Infamous Watts Public Housing, Reimagined

The Jordan Downs public housing complex in Watts, California is a perfect example of the failed projects of built mid-century. A new proposal would tear down the towers in favor of a mix of building styles connecting to the surrounding area.

Sam Lubell writes, "The masterplan would replace the 49-acre complex's 700-plus townhouse-style units with 1,600 to 1,800 units built in a much more diverse mix of sizes and styles, including bungalows, courtyard housing, and stacked apartments. According to John Ellis, WRT Solomon's director of urban design, the diversity is intended to make the area 'feel like part of the surrounding neighborhood, not like a segregated and isolated piece of development, as it has been in the past.'"

The Housing Authority is in the middle of the EIR, which it plans on finalizing in September.

Full Story: Downs Gets Up



Charles Buki's picture

Oh Please

Are the design professions simply incapable of learning?

charles buki is principal of czb, an alexandria, va - based neighborhood planning practice.

I don't see your point

Please clarify what you do not like about the project rather than making condescending remarks without evidence. If the image provided in the Architect's Newspaper accurately portrays what Jordan Downs will look like when the project is completed, I would say they are on a very good path to revival. At 1,600 - 1,800 units that will put the average DU/Acre between 32 and 36. Not San Francisco density but it will surely enable effective bus transportation through out the area. However, having pedestrian cut-throughs between the long blocks could create pockets of opportunity for criminal activity but with the mixed-income nature of the project, it may not turn into a problem. While I have not been to the site, performing a Google maps and Google street view of the area leads me to believe that this plan will be a great improvement for the area.

Positive development

It's good to hear of this trend.

There is a senior housing tower here (20 story building built among regular 2 and 3 story homes) that I would like to see torn down and converted to village design.

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