SurveyLA FAQs

What is a historic resources survey?
A historic resources survey is a process of systematically identifying, researching, and documenting properties that reflect important themes in the city's growth and development such as architecture, city planning, social history, ethnic heritage, politics, industry, transportation, commerce, entertainment and others. Historic resources include buildings, structures, objects, cultural landscapes, natural features and groupings of resources or areas known as historic districts. Examples of types of resources, or "property types," that may be included in the citywide survey are residential subdivisions, banks, bridges, religious buildings, courtyard apartments, canneries, motion picture studios, and parks.

How is a historic resources survey conducted?
A survey typically begins with background research on a property, area, or district to provide a basis to evaluate significance. Survey teams then conduct field inspections in order to identify the resource’s architectural, physical, and visual qualities and characteristics; assess the impacts of changes or alterations; and document overall condition through photography. These field inspections assess the exterior of resources and are conducted from the public right of way. Survey teams do not need to obtain access to private property, nor do they ask questions of property owners or residents.

How are resources evaluated?
Individual resources and districts are evaluated for significance in accordance with criteria established for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and California Register of Historical Resources as well as for local designation as City Historic-Cultural Monuments or Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (historic districts). Survey results identify resources eligible for designation as well as those that do not meet criteria for designation.

Do surveyed resources automatically become designated?
No. Although surveys identify and evaluate resources that may be eligible for designation, no actual designation results directly from survey activity. Designation by the City of Los Angeles and nominations to the California or National Registers are separate processes which include property owner notification and public hearings.

How will survey information be recorded?
As the survey progresses, information on surveyed properties is accessible from and the Survey Findings page of  this web site. 


Who is conducting the field surveys?
The survey and resource evaluations are being completed by consultant teams that meet professional qualification standards in historic preservation. The teams work under contract to the City of Los Angeles and the supervision of the Office of Historic Resources.

When are the field surveys being conducted?
The citywide surveys began in July 2010 and will be completed by the end of 2016. The survey phasing plan illustrates how the surveys are sequenced by Community Plan Area.

What resources are included in the field surveys?
The surveys cover the entire city and identify resources dating from approximately 1865 to 1980. This period encompasses the earliest extant built resources in Los Angeles and will ensure that, when the project is completed, resources 30 years of age or older have been surveyed.

Can resources that are less than 50 years old be considered “historic”?
The National Register, California Register, and City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument criteria differ somewhat in how they address properties of the “recent past.” A resource that is less than 50 years old may not be considered eligible for the National Register of Historic Places unless it is of “exceptional importance.” Such a resource may be considered eligible for the California Register if it can be demonstrated that sufficient time has passed to understand and gain a scholarly perspective on its historic significance. It does not need to meet the National Register’s “exceptional importance” test. The City of Los Angeles’ Cultural Heritage Ordinance does not have a minimum age threshold for Historic-Cultural Monuments.

Will archaeological resources be surveyed?
Archaeological resources will not be surveyed as part of the SurveyLA project but will be included in a future survey phase.

How can I be a part of SurveyLA?
The Participate page of the SurveyLA website includes various opportunities to become involved in SurveyLA.