Alexandria Digital Research Library

The Struggle to Create a Residential Community in Downtown Los Angeles

Carter, Norman Dale
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Geography
Degree Supervisor:
Fernando Bosco
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Urban and Regional Planning and Geography
Loft housing
Urban revitalization
Urban regimes
Los Angeles
Adaptive reuse
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2014

This dissertation is a mixed methods case study of the Residential Renaissance of Downtown Los Angeles. This revitalization of the residential community was spawned by the passage of an Adaptive Reuse Ordinance by the Los Angeles City Council in 1999 enabling developers to renovate underutilized and abandoned office and commercial buildings into apartments and lofts. The first apartments renovated under this ordinance were ready for occupancy in August 2000. Following the initial success of the pioneering developers thousands of rental lofts and condominiums were constructed in the next seven years resulting in a glut of unoccupied housing units by 2008. This case study utilized a Urban Regime theoretical framework to analyze the type of regime coalition that enabled this revitalization. Data collection included archival research of Census data, government documents, business and non-profit organization reports, and newspaper and magazine articles.

Active research encompassed personal interviews, focus groups and a mail survey to residents in condominiums in the Historic Core area of Downtown considered the genesis of the Residential Renaissance. Analysis of the data indicates that the City of Los Angeles has a multi-faceted urban regime coalition based upon the land use powers vested in the fifteen city council districts by the city charter. Another finding suggests that the Downtown area can be divided into spatial amenity zones that are better suited for analysis rather than the traditional districts utilized by the city planning department. A third finding indicates that the demographic group targeted by the revitalization efforts of the city, the Creative Class as identified by Richard Florida, would be better served by rental housing instead of for-sale condominiums.

Finally, the health and safety issues in Skid Row, adjacent to the Historic Core, are greater challenge than the resources available to the city government can handle and additional resources from the county and state will be required to accommodate the needs of the homeless population.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (350 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Norman Carter
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