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The Virtues of a Low-Rise City

12/30/2019 9:26 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

by SM.a.r.t.

For several years, SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow ) has been promoting the notable advantages of a low-rise city composed primarily of buildings no higher than 4 stories. In this article from exactly four years ago, our colleague Mario Fonda-Bonardi explained in detail the benefits of a low-rise city, and the quality of life issues that arise with taller buildings. With the new state requirements for massive increases in the City’s number of apartments, this information becomes more relevant than ever.

As the noted architect Christopher Alexander said in his book A Pattern Language:

“At three or four stories, one can still walk comfortably down to the street, and from a window you can still feel part of the street scene: you can see details in the street, the people, their faces, foliage, shops. From three stories you can yell out, and catch the attention of someone below. Above four stories these connections break down. The visual detail is lost; people speak of the scene below as if it were a game, from which they are completely detached. The connection to the ground and to the fabric of the town becomes tenuous; the building becomes a world of its own: with its own elevators and cafeterias.”

Why a low rise city?

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