By-Right, By-Design: Housing Development versus Housing Design in Los Angeles, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

By-Right, By-Design

Housing Development versus Housing Design in Los Angeles, 1st Edition

By Liz Falletta


220 pages | 77 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780815385059
pub: 2019-06-20
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Housing is an essential, but complex, product. So complex that professionals involved in its production, namely architects, real estate developers and urban planners, have difficulty agreeing on "good" housing outcomes. Less-than-optimal solutions that have resulted from a too narrow focus on one discipline over others are familiar: high design that is costly to build which makes little contribution to the public realm; highly profitable but seemingly identical "cookie-cutter" dwellings with no sense of place; and well-planned neighborhoods full of generically designed, unmarketable product types.

Differing roles, languages and criteria for success shape these perspectives, which, in turn, influence attitudes about housing regulation. Real estate developers, for example, prefer projects that can be built "as-of-right" or "by-right," meaning that they can be approved quickly because they meet all current planning, zoning and building code requirements. Design-focused projects, heretofore "by-design" by contrast, often require time to challenge existing regulatory codes, pursuing discretionary modifications meant to maximize design innovation and development potential. Meanwhile, urban planners work to establish and mediate the threshold between by-right and by-design processes by setting housing standards and determining appropriate housing policy. But, just what is the right line between "by-right" and "by-design"?

By Right, By Design provides historical perspective, conceptual frameworks and practical strategies that cross and connect the diverse professions involved in housing production. The heart of the book is a set of six cross-disciplinary comparative case studies, each examining a significant Los Angeles housing design precedent approved by-variance and its associated development type approved as of right. Each comparison tells a different story about the often hidden relationships among the three primary disciplines shaping the built environment, some of which uphold, and others of which transgress, conventional disciplinary stereotypes.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Housing Values Part 1: Housing Perspectives Chapter 2. Type in Transition Chapter 3. Value Out of Balance Chapter 4. Lost in Translation Part 2: Collaborative Models Chapter 5. Proliferating a Product Type Chapter 6. Design Well Timed Chapter 7. Crafting Cost Benefit Chapter 8. Collaborative Prospects

About the Author

Liz Falletta (Master of Architecture, Southern California Institute of Architecture; Master of Real Estate Development, University of Southern California) is currently an associate professor teaching architectural and urban design at USC’s Price School of Public Policy and the USC School of Architecture. Her courses focus on design as an interdisciplinary activity and explore how the intersecting values of architecture, planning and development can inform the design process and improve design outcomes.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Planning and Urban Design

The Routledge Research in Planning and Urban Design series provides the reader with the latest scholarship in the field of planning and beyond. The series publishes international research covering spatial planning, regional planning, planning history, planning theory, communities, impact assessment, transport, sustainability and urban design. Building on Routledge’s history of academic rigor and cutting edge research, the series will contribute to the rapidly expanding literature in all areas of planning and urban design. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning