From the desk of Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director of Government & Public Affairs

Strategies for Safer Polling Places

AIA National released an open-source resource last week to help election administrators during the 2020 general election.  We’ve shared this report with the County of Los Angeles Registrar/ Recorder.  “The report and 3D illustrations provide a menu of architectural, engineering, operational and administrative strategies that can be used in accordance with state and local guidelines.”

Reopening America: Strategies for Safer Polling Places

Assembly Bill No. 1561

Good news: If your residential project was entitled prior to March 4, 2020 and is expected to expire prior to December 31, 2021, Governor Newsom just signed AB 1561, which will extend your entitlement deadline by 18 months. It extends the “expiration, effectuation, and utilization dates associated with both ministerial and discretionary permits” for residential projects.

Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing (SCANPH)

SCANPH recently announced their recommendations for several 2020 ballot measures.  As an organization with close ties to architects, they are encouraging yes votes on the statewide propositions 15, 16, 21, and County of LA Measure J.

Although AIA Los Angeles has yet to review and endorse Props 15 and 21, I’m curious to know the impact that these two propositions will have on the livelihood of the architecture and whether or not they will have positive or negative impacts on the financial and emotional health of our cities and communities.  If you have insight you’d like to share (or a strong opinion one way or another), please reach out to me at

AIA California has officially endorsed Prop 16 and encourages the AIA membership to vote yes, which will repeal Prop 209 and allow for more equitable opportunities in the procurement of professional services with public agencies.

The JEDI Committee is organizing a voter’s guide for architects and will be further discussing the importance of the 2020 election on October 14th.

To learn more about the JEDI voter’s guide, click here.

Adaptive Reuse 2.0

In collaboration with Los Angeles City Planning’s Urban Design Studio, on October 21 (2pm), we are organizing an Adaptive Reuse 2.0 roundtable to rethink specific zoning code and building code requirements in an effort to promote recovery, health and wellness, and resilience.

For more details and to RSVP, please click here.

Given the potential for a change in demand for office space, and with the Health Element of the General Plan in mind, let’s see how we can expand the City’s adaptive re-use provisions to more areas of Los Angeles.

· Allowing hybrid uses
· Open, adaptive buildings and spaces
· Adapting parking for other uses
· Environmental benefits of adaptive reuse: conservation of resources and energy upgrades
· Update of Adaptive Reuse ordinance, moving the age of buildings forward
· Exploring a mix of uses in current office space

The desired outcome is for AIA LA and members of the City of LA family to identify a set of recommendations, as well as, identify an effective pathway forward to expand the Adaptive Re.use ordinance citywide.

Measure J (Re.Imagine LA)

Last week, the JEDI Committee organize a roundtable on Measure J (Re.Imagine LA), which will be on the ballot in November.  The roundtable served as an opportunity for AIA LA members to learn more about the Re.Imagine LA initiative and its direct connection to the core values of AIA Los Angeles and the architecture and design community. If Measure J passes in November, it directs the County of LA to prioritize investments in health, housing, and economic justice in their annual budgets.

The JEDI Committee is currently organizing an official response and will share its recommendation to the AIA LA Board of Directors.

City of Los Angeles Housing Element Update


Legislative Day at City Hall

Our annual Legislative Day at City Hall is scheduled for Thursday, December 3rd and will be transformed into a virtual event this year.  If you’d like to get more involved in helping to shape our biggest advocacy event of the year, then please reach out to me at

2020 AIA LA Advocacy Platform
(Conceptual Draft)

Issue #1: Zero Code for Los Angeles, California

To advocate our support, along with AIA CA’s endorsement, of the 2022 Zero Code for California and to request that the City of LA adopt it as a reach code in 2021. This will align us with AIA CA advocacy and demonstrate LA architects’ desire to be leaders on climate action.

Issue #2: A True Streamline To Faster Housing Production

Part One: To advocate that LA City Council invest in software modernization for LADBS to facilitate 100% digital plan-check in the spirit of resilience, efficiency, cost-and-time savings, and greater compatibility with the tools and resources utilized by the private sector (architect, contractor, LADBS: all talking on the same interface).

Part Two: To advocate for very specific improvements to simplify and streamline LA City Planning’s entitlement and permitting process, especially for affordable housing.

  • Establish a Dedicated Unit of Affordable Housing Case Managers
  • Simplify the Process, eliminate antiquated or redundant requirements, raise the site plan threshold to 100 units, an allow for electronic versions of signatures and approval stamps in order to facilitate the Ready to Issue process
  • Allow for Alternative Compliance Approvals at the Staff Level