Agent

Design review boards do architecture disservice

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

The real estate event of the summer
Connect with other top producing agents at Connect SF, Aug 7-11, 2017

(This is Part 1 of a three-part series. See Part 2: ) For a century or so, zoning and building regulations have existed to ensure public health and safety. Now and then, they've affected architectural aesthetics as well--for example, New York's light-and-air zoning laws indirectly created the city's characteristic stepped-back skyscrapers--but dictating how buildings should look was never their intent. This is no longer the case. Over the last few decades, more and more city governments have adopted a process called design review, in which building plans are judged not just for adherence to health and safety codes, but also for aesthetic merit. In many jurisdictions, conformance with a design review board's recommendations has become a de facto requirement for obtaining a building permit, so that in effect, our civic building departments now decide what constitutes "tasteful" architecture for the rest of us. Is this such a bad thing? Doesn't design review prevent people from building ...