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Suja Lowenthal


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Long Beach Vice Mayor and Second District Councilmember, Dr. Suja Lowenthal was honored by the Long Beach/South Bay American Institute of Architects (AIA) as the first ever recipient of the Community Design Advocate Award for her leadership and “significant contributions in improving the built environment in Long Beach.”  Lowenthal has championed several architectural projects and initiatives during her two terms in office, including the Downtown Visioning Plan, new Civic Center project, Long Beach’s Adaptive Reuse and Mills Act policies, bicycle and pedestrian friendly infrastructure and street Parklets. Michael Bohn (LB/SB AIA Director, Senior Principal at Studio One Eleven) commented on Lowenthal’s impact saying, "Her efforts to improve the built environment in Long Beach ranges from large scale, such as visioning the future of downtown, to incremental projects, such as promoting the first Parklets in Southern California. Without her leadership and passion, Long Beach would not be as vibrant as it is today."

Lowenthal is often credited with initiating the Downtown’s shift toward higher quality architecture and pedestrian friendly projects through her creation of a Downtown Visioning Task Force in 2006.  This group’s efforts ultimately led to the Downtown Plan, which set zoning standards for development as well as incentives for projects with alternative mobility options, building height and energy efficiency.  She is also considered the political force behind Long Beach’s embrace of being a leading bicycle and pedestrian friendly city in United States.

Upon news of her recognition, Mayor Robert Garcia said,  "My congratulations to Vice Mayor Lowenthal for receiving this prestigious honor. I’m pleased that her excellent work in Long Beach has been recognized, and I know she’ll continue providing expertise and advocacy to improve the built environment in our city."

Drawing upon her background in urban planning, Lowenthal advocates for projects that seek creative solutions to shared public space in a built out environment like Long Beach.  Those projects include street Parklets and separated bike lanes – both firsts among cities in southern California.  Most recently, she has partnered with DLBA, Downtown Long Beach’s business improvement district to activate a high profile corner with pop-up retail and activities.  "I’ve learned that the first question to ask, when approached with an idea by staff or community members is, ‘Why not?’  And for those of us fortunate enough to have a hand in city-making to constantly ask ourselves, ‘Whose streets are these? The answer should be ‘everyone," said Lowenthal.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) ( has served as the leading voice for architecture professionals since its founding in 1857.   The AIA Long Beach / South Bay Chapter is the local voice of the profession and is dedicated to serving and inspiring its members and the public through education, advocacy, and design excellence.




Make it a point to shop local! Supporting our local businesses not only makes good business sense but helps our city. For every dollar spent in Long Beach, we're supporting public safety, libraries, parks, infrastructure improvements and helping to create more local jobs.



Bubble - My StoryI was born in Madras, India and came to the United States with my parents in 1977, at the age of seven. My favorite childhood memory is riding with my father on his bike as he drove me to school. All these years later, biking is still my preferred mode of transportation.


With a Doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development from USC, I've been able to work on my other passions - water management, urban planning and creating sustainable communities.


Having over 15 years of experience in the water industry, I've served in policy roles at the Central Basin Municipal Water District, West Basin Municipal Water District and Water Replenishment District of Southern California. Some of the work I'm most proud of has come as a result of my being in public office and helping our city become a leader in green technologies.


I was honored to present a Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) talk focused on my urban planning work globally to shape cities for the future as well as my work here in Long Beach. At TEDx Pacific Garbage Patch, I discussed the growing economic costs of collection and disposal of plastic for municipal governments. At the United Nations and World Bank, I spoke on best practices of local governments to implement litter management strategies and associated costs of water pollution.








Bubble - Community MattersOne of the things I love most about Long Beach is the sense of community. As Vice Mayor, I see it firsthand every day. Over the past decade, we have worked together as neighbors to create a community where we can live, work, shop and even do touristy things without having to get in the car or leave our city. We've made our neighborhoods safer, our schools stronger and our air cleaner while supporting our local, small businesses and advocating for smart, sustainable growth. It's why I'm raising my son in this beautiful city we proudly call home!






lb-logoThe GO Long Beach app is designed to provide Long Beach residents, businesses, and visitors access to City Hall, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere. You can use the app to submit service requests for issues like graffiti, potholes and sign damage. If you're using an iPhone or Android, you'll be able to simply open the App, select an issue, take a picture, and tap submit - the App knows the exact location and sends the issue directly to city staff. There's also GO Long Beach apps that connect you with the Police Department, the library system, animal care services, the airport, and the City Clerk (for voting questions).  Click here to download these apps and so much more at openLB: Your one-stop shop!




Moving ForwardEvery year, we host a State of the Second District to share our accomplishments and challenges as a community of partners.

Active participation in our community is an important way to improve one’s own quality of life, so we encourage newcomers to learn more about their neighborhood or business association and how they can play a contributing role, no matter how small, in the well-being of their community.

We invite you to view the State of the Second District video, photos and written report to learn more about our incredible community by clicking here.

To view all of the amazing accomplishments taking place within the Second District and to learn about our future goals, click here.





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    @erik_griswold mobility is about choices. You have choices. Be glad. Make your choice-We'll leave the light on for you.

    © Suja Lowenthal