New Community Plan Poises Downtown L.A. for Transformation

In addition to a contemporary vision for Downtown, the plan debuts a new approach to zoning that could help transform the entire city.

2 minute read

August 10, 2017, 9:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden


Critical Labz / Shutterstock

Los Angeles Planning Director Vince Bertoni and head of the Central City Association BID, Jessica Lall, spoke with The Planning Report about the vision and mechanics underpinning the long-range plan for L.A.'s urban core.

DLTA 2040 is a combined update for two community plans, Central City and Central City North. It also includes integrated, customized new zoning codes—the first implementation of the re:code LA effort to streamline the city's zoning code. "We are providing zoning that treats Downtown as a vital place where we're going to focus much of our activity—like housing and jobs—and allow for the things that are necessary to make that happen," Bertoni says.

Decades of attempts to revitalize Downtown—led on the private-sector side by developers like Geoff Palmer and Tom Gilmore—have paid off in a historic investment and development boom, with a projected population growth of 125,000 new residents over the life of the plan. Now, the task at hand for planners is to guide this growth and exploit the opportunities coming to the fore, including the $1.3 billion LA River revitalization and the $120 billion long-term expansion of Metro rail.

"Downtown is the most transit-accessible location in the county, with the highest concentration of jobs; there’s no better place for new housing and commercial space," says Lall. "But in order to make this work, we need to enhance the quality of life downtown and build the infrastructure to support that growth."

She adds, "The real opportunity of the community plan is to get it right—to show the rest of the city that density is not a scary thing, but can create a vibrant, activated area that people want to live in. LA has all the assets to show what a great urban city looks like."

In addition to covering development, mobility, and housing, the interview includes an insightful exchange on the value of industrial land in the economy of the future.

Monday, July 31, 2017 in The Planning Report

stack of books

Planetizen’s Top Planning Books of 2023

The world is changing, and planning with it.

November 24, 2023 - Planetizen Team

Close-up of 'Red Line Subway Entry' sign with Braille below and train logo above text in Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago Red Line Extension Could Transform the South Side

The city’s transit agency is undertaking its biggest expansion ever to finally bring rail to the South Side.

November 24, 2023 - The Architect's Newspaper

Green Paris Texas city limit sign with population.

How Paris, Texas Became a ‘Unicorn’ for Rural Transit

A robust coalition of advocates in the town of 25,000 brought together the funding and resources to launch a popular bus service that some residents see as a mobility lifeline—and a social club.

November 30, 2023 - Texas Monthly

Green painted bike lane on street next to modern mid-rise apartment buildings in Seattle, Washington.

Seattle’s Bike Infrastructure Hamstrings Growth

Design standards that call for minimal road space allocated to bikes are limiting the growth of cycling in the city.

2 hours ago - The Urbanist

Tall palm trees against bright blue sky with snowy mountains in background. Los Angeles, California.

Winter Fun at Los Angeles County Parks

L.A. County is offering a winter edition of its popular and award-winning Parks After Dark program, providing opportunities for residents to come together and have fun in safe and welcoming spaces.

3 hours ago - NBC 4

Bird's eye view of houses in midtown Sacramento, California.

Sacramento Council Approves Upzoning Proposal

If given final approval, the plan would increase the allowable floor area ratio to permit denser housing development in single-family neighborhoods and near transit.

4 hours ago - Sacramento Business Journal

Senior Planner

City of Kissimmee - Development Services

Planner II

City of Kissimmee - Development Services

Senior Travel Demand Modeler

Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

"Rethinking Commuter Rail" podcast & Intercity Bus E-News

Chaddick Institute at DePaul University

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.