Forming historic districts in the Los Angeles suburbs

Los Angeles is often considered the prototypical suburban city: the city and the suburbs sprawl over a wide expanse of land, the population of the region boomed from the 1920s on, and the region has a car culture (see my thoughts about last year’s “carmageddon” as an example). So it may sound strange to talk about historic preservation districts in the Los Angeles suburbs but a historic preservationist provides a quick overview of efforts in the region:

A representative from the Los Angeles Conservancy this week said Burbank’s efforts to preserve its architecture has been at about the C- level. But that will likely improve as the city’s Heritage Commission moves closer to adopting a process for forming historic districts…

While not many homes have been submitted for the historical registry, there has been more interest in the past several months because of increased outreach efforts by the commission, which may improve Burbank’s standing in the preservation community, Vavala said.

Besides, he added, “half the cities in Los Angeles County get an F.”…

“Certainly, there are a lot of great homes scattered through cities throughout the county, but there’s no assurance that five years after you move in, a ‘McMansion’ might go up across the street, which will perhaps lower property values,” Vavala said.

Historic preservation efforts are well known in many other places in the United States so it is interesting to note that it hasn’t quite caught on in the same way in the Los Angeles region. I would want to know what homes in Burbank, Glendale, and other suburbs are ripe for historic preservation: are these homes from the 1920s, 1940s, or later? Is it more difficult to convince Los Angeles area residents that historic preservation is needed? Would the average American know that there are even homes in southern California that are worthy of historic preservation?

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