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Zoning Los Angeles: a brief history of four regimes

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This article explains how, through tools of land-use regulation, several groups of actors became particularly adept at shaping the form of Los Angeles and to what ends. Land-use regulation in Los Angeles, this article argues, represents the outcomes of battles pitting one political group against another, quite in disregard of the common purpose this regulation is intended to serve, with the most powerful usually winning at the expense of others. In Los Angeles, there have been distinct winners and losers, and these winners and losers have varied over time. In Los Angeles, there seem to be four distinct regimes characterizing the historical politics of land use. Rampant speculation defined the first, lasting from the advent of zoning in Los Angeles in 1921 into the Depression, government-sponsored big real estate the second, lasting from the Depression until the 1960s, and anti-growth advocates the third, lasting from the 1960s until 2000, with the fourth forming over the last decade and characterized by a balance between allied housing and development interests and anti-growth advocates. This article documents the rise and fall of these regimes and summarizes their varying impacts on the city.
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Keywords: Los Angeles; politics; real estate; urban regimes; zoning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: City & Regional Planning, School of Urban and Public Affairs, UT Arlington, Box 19588, 513 University HallArlington,TX,76019-0588, USA

Publication date: 01 July 2012

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