Op-Ed: No Room for Subjectivity in Los Angeles Design Guidelines

Sam Lubell outlines the good and bad of recent small lot design guidelines approved by Los Angeles.

Lubell supports design guidelines in theory, but is concerned about where Los Angeles' recent efforts to implement citywide and small lot design guidelines might go wrong: "Intelligent requirements include adding permeable paving; designing for pedestrian access; locating parking to the rear of dwellings; and demarcating clear entryways. But the problems lie, as is often the case, with the more subjective requirements, like 'enhancing the public realm,' creating 'high-quality' environments, and making housing 'compatible with the existing neighborhood context.'"

The problem, Lubell argues, is when the questions of taste are left to a few non-architects, including planners: "Design guidelines can be effective tools, but micro-managing them can lead to a limitation of creativity and a bending of design to the tastes of a few. That can become a bigger problem for architecture when those few are planners, or other officials, or neighbors, not architects."

Full Story: Editorial>Reading Between the Lines

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 Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00