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Mapping the Potential Futures of Downtown Los Angeles

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DTLA is growing but how should it grow and where?

The work is on to develop the Downtown Community Plan, the blueprint that, once established, will guide zoning and development in Downtown Los Angeles. (The "Downtown Community Plan" refers to the updating of two existing and outdated community plans, Central City and Central City North; together, they cover the Downtown area.) Downtown is changing quickly and in pretty much every area that falls under the DTLA banner; the intent with the Downtown Community Plan, says the Department of City Planning, is that as Downtown "grows and changes it only becomes better."

And there's a new interactive map out to help start the process. It comes at Downtown not from a neighborhood-by-neighborhood point of view, but by looking at what it's calling "place types." Place types are not neighborhoods, but "are purely descriptive of the broad common conditions the Downtown Community Plan seeks to create."

Each place type on the map has a brief description of what structures would look like there, what types of activities would happen there, and how people would experience the built environment in each type of area.

An example of these place types would be the "transit core," which describes an area that's built around transit centers, like Seventh St./Metro Center. Buildings here are tall, visually interesting, and have retail on the ground floor, and all kinds of uses—residential, commercial, cultural—nearby. Streets, alleys, and other pathways are made to be attractive to pedestrians and "balance the high-intensity built environment."

In an email announcing its arrival, the map is described as the first step in gathering feedback on place types and their descriptions. (The map has a comment section under every place type.) Ultimately, those place types will be translated into policies to be incorporated into the new Downtown zoning code.