The Leadership of the Getty

SurveyLA would not have been possible without the leadership of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which includes both the Getty Foundation and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). The Getty has worked since 2000 to lay the groundwork for a citywide survey in Los Angeles.

In August 2000, the GCI commissioned Kathryn Welch Howe to conduct a study of the potential for a comprehensive citywide historic resources survey of Los Angeles. The next year the GCI published The Los Angeles Historic Resource Survey Assessment Project: Summary Report, which documented the community, cultural and economic benefits of a citywide survey. The report concluded that there was broad-based support for a survey from government agencies, neighborhood residents, business owners and the preservation community. The Summary Report examined current survey practices in Los Angeles, reviewed comparable experiences in cities nationwide, developed a framework to consider the challenges and opportunities associated with a citywide survey, and provided an assessment of the GCI’s role in the survey process.

The offices of the Getty Conservation Institute
at the Getty Center in Los Angeles

By 2002, the GCI began working in a cooperative relationship with the City of Los Angeles and civic stakeholders to develop research on historic resource survey methods and practices and the various uses of survey information. The GCI’s Los Angeles Historic Resource Survey Report discusses the research results and, as mentioned previously, provides the City with a framework for developing a plan to complete a comprehensive citywide survey.

The Getty Foundation and the City of Los Angeles entered into a grant agreement for the Los Angeles Historic Resource Survey Project in September 2005. Under the agreement, the Getty committed to providing up to $2.5 million, subject to certain matching requirements by the City. The grant agreement anticipated that the survey will be a multi-year, $5 million project.

In the grant agreement, the GCI volunteered to provide additional services, separate and apart from the Getty Foundation’s funding commitment to the project. As part of this continued support, in 2015 the GCI and City launched HistoricPlacesLA, the first online information and management system specifically created to inventory, map, describe, and help protect signifcant cultural resources; these include properties recorded through SurveyLA as well as properties listed in the National Register, California Register, and City designated Historic-Cultural Monuments and Historic Preservation Overlay Zones. Data entry into the system in ongoing.