LA Weighs New Design Guidelines

Some critics say the proposed voluntary measures don’t have teeth, while others worry they lay the groundwork for overdevelopment.

Rather than strictly regulating new buildings, the guidelines are intended as a tool for the community and developers, says City Planning. They stress 'attractive building design' and elements like pedestrian scale and streetscape activation, sustainability and contextual sensitivity, while frowning upon parking lots, blank walls and out-of-scale development.

Some critics say that if the guidelines are nonbinding, they will have little impact. Others say the recommendations are hostile to single-family home neighborhoods and are tantamount to a prescription for unwarranted density. On both sides are complaints that the guidelines are being rushed through the approval process without enough public input.

In any case, there is a definitive need for a citywide approach to design, writes Sam Lubell:

"The guidelines' necessity became apparent during the city's ongoing process to update the more than 20 specific plans for its 35 community plan areas. Many of these plans have overlapping design elements, while others have no design guidelines at all. The guidelines could reduce confusion and fill in the gaps."

Full Story: LA's New Design Guidelines on the Line


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
Woman wearing city map tote bag

City Shoulder Totes

Durable CityFabric© shoulder tote bags available from 5 different cities.