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Building on History: A Summit for Housing Solutions

Building on History: A Summit for Housing Solutions

As the state grapples with finding solutions to the housing crisis, historic preservation is often a central concern, but can also be a key opportunity.  Join us for a series of panel discussions on the intersection of historic preservation and housing in three areas: adaptive reuse, compatible infill housing, and preserving “naturally occurring affordable housing.” This interactive program examines the important role of historic preservation in developing and preserving housing.

This summit features speakers representing expertise from architecture and development to government and preservation advocacy. Prepare for a forum marked by insightful dialogue, rigorous debate, and actionable insights to help shape the future of housing in our communities.

Keynote Speaker: Alfred Fraijo Jr., Principal, Somos Group

Lunchtime Speaker: Richard Green, Professor and Director and Chair of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate; Chair, Wilbur H. Smith III Department of Real Estate Development

Session 1: Adaptive Reuse: Harnessing the Potential of Heritage for Housing Solutions

This session will highlight success stories and the future potential of adaptive reuse, where vacant or underused commercial structures are reborn as vibrant residential spaces, driving economic development while safeguarding the historic fabric of our urban landscapes. An expert panel will discuss successful strategies for navigating regulatory frameworks, design considerations, code challenges, and financial feasibility to tap the potential for adaptive reuse projects to play a significant role in addressing California’s housing needs.

  • Ken Bernstein, Moderator, Principal City Planner, Los Angeles City Planning Office of Historic Resources and Urban Design Studio
  • Cristian Ahumeda, Executive Director, Holos Communities
  • Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco)
  • Tarrah Beebe, AIA, Senior Associate, KFA Architecture
  • Michael Shilstone, Vice President of Policy and Research, Central City Association of Los Angeles

Session 2: Preserving Place, Accommodating Change: New Housing in Historic Contexts

This robust panel discussion will pull from a wide variety of experience and expertise to explore how to fit new housing into historic contexts. With new state laws being enacted that allow for larger and denser buildings, what are the current best practices for establishing objective standards? Where can there be a compromise that allows historic neighborhoods to retain their character without reducing mandated housing density? How does the act of fitting into a neighborhood help everybody - municipalities, developers, current citizens, and future citizens?

  • John Arnold, KFA Architects, Moderator
  • Brandon Spencer-Hartle, Senior City Planner & Historic Resources Manager at City of Portland
  • Dale Brown, President, Onyx Architects
  • Jean Frost, West Adams Heritage Association
  • Lambert Giessinger, Senior Architect, City of Los Angele Office of Historic Resources Los Angeles Department of City Planning

Session 3: Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing:  Protecting Our Valuable Resources

This panel will discuss the challenges facing Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) and explore strategies to preserve these invaluable assets in the face of redevelopment pressures. By shifting the focus from new construction to the preservation and enhancement of existing housing stock, we want to foster sustainable and inclusive communities.

  • Adrian Scott Fine, President & CEO, Los Angeles Conservancy
  • Frances Anderton, Common Ground: Multifamily Housing in Los Angeles
  • Max Podemski, A Paradise of Small Houses
  • Louisa Van Leer, Principal, Louisa Van Leer Architecture

Special Presentation and Tour:  The Adaptive Reuse of the Historic Herald Examiner Building.

This building was designed by Julia Morgan for William Randolph Hearst in 1914 and sat vacant for nearly 30 years. Situated amidst a population of 600,000 young adults lacking local higher education options, the building has been repurposed to house academic and public programs, aligning with Arizona State University’s (ASU) broader educational mission within the Los Angeles community.  This presentation will cover the decisions by ASU to locate in downtown Los Angeles, the adaptive reuse of the Herald Examiner building, current schools/colleges in Los Angeles, and where the university is headed.

  • Interim Dean Sandra Stauffer - The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA)
  • Paola Sanguinetti - Director of The Design School (HIDA)
  • Dennita Sewell – Founding Program Director of ASU FIDM – Fashion (HIDA)
  • Cheryl Boone Isaacs –Founding Director of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School (HIDA)
  • Elaine Becherer – Director | Office of Enterprise Planning