Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning


City and Regional Planning


William Riggs


The Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Ordinance (ARO) is an incentive program that encourages building reuse through regulatory exemptions. The ARO was partially intended to reduce vehicle miles travelled by encouraging mixed commercial and residential uses in existing buildings within Downtown Los Angeles and areas poised for redevelopment (Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, 2004, pp. 22, 51). Researchers and planners claim that the ARO helped to reduce vehicle miles travelled (Bell, 2014; Los Angeles Department of City Planning, 2014d; Bullen & Love, 2009; Bernstein, 2012), but these claims are not supported by discussions of the spatial distribution of ARO projects in relation to transit, or if the ARO accelerated, or hindered, infill transit-oriented development projects. This thesis aims to better understand the contributions of the ARO to transit-oriented growth in the City of Los Angeles. Two methods of analysis are used: a spatial analysis examining the number of ARO projects within a half-mile radius of Metro stations, and a statistical analysis examining the number of new buildings constructed in Downtown Los Angeles from 1985 to 2013. The majority of ARO projects (72%) have been developed within a half-mile radius of Metro rail stations. The ARO appears to have accelerated downtown development activity since its adoption in 1999, reversing a lull in development that had been occurring in the area since the late 1980s. Findings suggest that the ARO has helped to accommodate and spur transit-oriented growth while preserving historic resources in the City of Los Angeles.