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.
August 10, 2017, 9am PDT | Elana Eden
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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.

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Published on Monday, July 31, 2017 in The Planning Report
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