re: R1 Single Family Residential Districts

AR4736/630 Urban Policy 1, Fall 2017

In Fall 2017, Urban Policy will explore the regulations applicable to R1 Single Family Residential Zoning Districts. R1 Zoning establishes the development standards for the most fundamental architecture typology: the single family house. From Palladio’s Villa Rotunda to Jefferson’s Monticello, Le Corbusier’s Masion Domino to Peter Eisenman’s House X, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Homes to Frank Gehry’s own residence, the single family house has been the site of design exploration throughout architectural history. However, in metropolitan Los Angeles, the room to experiment with the single family house is increasingly constrained by local “Anti-Mansionization” regulations designed to curb excessive house size and deviation from neighborhood design norms. In seeming contradiction to this trend, the State of California recently passed laws requiring all cities to permit rental “granny flats” or in zoning speak “ADUs: Accessory Dwelling Units” within R1 districts – effectively eliminating the idea of “single-family” zoning entirely. At the same time, cities are grappling with the impacts of AirBnB and other similar vacation rentals in R1 districts that further erode “single-family” neighborhoods with the introduction of commercial activities. As the cost of housing, especially single-family houses, in the LA area rises to stratospheric heights, Proposition 13 property tax restrictions pit long-term older owners against new buyers, who are often over-sea investors, flippers, or wealthy immigrants. The combination of these competing pressures makes the R1 zone as contested a site as any in the region – and a location fraught with landmines and opportunities for the young architect.

Students will prepare a series of case studies and diagrams documenting the regulations of R1 districts from various cities, including Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Burbank, Arcadia, and Los Angeles.


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