Westwood Singles
Westwood, CA

Located just south of UCLA, Westwood Singles is an infill development that caters to current graduate students and recent graduates of UCLA. Prefabricated modules create a compact, efficient living space for an individual looking to get his or her professional career started. These modules feed into larger, shared “offices” which residents can use as incubator spaces for starting up their own businesses, or as work spaces for their personal work following graduation. The site, located on what are currently several parcels of surface parking for a CVS and small retail stores, is within walking distance of a number of essential and leisure services. Because of this proximity, no additional services or spaces are needed within the project that might dilute its purpose. Three major bus lines make several stops within walking distance of the site – The Metro (Rapid and Local), Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, and Culver City bus – serving ten bus routes, all of which make stops at UCLA on a regular schedule. Additionally, the area is well served by bike lanes, and services are within walking distance. This access to alternative transportation methods alleviates the traffic burden in the area, and connects the residents to the rest of the city, should they desire to leave this wonderful area.

Westwood Singles will create density through infilling. One problem preventing development in Los Angeles is the difficulty in assembling parcels upon which to develop. This 34,800 ft² lot will be sufficient for medium- to high-density housing because of the more compact nature of the project. Because this is a new development, there will be no condo conversions or luxury condos replacing affordable housing - another problem in the city.

Residents will not need to commute to get to work, as their work space can be located right below them if they desire. This will eliminate the need for long commutes to work or school. It is a prime location for graduate students still attending UCLA or teaching there, and is closer to campus than all but one of the University’s current graduate/family housing developments.

DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Among the housing goals stated in the UCLA Student Housing Master Plan 2007-2017, “University housing will be guaranteed to new graduate and professional students for a period of two years. University housing will be guaranteed to new graduate and professional student families with dependent children for as long as the student is making normal progress to degree conferment for up to seven years. University housing will be available to single postdoctoral scholars for a period of two years, as supply is available. University housing will be available to new postdoctoral scholars with dependent children for as long as the individual is participating in a postgraduate program for up to seven years, as supply is available.”

Westwood Singles will be developed in affiliation with UCLA as graduate student and recent graduate housing. The units are meant to be similar to single room occupancies, or efficiency apartments, but more modern in that they will not share kitchen and bathroom facilities. Each unit will be self-contained with living space, bathroom and kitchen. Westwood Singles will make use of inclusionary zoning policies that will expedite its approval and construction process, as well as relax some of the otherwise limiting factors in its development.

The development will benefit from reduced parking requirements. C2 zoning requires that 2 parking spaces be provided for developments with more than 3 habitable rooms (for residential uses). However, due to the project’s proximity to so many public transportation options and amenities, and its classification as affordable housing, I propose that the community waive this standard.

The master plan aims to increase the percentage of students housed in university-owned housing by 11% (a 10% increase when considering private off-campus housing as well). This assumes an enrollment of 25,500 undergraduate students, and 11,500 graduate and professional students.

ZONING PLAN

Westwood Singles is located at 1263 S. Glendon Ave, just south of Westwood Village. Amenities in the area include dining, shopping, supermarkets, pharmacies, book stores, libraries, laundromats, and movie theaters among others, all of which are within walking distance. Low-cost/zero cost transportation options will be essential for the proposed client profile.

This is a well served area with a decent mix of residential and retail/commercial building types. The project site is currently zoned as C2, which encompasses R4 uses. Since this zone has a minimum dwelling unit area requirement of 400 ft², I will need to apply for a variance to allow smaller units, which will be an important factor in the project’s design if it is to succeed as a prototype for small-scale living. Smaller units will allow for a denser development, and will free up space on site for public use. I am also proposing that through urban trade-offs, I will be able to increase the FAR on the north end of the site to 4:1 which will allow me to pull some of the Wilshire high-rise character into the project. There are six main parcels available in this lot with a combined area of approximately 34,800 ft².



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