The AIA|LA February 2012 Advocacy Report

Last Updated: February 23, 2012

3780 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010, USA


from the desk of Will Wright , Hon. AIA|LA Director, Government & Public Affairs

This report is written in effort to keep the AIA|LA membership updated on the various efforts I've been involved with on behalf of the organization.  It's a call to action to inspire more architects to provide the leadership to improve the built environment.  

The AIA|LA Mayoral Candidates Forums

As a city, how shall we select our next Mayor? What criteria will we use to analyze their leadership capacity?

For the next five Friday nights we're interviewing mayoral candidates about their strategies to lead our city into a future that might quite possibly be vastly different then how it is today. For the better, or for the worse - we don't know. To broker that transition and to make certain we're investing in changes that will improve the quality of life for all Angelenos, we'd like to ask each mayoral candidate to describe their vision and their design priorities.

We'd like to discuss:

  • Each mayoral candidate's specific vision for the future of Los Angeles Mayoral leadership to exert influence on the way other public agencies impact the built environment (LAUSD, METRO, LA County, etc)
    * Mayoral leadership to exert influence on key private sector projects that greatly impact the City of LA
    * The importance of architecture and design, as it relates to the economic performance of the city
    * The connection between architecture and urbanism (the space in between buildings and how buildings relate to each other)
    * While Environmental and economic sustainability, resource conversation, enhanced mobility and access, community health, social justice and planning for complete communities are all integral tenets of architecture, the Mayoral Candidate forum is a chance to dig deeper into the philosophy of the candidates. The forum is meant as an opportunity for each candidate to declare their vision for the future of Los Angeles and describe a path for how we get there.

    To register for each of the mayoral forums CLICK HERE.


Nat Gale and Dan Caroselli from the Mayor's Office of Economic and Business Policy have invited me to participated in a TOD cabinet charged with prioritizing tactics to ensure that development standards around transit are more strategically coordinated between the City of LA and Metro.  

My initial comments were as such:

  • Everyone should comment on the proposed additions to CEQA guidelines implementing SB226. The proposal sets forth a streamlined CEQA review process for infill projects and contains performance standards that will determine an infill project's eligibility for streamlined review. 2/23 at 1pm Ronald Reagan State Building Auditorium, 300 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
  • Look at urban design guidelines for within a TOD, especially around parking * Analyze the relationship between LID and TOD and where trade-offs can occur * Look at building and land typology and make sure we are attracting the types of businesses that attract the types of employees we want to foster (i.e. live / work or light industrial instead of the typical TOD predominance of low-paying retail jobs)

As more progress is made with this cabinet, I will keep you update. In the meanwhile, if you have suggestions for how to improve the social and economic performance TOD's, then reach out to me with your ideas so that I can share them with the Mayor's office.

S.C.A.G.'s Regional Transportation Plan

On Tuesday, February 14th, AIA|LA submitted a letter to S.C.A.G. encouraging them to adopt the Envision 2 alternative of the 2012 - 2035 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy.  

The Envision 2 option will foster smart growth land use and housing patterns to achieve superior environmental results in air quality, aesthetics, open space and farmland preservation, water conservation, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, mobility, and land use. We also reiterated our recommendations for SCAG to prioritize active transportation policies in the plan.

In response to the process of developing recommendations for SCAG, we've launched a blog that we hope will inspire more architects to get involved with regional transportation planning. [ ](http://

If you'd like to get more involved, email me and I will add you as contributor to the blog.  As an architect, your voice matters!  

The Mural Ordinance

On February 7th, I attended a panel discussion that City Planner Tanner Blackman organized along with Daniel Lahoda of LaLa Gallery about the proposed draft of the citywide MURAL ORDINANCE.  Artists Shepard Fairey and Saber were also on the panel and gave their candid assessment of the ordinance.  For the most part, everyone feels that this ordinance is a positive first step in the right direction to allow more art to happen in the public realm.    The Mural Ordinance will appear in front of the Cultural Affairs Commission and then on to the Planning Commission for additional consideration.

If you have interest in getting involved, then send me an email and I will introduce you to the City Planner that is managing the process.

Updating the City of Los Angeles Zoning Code

On February 15th, City Planners Erick Lopez and David Olivo presented MORE PLANNING, LESS REACTING: a proposal to comprehensively revise the City's zoning code.  The last comprehensive revision to the city's code occurred in 1946!  The proposed plan is to create a hybrid code that integrates the values of USE, FORM, and ORIENTATION (UFO).  Essentially, it would enable us a city to re-priotize the values that we want to regulate/ encourage.  To clarify, a revised zoning code wouldn't necessarily upzone or downzone specific parcels willynilly.  Rather, it would create a new set of classifications (based on Use, Form and Orientation) that would then be used to describe either the current condition or the future potential of a specific parcel of land. 

A revised zoning code would:

  • Provide more clarity.
  • Facilitate better place-making possibilities.
  • Streamline the entitlement process by consolidating all the various clearances needed into more concise sections of the code.
  • Save taxpayers money by reducing the amount of paperwork and resources needed to process cases.

Right now, we need more  people encourage City Council through its annual budgeting process to prioritize revising the zoning code.  As you may recall, in 2011 as part of our annual AIA|LA Legislative Day at City Hall, we called on our Councilmembers to INVEST IN UPDATED ZONING CODE. Now is the time to provide the support to help push this agenda forward.  Contact Councilmember Paul Krekorian, the chair of the Budget & Finance Committee and  advocate for the importance of prioritizing the city's budget so that we can invest in revised zoning code.

CEQA Reform

On February 23rd (1:00pm) there is a public workshop on CEQA Guidelines Update for Infill Streamlining (SB 226) to discuss the proposed "performance standards that will be used to determine an infill project's eligibility for streamlined review."  This is you chance as an LA-based architect to weigh in on which projects we should be facilitating in effort to make our city more economically and environmentally sustainable.  The workshop is at the Ronal Reagan Building, Auditorium, 300 South Spring St, Los Angeles, CA  90013

REMINDER - DEADLINE to receive comments is February 24:

Over the past several months, along with Mark Christian, I've been coordinating a series of conference calls with various land-use experts about ideas for how to reform CEQA to streamline urban infill development.  This has led to strengthening the connection between AIA|CC and the Governor's Office of Planning & Research.  On January 25th, the Governor released his draft performance guidelines for what types of urban infill projects will may qualify under SB 226 (Simitian) for streamlined review.   The deadline for comments on this draft is February 24, 2012.  Comments can be e-mailed to

For 2012, in my capacity as the Public Affairs Director for AIA|LA, I am involved with the following efforts:

  • The LA County BizFed Board of Directors - along with Leron Gubler of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, I am serving as the co-chair of the Polling & Research Committee
  • ClimatePlan - serving on the Steering Committee to develop their Strategic Plan
  • BOMA-PAC - Public Member of the Board
  • Mobility 21 - member of the 2012 Steering Committee
  • 2012 Rail-Volution - member of the Steering Committee
  • City of Los Angeles Mobility & Circulation Element - member of the Public Outreach Task Force
  • Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in Los Angeles - member of the Exhibition and Reception Committee
Last updated: 11-Dec-2012 08:37 PM
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