Survey Methods Research

The GCI's research on survey methods and management issues provided a blueprint for the citywide historic resource survey. The GCI's research entailed a review of survey-related literature, ordinances, and regulations; interviews with city, state and federal agencies that administer and use historic resource surveys; and a review of existing and best practices locally and across the country. In 2004, the GCI presented eight research papers to senior staff from thirteen Los Angeles municipal departments to assist them in determining the survey's value to their work. Sources consulted during the course of the GCI's research are searchable within AATA Online.

The GCI's research was organized under the following topics:

  • Survey Standards: Survey standards provide the guidelines for conducting the survey, the methods to gather data, and the level of research to be completed so that survey results are consistent and the survey itself meets legal requirements.
  • Historic Context Statement: The context statement is the organizing framework for the survey. It relates the architectural, historical, and cultural development of the city to its physical form. The context statement is used to develop survey priorities and to evaluate the significance of individual properties and districts.
  • Historic Resource Criteria: Survey criteria encompass local, state, and federal guidelines and classification protocols so that the survey has broad utility and relates to incentives and programs at all levels.
  • Communication and Community Engagement: Community participation is a cornerstone of historic resource surveys. A good communication strategy will facilitate input from property owners and residents about their properties and neighborhoods, and will assist the city in informing the public about the purpose and value of the survey.
  • Use of Historic Resource Information by Public Agencies: Public agencies make broad use of historic resource information for environmental assessments, property management, and program activities including rehabilitation projects and new construction. Verified, consistent, timely information facilitates the work of government agencies, saving both time and expense.
  • Information Management: The survey will require a sophisticated information collection and management system. A Geographic Information System (GIS) can integrate survey information with other municipal property data so that comprehensive information on properties is available to both municipal departments and the community.
  • Preservation Incentives: A range of financial and other incentives are available to those who wish to invest in residential and commercial historic buildings. The availability of incentives can generate support for the survey.
  • Funding: Funding for historic resource surveys typically comes from municipal sources. There are options to engage the private sector and other public funding sources in support of historic resource surveys.

The research results were published in 2008 as The Los Angeles Historic Resource Survey Report: A Framework for a Citywide Historic Resource Survey.

Page updated: August 2019