Does Proposed Merger Signal Planning's Surrender in Los Angeles?

Rick Cole, former City Manager for the City of Ventura CA, analyzes the upcoming merger of the Department of City Planning with the Department of Building and Safety in the City of Los Angeles.

A city known (perhaps unfairly?) for its 'lack of planning', Los Angeles has made strides in recent years, investing heavily in its transit system and making progress on community plans. The planning and development process will soon be changing, however, from the inside as outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to merge the Department of City Planning with the Department of Building and Safety becomes a reality. A new Department of City Planning and Development aims to create efficiencies by consolidating bureaucratic functions related to the built environment.

Rick Cole, the former City Manager for the City of Ventura CA, analyzes this development for the Planning Report, noting, "The looming test in Los Angeles comes with the “merger” of the Planning Department and the Department of Building and Safety. There is nothing inherently misguided about such a combination. In smaller cities, that is the general standard. Putting those who make plans in the same department as those who enforce them comes with certain potential advantages. There are always tensions between comprehensive planning policy goals and the messier real world of applying those to specific projects.  When there is one department over both functions, the inherent tensions can be balanced internally and intentionally. When the two functions are housed in two departments, those tensions often engender mixed messages and turf wars." 

Full Story: Rick Cole: City Planning in Los Angeles Surrenders in Merger to 'Create Efficiencies'

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

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 $209
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!