Measure S and the Future of Los Angeles

David C. Martin, FAIA - 1977 AIA|LA President

“I have watched the city evolve into a position where we are on the verge of achieving a phenomenal 24-hour central city with a level of excitement and energy that brings art, culture, diversity and a rich and wonderful lifestyle to the next generation. We are giving them a legacy of choices about their transportation, life style and personal opportunities. If one looks beyond the central city a number of our satellite cities are becoming beautiful, vibrant urban villages.  Not only Santa Monica and Pasadena, but also places like Culver City, Boyle Heights, Elysian Valley and the Arts District. These places are not only hip, but also alive with vitality.

I am frightened by this idea of shutting down the things I like most about LA. We are the leading city in terms of art, architecture and culture. Please don't stop that with stagnation. Surely we need to improve. We need to build housing for our homeless; we need to develop new ideas about traffic and transportation. We need to give the next generation housing around transit so they have richer choices for transportation, life style and opportunities. 

Let's work productively to find solutions, not stagnation. "   


As you may already know, Measure S is on the ballot on March 7th and it is an issue that deeply effects the future of the City of Los Angeles, the built environment and the architecture profession.

AIA|LA reached out several AIA|LA Past-Presidents and Gold Medalists to share their individual thoughts.  We will be sharing those thoughts over the course of the next few weeks.

The AIA|LA Board of Director’s voted to oppose Measure S in January 2016 back when it was referred to as the 'Neighborhood Integrity Initiative'. The Board voted to re-iterate that opposition at the January 2017 board meeting and instructed staff to communicate that opposition in a constructive manner and to elevate the architect’s role as the bridge builder between developers who are investing rapidly in the transformation of Los Angeles and communities who may feel uncomfortable with the intensity of our current development boom.

Yes, the AIA|LA opposes Measure S - but we also want to share with the public our pro-active ideas for how we can ensure Los Angeles evolves as a more beautiful, equitable and prosperous place and yet preserves its authentic character.  For well over the past twelve years, we’ve been strong advocates encouraging City Council to invest more robustly in an inclusive community outreach process to update community plans.  However, that investment has never occurred at the scale we’d like to see - hence the community backlash that is manifested in the Measure S initiative.

We’ve noticed how divisive Measure S has become between professionals (architects, developers, city planners) and the community-at-large.  Therefore, rather than inflame that division, we’d like to deliver a carefully crafted article that captures the voices of a diverse set of design professionals and offer that blended perspective as a bridge that connects the two camps so that we can underscore the role of the architect to serve clients AND communities with a thoughtful approach to inclusive community outreach.

To read the Measure S initiative in its entirety, please CLICK HERE

For more information, please contact:

Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA

Director, Government & Public Affairs, 


American Institute of Architects/Los Angeles Chapter

3780 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 800

Los Angeles, CA 90010

tel: (213) 639-0764



Last updated: 14-Feb-2017 02:23 PM
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