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No longer pie in the sky

March 19, 2007

Re "City plans to float deal on air rights," March 14

Amid growing calls to conserve energy, the Los Angeles City Council's vote to sell 9 million square feet of air rights in the Staples Center area raises questions of balance between air rights and sun rights. It is true that our right to sunshine is not well established in zoning law. But in view of the growing demand for air rights by developers, we all should be concerned that a future high-rise building may someday leave our own property in perpetual twilight.

There is no doubt that higher densities, especially of mixed-use development, are essential to a city. But to address the real threat of global warming, there is also no doubt that future city building must take into account how buildings use energy. Properly sited and sized, buildings can be energy self-sufficient. Even high-rise buildings can, if properly outfitted with photovoltaic collectors, produce their own electricity. But first we must establish zoning laws that guarantee a right to the sun's clean energy.

Shouldn't our City Council be considering plans for a sustainable as well as a profitable city?


Professor emeritus

USC School of Architecture

Los Angeles


Now that the city is planning to sell some of its air, The Times will need to devote some pages in its Real Estate section to include information about air estates. I can see the advertisements now: "Fixer-upper air available," "As-is air for sale," "Air sale -- perfect for first-time air owners" and "Why rent when you can own air?" Of course, such air can be viewed Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.


Santa Monica

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