The city of Brea and the Playa Vista project in West Los Angeles have been recognized as models of livable, pedestrian- and transit-friendly communities.
The Sacramento-based Local Government Commission, a nonprofit group that studies cities, selected the Brea for its plans to create a downtown in a suburban community where one did not exist.
The other honoree, Playa Vista, is a 1,087-acre site where developers hope to build a high-density community of 13,000 homes, a commercial campus and numerous parks and retail businesses.
The two Southern California developments were among eight projects to receive 1999 Ahwahnee Awards from the group.
The awards are named after the Ahwahnee Principles, which were drafted by leading architects and urban designers during a 1991 conference at Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel.
The principles call for communities to be designed with housing, jobs and daily shopping and recreation venues within easy walking distance. They also favor housing for different income and age groups, a central plaza for commercial, civic and cultural uses, and as many mass transit connections as possible.
Those principles are popular among New Urbanists as alternatives to suburban sprawl.