Measure S and the Future of Los Angeles

NEIL M. DENARI, FAIA - 2011 AIA|LA Gold Medal

"For Los Angeles to continue to think of itself as a world city, as a city still capable of making statements that are relevant today, it must re-embrace the very concept that brought it to life: This is the City of the Future! While Los Angeles began as the most exotic species of all American post-war conurbations, a blend of nature and technology leading to an autopia that as we know now is less utopic and more auto driven than ever in its present form, it can no longer sustain itself with an old vision. Along with some of our natural resources, what has also depleted as the city has struggled to maintain its well known sunny optimism, is the belief in a future that can embrace a kind of growth that was not part of Los Angeles’ original DNA. LA must shrink its footprint through density and verticality, and Measure S categorically and cynically negates a future city that, though it may look different, will be better off for our successive generations of Angelinos.  Much has been eloquently written about the deleterious effects of Measure S and I will not restate them here. But the urgency to see the future of a city that is more livable, more embracing, more affordable, and more democratic has never been more apparent. Please vote NO on Measure S for a less provincial, more real, more viable future Los Angeles."    


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 02:39 PM
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