In the Architect's Newspaper, Sam Lubell--who's co-curating the forthcoming Never Built: Los Angeles exhibit at the A+D Museum--looks at just why there're so many projects planned for Los Angeles that never get built. He says this city is one of the "hardest places to get innovative design ideas built," and gives a heap of reasons why, including:
-- Outdated rules, like our zoning code that hasn't seen an overhaul in over six decades.
-- Misuse of the California Environmental Quality Act, which can twist environmental concerns and allows the "will of a few to slow down projects for their own reasons."
-- A building department that still relies on paper plans, not digital ones (a change there might cause Wite-Out sales to plummet).
-- City government structured to leave the mayor "woefully underpowered," trying to work with a mishmash of overlapping city council committees and departments.
But he's got ideas to fix it!
-- CEQA reform and zoning code reform, which will "help land use reflect current conditions."
-- The planned merging of the Planning and Building and Safety Departments, "provided a smart succession plan is devised."
-- Most important--if most difficult to achieve--bureaucrats who are "sympathetic to the needs of the design community, not just to do spread sheets and data on [floor area ratios] and [transit-oriented development]."