From Architects Newspaper writer Casey Lynch: "Changing demographics and an array of trends are quickly positioning infill development as the 'new normal' in real estate. But what is less commonly discussed is that small-scale development is the future of infill. In dense but sprawling cities like Los Angeles, our many village-like, niche neighborhoods simply cannot handle the infrastructure demands of large infill projects. The result is that the ongoing pressures of urbanization and densification will require more targeted development of a smaller scope and scale. The growth of Los Angeles is dependent on our ability to facilitate neighborhood development. "Such small-scale development faces a unique set of challenges that must be addressed to solidify the platform for urban revitalization. The problem isn’t that the development process is different for projects of different sizes (although it can be), it’s that the demands of the process place disproportionate strain on smaller projects. The most challenging demands stem from the opacity of the entitlements process, the cost of doing business, and the response times of city agencies. Smaller developers have fewer internal resources to digest these complexities, and can’t afford to engage expensive land use consultants and expeditors for advice.
"While Los Angeles will see more small-scale development out of necessity, we should also embrace it as a prospect for better development, generally. Smaller developers tend to be much more attuned to the wants of communities in which they work, which leads to projects that are designed more appropriately to fit within the existing fabric of neighborhoods. These projects also offer an added economic uplift to the community, as small developers are more likely to engage local architects, designers, and builders." Full article here.