Image by Johnson Fain of proposed 'College Station' in Chinatown. Just another cookie cutter mega-project in L.A.

Cookie-Cutter Mega-Projects Don’t Make For ‘Hot,’ Livable Neighborhoods

In Archive by Patrick Range McDonald

Greedy developers love throwing up boxy, cookie-cutter mega-projects in L.A.’s unique, low-slung neighborhoods to make huge profits. And powerful, City Hall politicians, who rely on developer campaign contributions, can’t wait to approve the zoning changes and General Plan amendments that allow developers to build them. But according to real estate website Redfin Real-Time, these developers and politicians are pushing exactly what people don’t want!

“Another [national] trend that has emerged in this year’s hottest neighborhoods is that buyers are looking for homes and neighborhoods with character,” Redfin Real-Time reported in January. “Redfin agents report that many buyers are bypassing ‘cookie cutter’ homes in neighborhoods that didn’t make our rankings for the charming original architecture and tree-lined streets that give neighborhoods like Ukrainian Village in Chicago and Mount Pleasant in Washington D.C. their unique personalities.”

We’ve been noting for some time that City Hall-approved mega-projects are destroying neighborhood character, displacing longtime residents and causing traffic nightmares. So developers and politicians are not only creating those serious problems that turn L.A. into an unlivable mess, but they are also making neighborhoods less attractive for potential buyers.

Redfin Real-Time offered up its insights for an article about the “hottest neighborhoods” in the U.S. and what makes them that way. With L.A.’s broken, unfair, rigged development approval system turning out more and more over-sized, cookie-cutter projects, it should come as no surprise that none of L.A.’s neighborhoods made Redfin Real-Time’s 2016 top ten list for the hottest places to live in the nation.

That honor went to neighborhoods in Chicago; Nashville; Minneapolis; Austin, Texas; Washington D.C.; Ventura and Irvine in California; Baltimore and Seattle.

Redfin Real-Time also found that buyers want housing that’s affordable, but L.A. developers and politicians keep jamming expensive, luxury housing complexes and towers into our communities. It makes one wonder if L.A. will end up with “ghost neighborhoods” where luxury high-rises have few tenants. After all, that’s been happening infamously in China.

Additionally, the website noted, people want to live in neighborhoods that “offer the stores, coffee shops and short rides to downtown that make communities livable.”

All of this only further points to the fact that L.A.’s broken and rigged development approval system, which is manipulated by greedy, short-sighted developers and regularly disregards a community’s desires and concerns, needs reform. And that’s what the Coalition to Preserve L.A. is offering with the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative.

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