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March 21 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

The AIA|LA Urban Design Committee Presents…

Models of Innovative Affordable Housing Production: Applied in Zurich, Switzerland – Possible in Los Angeles, California?

A virtual roundtable on ZOOM.


SASCHA DELZ, PH.D.Assistant Professor, USC Architecture

Sascha Delz is an architect and researcher working at the intersection of architecture, urban design, and urban studies. Investigating contemporary urbanization processes, his research focuses on how specific political-economic frameworks influence the manifestation of architecture, urban form, and living environments. Advancing knowledge on more equitable and collaborative practices of urban production, he is particularly interested in exploring cooperative, collective, and other people-centered alternative models of affordable housing delivery.

Sascha has practiced as an architect in Zurich and New York, has been engaged in numerous teaching activities, and was a research fellow at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore as well as at the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction, and City Development of Addis Ababa University. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Southern California where he coordinates the recently launched postgraduate degree Master of Advanced Architectural Research Studies in City Design + Housing (M.AARS CD+H).

His writings have been published in a diversity of books, journals, and magazines such as International Development Policy or Trialog. He is the co-author and co-editor of the book Housing the Co-op – A Micro-Political Manifesto. Sascha holds a Master of Science in Architecture and a Doctor of Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich).




The AIA|LA Urban Design Committee Mission Statement

Does anyone care about urban space today? Whatever happened to visionary urban design? Where is the model for Los Angeles? Is there a model for Los Angeles? Isn’t it the architect’s job to design the city? Can we envision and support non-commercialized collective spaces? Can we be radically optimistic about the future without seeming naive? Doesn’t the term “Urban Design” sound banal, academic, and indeterminate? Why is that? Can we change that? Is there political viability for large-scale ambitious planning initiatives? How can infrastructural investment alter and improve the way the city functions? What is the new mayor going to do about homelessness and how can we, as architects, help? Not to say anything about the policy, regulations, and red tape that govern land use, planning, and development, but if we had to say something about it where would we even start? What about the history of redlining, discriminatory lending practices, and segregation that has produced our present urban patterns? Can architects help foster an agenda of spatial equity in the city? Can small-scale interventions be more effective than large-scale propositions in making a more liveable city? How can return on investment be measured, other than in dollars and cents? Mass Timber sounds great, but what’s the story behind the sustainability argument? How can we develop the city more sustainably? Remember all that fuss about the LA River, what’s going on there? Same question, but about the Olympics? How much impact can an individual building have in the life of a city? What are the best practices for designing housing today? How can architects best respond to the current State of Emergency? Can we, as a profession, be more proactive in proposing solutions that we want to see implemented?

The Urban Design Committee believes that we can, and should. Our mission for 2023 is about asking questions, fostering discussions, proposing solutions, and illustrating visions for the future of Los Angeles.


Chair of the AIA|LA Urban Design Committee:

Jonathan Rieke, AIA – Project Leader, West of West & Chair, AIA|LA Urban Design Committee

Jonathan is a Project Leader at West of West, with experience ranging from residential interiors to large-scale ground-up development projects. He is a registered architect in California, Michigan, and Ohio and has previously worked as a designer for several award-winning firms including The Los Angeles Design Group, Bjarke Ingels Group, and Morphosis Architects. Jonathan has held academic positions at the University of Southern California, The Ohio State University, and Kent State University where he was the Schidlowski Emerging Faculty Fellow. Jonathan received his Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he was awarded the James Templeton Kelley Prize for best graduate thesis, and his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The Ohio State University.





Image Courtesy of West of West.


March 21
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT
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Virtual on Zoom


AIA|LA Urban Design Committee
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