Poised to be the mother of all the initiatives ever to impact the built environment of the city in a while, a proposed ballot initiative called the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, sponsored by a group called the Coalition to Preserve L.A. (CPLA), is the talk of the architecture, planning and developer circles at the moment.
Initially underwritten by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who emphasizes, among other reasons, the idea that densification can be a public health issue. The proposed initiative has the potential of stopping all the large scale development in Los Angeles. It aims to put a halt on the "vibrant" urban lifestyle which the developers, their political representatives and good number of gentrification people have been advocating at the cost of minorities, low-income communities and the majority of L.A.'s residents who have been struggling to come up with the outrageous rents month after month until they finally fall victim to substandard housing, homelessness or move far away places in many cases.
Of course, the issue is not as simple as I put it down. In the center of the problem is an old General Plan, archaic and “cumbersome” as it is called by the planners own "literature". It often needs to be spot amended by the local councilmen to make way for mega development projects continuously being proposed, permitted and built along the mass transit lines where the city is changing and densifying.
There is a good analysis in CP & DR by Josh Stephens explains the conundrum from both ends of the issue.
It will be an intense battle no matter what. It could either start a trend across the map for moratoriums and/or opens the doors for all the development you can eat!
The architects, planners, and the urbanists alike are scrambling to locate themselves in the proper trench and this is just the beginning. The opposition in the name of "the Communities United for Jobs and Housing" is also gaining momentum, "including business groups, developers groups and building trade associations, architects, and transit advocates. Six sitting City Council members have pledged opposition. Other factions that are often at odds with developers also oppose the measure, including environmental groups, and affordable housing advocates," says the CP&DR article,
The keywords, general plan, low-income housing development, hi-end condo development, parking, TOD, gentrification, political bribery, zoning, community control, and "jobs" will be common words in everyday conversations in days to come. The good news is, the battle will most likely make the Angelenos more knowledgeable and active for growth concerns of their city.
For Los Angeles voters, the coming general elections in November will have a whole separate issue which might prove itself to be more important than the presidential selection.
Get ready, it is bold, complex and simple at the same time but nevertheless, it has a potential to turn things upside down around here.