By-Right / By-Design

By-Right / By-Design

Evaluating Competing Perspectives in Housing Production

BY-RIGHT/BY-DESIGN presents a qualitative analysis of significant Los Angeles multi-family housing design precedents and their associated development types. A side-by-side graphic comparison of these works—common, basic types developed in large numbers over time by builders, versus an example of high design by a noted architect—tells a visual story of the complicated interactions between design, development and planning, highlighting how negotiations among these disciplines have shaped residential life in Los Angeles. Each pair studied is linked with a post-2000 project built in Los Angeles that clearly builds upon the lessons learned from the earlier works, illustrating potential strategies for future density.


Disciplinary interests in housing development are viewed as trade-offs by those in the industry: better design costs more, good planning means less yield, profitable development means unremarkable planning and design strategies. A cross-comparison of a number of projects held as reliable types by developers, innovative exemplars by designers, and approved either by- right or by-variance by planners, offers a brand-new way to see housing development issues more clearly, and helps practitioners to move beyond housing production as a zero sum game towards the more polyvalent solutions that will be required as Los Angeles densifies.


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