Measure S and the Future of Los Angeles

Michael Maltzan, FAIA – 2016 AIA|LA Gold Medal Winner

Proposition S is being driven by great anxiety, citywide, from the enormous pressures being felt in Los Angeles by rapid changes due to increasing density. That concern is real, and shared by many on both sides of this issue. Progressive responses to significant urban pressures, however, have rarely resulted from sweeping "no's" to development.


Development is necessary in our City, especially for the creation of all types of housing. We should continue to build: housing, public spaces, institutions, and space for business. We should also demand that those developments are the most creative possible to deal with our unique urban and civic needs.


We should be advocating for more. More housing, more experimentation, more affordability, more community. Those are not mutually exclusive goals, but require a real and determined conversation between communities, leadership, buildings, developers, and designers. This is what we should be fighting for.


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 02:43 PM
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