Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Downtown Design Guidelines

On Tuesday, March 3rd at the City Council Planning and Land Use Management committee, I will attend to testify support for The Downtown Design Guidelines as adopted by the City Planning Commission earlier this year (see attached letter).  Council file CF 09-0385 and CF 09-0385-S1 encompasses aspects of the Downtown Design Guidelines, prepared by the Planning Department's Urban Design Studio. The document sets up pedestrian-friendly standards for future growth.

AIA/LA filed the following letter of support with CPC on January 8, 2009:

January 8, 2009
Honorable Bill Roschen
Honorable Members of the
City Planning Commission
Department of City Planning
City of Los Angeles
200 North Spring Street, Mail Stop 395
Los Angeles, California 90012-2601
Re: Downtown Street Standards/Urban Design Standards and Guidelines
Dear Commission President Roschen and Members of the Commission:
On behalf of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA/LA), I am writing to officially register our support for the current draft of the Downtown Street Standards/Urban Design Standards and Guidelines and its corresponding document THE DESIGN GUIDE.
By serving as a tool to make great streets, districts and neighborhoods, The Design Guide, enhances the sustainability, appeal and economic competitiveness of Los Angeles. The Design Guide also serves a paradigm for how numerous City departments can collaborate to collectively bring about a better urban environment.  AIA/LA applauds The Department of City Planning/ Urban Design Studio in its collaboration with the CRA/LA, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering, Bureau of Street Services, Bureau of Street Lighting and the consultants Patricia Smith, ASLA, AICP and Cityworks Design.  In fact, AIA/LA recognized this collaborative effort with a Presidential Citation of Excellence as part of our 2008 AIA/LA Design Awards Gala.
The focus of The Design Guide is on the relationship of buildings to the street, the sidewalk treatment, the character of the building as perceived from the public realm, and on a project's connection to transit and personal mobility. The AIA/LA celebrates The Design Guide's emphasis on how urban design strengthens employment opportunities, housing choices, transportation choices, shops and services and amenities within walking distance, safe, shared streets, gathering places and active recreational spaces.  In essence, urban design directly results in a richer, more vibrant cultural environment.
Architecture and urban design matter now more than ever for Los Angeles to be economically competitive in the coming decades and for our City to be an attractive and desirable place to live, work and recreate on a national and world stage. And it is to that note that we cherish and support the current draft of the Downtown Street Standards/Urban Design Standards and Guidelines and its corresponding document THE DESIGN GUIDE.
Very truly yours,
John Kaliski, AIA
AIA Los Angeles
cc:        Directors, AIA/LA
            S. Gail Goldberg, AICP, Director of Planning

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