A new map of Los Angeles’s publicly owned land created by the city controller is intended to get residents thinking about how to maximize the potential of these often underutilized properties.
Property Panel, the new interactive map and website from Controller Ron Galperin’s office, is the first centralized database for the city that allows anyone to find the location and size of properties owned by public agencies.
“There is tremendous opportunity that comes with all of these properties for communities throughout Los Angeles,” says Galperin. “While some public properties will not undergo significant changes as a result of this tool, Property Panel helps reveal vacant and underused lots that could be repurposed to increase our affordable housing stock or for economic development.”
Parcels owned by six public agencies are shown on the map: city, county, state, federal, Metro, and LAUSD. Of Los Angeles’s 792,000 properties, about 14,000 properties are owned by those six agencies, including 7,508 properties owned by the City of Los Angeles.
The mapping tool also allows properties to be filtered by council district and neighborhood council district, as well as by county, state, and federal representative districts.
The map could provide useful data for some LA city councilmembers who have blamed high privately owned land prices on their inability to build supportive housing and shelter projects. In May 2018, over two dozen city-owned parcels were identified where councilmembers could build emergency homeless shelters. One year later, only three of those shelters had been opened. This week, the city broke ground on a bridge housing facility in Venice on a bus lot owned by Metro.
In 2018, a Los Angeles Times investigation highlighted the locations of 119 city-owned parking lots alone.
Galperin is now meeting with neighborhood councils to help communities understand how to identify and best use these assets.
The city launched a new initiative last year to help LA residents “adopt” vacant lots and turn them into parks and other public spaces. Ten city-owned lots were identified for a pilot program that could become a permanent way for communities to use city-controlled vacant lots. There are about 22,000 vacant lots in Los Angeles, about 10 percent of which are owned by the city.