Downtown Community Plan Update (DTLA 2040) | Los Angeles Conservancy
Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Downtown Community Plan Update (DTLA 2040)

On Thursday, October 8 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. the Conservancy convened a Zoom on the Downtown Community Plan (also known as DTLA 2040), where we welcomed staff from city planning to share the draft community plan, with a specific focus on preservation aspects and new tools. Please watch the recorded program

While much of downtown's success in recent years can be attributed to the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the neighborhood's historic building stock, the demand for higher density and new infill construction has increased as well.

The continued revitalization of downtown Los Angeles over the last two decades has brought about a new wave development, spurring discussions over the compatibility of new buildings in historic districts and affordable housing.

Following nearly six years of outreach, the draft Downtown Community Plan was released in early August and is now awaiting comments and feedback from the public (due on December 4). Once adopted by the city council, this plan will outline what can and cannot be built in specific areas, helping guide growth and development in Downtown for the next twenty years.

The Plan offers a number of new provisions as part of the re:code LA zoning and more contextual-based guidance. It also includes important incentives for preservation such as, an updated adaptive reuse ordinance and a pilot Transfer of Floor Area Ratio (TFAR) incentive program for the Arts District.

DTLA 2040 also introduces a new “Village” designation for some low- to mid-scale areas within downtown, supporting their role as historic and cultural destinations. We believe this approach could be applied elsewhere within downtown to both help preserve existing affordable housing units and legacy businesses.

We encourage all our members to join the Zoom program and to review the Downtown Community Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), and to submit comments by December 4.

For more information on DTLA 2040 please visit


There are 35 Community Plans within the city and each acts as a guiding document for land use and development over the next 20 years. Tailored to the area being served, each Community Plan provides goals, policies, and programs for implementation.The new Downtown Community Plan Update (DTLA 2040) encompasses both the Central City and Central City North Community Plans last updated in the early 2000s. 

The City first began working on the Downtown Community Plan Update in 2014. Field visits, land use surveys, data collection, and general input from community stakeholders helped to create initial goals and policies which was then shared with community stakeholders. 

Early on, the L.A. Conservancy began to work closely with the City’s Planning staff to ensure historic preservation policies were an important part of DTLA 2040. Since our initial meetings with the City, we have organized meetings with City staff, preservation professionals, and community members.

DTLA 2040 is the first community plan update to incorporate aspects of the City's new zoning code known as re:code LA. The City of Los Angeles first adopted its zoning code in 1946. For over 80 years the City has used this code, tweaking it here and there with ordinances, but overall it remains the zoning code as laid in the 1940s. For over a decade, the City has worked to create a new zoning code for the 21st century. Re:code LA introduces new and important contextual based tools we hope will encourage compatible new development in existing older and historic neighborhoods. 

While we see the plan as headed in the right direction, we are not without some concerns. For example, the plan does not fully support compatible new development (in terms of height and scale) within designated and eligible historic districts that include the Spring Street Financial District, Broadway Theatre and Commercial District, Little Tokyo Historic District, and Chinatown districts.

The Conservancy is pressing for ways to strengthen these proposed provisions and additional aspects of DTLA 2040 to support preservation.

Previously the Conservancy has raised concerns about high-rise development that present challenges inherent to contemporary design in a historic setting, including the appropriateness of scale, massing, materials and proportion. threatens the scale and character of the downtown.   

For more information on DTLA 2040 please visit

As a member of the general public, you are encouraged to submit comments on DTLA 2040 The review period for the Draft  Environmental Impact Review (DEIR) is from August 6, 2020 to December 4, 2020.

Your comments are due on December 4 and may be directed to:

Brittany Arceneaux, City Planner
City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning
200 North Spring Street, Room 667
Los Angeles, CA 90012