ago closed and developed as an industrial park, which is now largely occupied by various Disney business divisions," says Loomis. "Large regional hospitals and associated medical businesses are located in both Glendale and Santa Monica. Both cities built an enclosed shopping mall on the edge of their respective downtowns in the 1970s."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.