Seeks to Balance Growth & Preservation: 1970-Present
With growth and new development came concern
for preserving the unique quality of life in Pasadena. Neighborhood and preservation
groups joined forces in 1981 to defeat a proposal to build two high-rise towers in
downtown Pasadena. That same year, the Pasadena Redevelopment Agency was disbanded. A
citizen initiative to restrict growth was passed in 1989. It was later repealed by voters
in 1992, in conjunction with revising the General Plan to respond to growth management
An awakened respect for the city's
treasures led to the renovation of historic homes and buildings throughout
the city. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Old Pasadena, where the city's business
district first started. Revitalization of this area occurred throughout the eighties, and
culminated at the end of 1992 with the completion of the One Colorado historic block.
Transformed into a restaurant and entertainment center, Old Pasadena has become a major
attraction in Southern California.
In the eighties, population growth accompanied
development. Between 1980 and 1990, the population of Pasadena increased by 11%, becoming
more racially and ethnically diverse. The largest increase was in the Hispanic population,
which grew to 27.3% of the total city population by 1990. A charter amendment, approved by
voters in 1980, changed Pasadena's election system from citywide runoffs to district only
elections. This paved the way for the election of minority candidates and a greater
emphasis on neighborhood concerns. In 1993, the name for Pasadena's elected
representatives was officially changed from Board of Directors, a term associated with
corporations, to City Council, a term prevalent in most city governments.
A mayor was selected on a rotating basis from the senior City Councilmembers. The City Manager, however, was responsible for the day-to-day
operation of the City. And in 1998, Cynthia Kurtz become Pasadena's
first female City Manager. The same year voters decided it was time
to elect a Mayor who could represent Pasadena on a city-wide basis.
A former city Councilmember, Bill Bogaard was elected in 1999.
In 1994, the Northridge
earthquake, the most severe quake in a series to hit Southern California,
left Pasadena relatively unscathed. The finial atop City Hall's dome
was knocked askew and several residential chimneys were damaged. The
world's leader in seismic research, the California Institute of
Technology was consulted frequently during this time by the media.
Between 1970 and 2005, Caltech's faculty and alumni
garnered 14 of the
Institute's 31 Nobel prizes. The most recent award went to Robert H.
Grubbs in 2005 in chemistry, along with Yves Chauvin (Institut Français
du Pétrole) and Richard R. Schrock (MIT), for their work in the
development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis. Perhaps best
known for its research in physics, the Institute's faculty and alumni
have also received Nobel Prizes in the fields of Physiology or Medicine,
Economics and Peace.
laboratory, The Jet Propulsion Lab
(JPL), was responsible for several of
NASA's successes in the 1980s and 1990s including deep space navigation
and communication, digital image processing, intelligent automated
systems, and microelectronics. Despite recent set backs in
the loss of the Mars probe Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander, it is the memory
of the Mars Pathfinder Mission that still remains fresh in the
minds of many. In July of 1997, the world was able to watch as Rover, a robot on four wheels
with a camera and extendable arms, moved over the surface of the red
planet. The robot took photographs, collected rock and soil samples and
transmitted scientific data back to the earth. Rover lasted
considerably longer than it was originally designed before it fell silent
in September 1997.
As Pasadena looks toward the future it seeks to
balance growth with community needs, historic character, a diverse economic base, and a safe, healthy family community.
Street Bridge, designed in 1913 as a "work of art" and renovated in the early
90's to conform with seismic safety standards, symbolizes the commitment of Pasadena to
integrate its rich cultural heritage with the challenges of the new millennium.
The Pasadena Public Library has an extensive collection of materials about Pasadena in the
Pasadena Centennial Room
at Central Library.