Date: October 1 – 4, 2007
Location: Westminster, CA
Sponsor: Westminster City
Chair: J. Kevin Lawler
Subject Area: Economic Development, Urban Design
Summary of Recommendations:
The City of Westminster was exploring ways to enhance and sustain the long-term viability of Little Saigon, and therefore asked the ULI Advisory Services program to address a series of specific planning and development issues in Little Saigon. The Advisory panel was quick to point out that Little Saigon was not a classic redevelopment or revitalization project area. It needed a more compact physical identity to better embody the unique commercial and cultural impact that it could have on the surrounding region.
A prerequisite, before development could begin, was to develop a coherent, consistent vision and plan for the future of Little Saigon. An agreed-upon vision by all the stakeholders would make it possible for private and public interests to make informed land use and development decisions. The panel recommended many place-making tools that would help create distinct districts within a new downtown, pedestrian-friendly space. These special districts included an Asian Village (mixed-use), Media District (contemporary entertainment space), and a Cultural District (non-commercial cultural space). Form-based zoning codes, new architectural design standards, and signage regulations would need to be formed in order for this transformation to occur smoothly and cohesively. The city government had to play many roles: as a leader/facilitator, a regulator, and a public sector entrepreneur. But with all this implementation, Little Saigon would see improvement in its commercial, cultural, social and economic sectors.