About Torched

A concrete bench stamped with the 1984 Olympics logo lined up with other benches in Expo Park.
Concrete benches made for the 1984 Summer Olympics still line Expo Park's sidewalks

What are we doing here?

Torched trains a critical eye on the civic investments and policy decisions that Los Angeles is making in preparation for its megaevent-hosting era, including the 2026 World Cup, the 2027 Super Bowl, and most notably, the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Read more about what we're doing here in my introductory newsletter.

What Torched is about: wide sidewalks, shade trees, multimodal streets, legacy improvements from previous megaevents, supergraphics, wayfinding, regional planning coordination, parks, recreation, extreme heat, public space, public transit, and public bathrooms. You guys, there will be so much about public bathrooms.

What Torched is not about: sports. You'll have to find your rhythmic gymnastics coverage elsewhere. Unless there's a rhythmic gymnastics infrastructure angle. Which is unlikely. But possible.

I'm your host, Alissa Walker

For over 20 years I've been writing about LA transportation, housing, urban design, public space, and environmental policy. For the past decade I've worked as a staff writer at Gizmodo, Curbed, and New York Magazine. In 2019 I played myself on the traffic safety episode of Adam Conover’s show Adam Ruins Everything, “Adam Ruins a Murder.” In 2021 I was honored to be named as the recipient of the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary for my writing on design and urbanism. I'm also a co-host of the local news and politics show LA Podcast and I write Report Forward, a monthly policy newsletter for the LA Forward Institute.

You can contact me at alissa(@)torched.la or text me a tip at 323 207 5607‬. That's my Google Voice number and you can keep it handy by saving it in your phone as Torched Tips.

These are some of my favorite LA stories

I once spent a week at The Grove trying to understand Rick Caruso's campaign for LA mayor

My WNYC radio story on the Missing Persons hit "Nobody Walks in LA"

How wealthy Venice Beach residents worked to criminalize homelessness and simultaneously stop new housing from being built

Why electric cars won't save California

That time the city of LA tried to make the Hollywood Sign disappear, which was later referenced in the annual mini-stories episode of the design podcast 99 Percent Invisible

My New York Magazine story on why Elon Musk's car tunnels won't solve traffic, which I later discussed on Vox's Today Explained

And I'm still wondering why an internationally famous climate mayor™ didn't fix LA's sidewalks

How you can support Torched

You can read Torched right here online anytime you want, but it's also a newsletter. If you subscribe, the newest stories will be dispatched directly to your inbox the moment they go live — just be sure to add my email to your address book: alissa(@)torched.la. You can always email me if you have any questions or aren't getting the newsletter or would like to talk through a sponsorship idea or just want to tell me where you found another concrete bench made for the 1984 games.

Unlike certain LA megaevents (ahem!), this publication is funded by readers like you. The news stories will always be free to read — because this information is in the public interest, I'm not planning on putting them behind a paywall — but if you have the means to pay for a monthly or yearly subscription, you'll receive some nice benefits plus the warm feeling of knowing that you helped keep Torched lit. (Sorry, not sorry.) 🔥

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