Southern California

Neato Viral Map: Nearly Every LA Building's Age

When was your building constructed? A nifty new site has the answer.

To say that the Internet is an organism that's eternally obsessed with the shiny and the new and the now and the wow isn't entirely the whole picture.

True, about 98 percent of all carbon-based life-forms will drop whatever task they're doing to coo at an on-screen kitten, but many people are really hoping that their cool old building, with its funky columns and quirky touches, was built a super long time ago.

Age has sheen, even here in supposedly youth-obsessed Southern California, as a recently released built:LA map shows. Using public-accessible data, the map tracks the build year for every structure in Los Angeles County, or most of them, anyway.

Some are greyed out, when the data wasn't available. The years taken into consideration? Think 1890 through 2008.

The map is interactive, too, so with a whoosh of your mouse you're suddenly in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Carthay Circle, Nancy-Drewing the heck out of our city's fascinating architectural past. Or, as map mavens would put it, simply becoming enlightened and educated.

So that cute witch cottage at the end of your block? The one you and your neighbor gently bicker about, trying to pin down its birth year? Now you can settle that quibble, once and for all: You said 1922, your neighbor said 1924, but it is 1923 or 1926 or, shocker, 1940.

Shake hands and hug.

Omar Ureta, of the Urban Policy Collective @ Roschen Van Cleve Architects, is the city-knowledgeable urban designer behind the ambitious, hard-to-step-away-from map. We say "hard-to-step-away-from" as there are oodles of buildings to mouse over. "(T)here are over 2.9 million buildings in LA," at least since 2008, reads the message on the map.

Yep. We live in a real big place. Real big.

And with mansionization in the headlines these days, it's also easy to see where the newer structures stand in a neighborhood primarily constructed in the 1920s and '30s. And where some of the earliest houses still stand (hello, Angelino Heights and West Adams). 

Mr. Ureta's thoughts on land use and urban planning can be found at As for his passions, which are clearly on display in this fascinating map? He says he seeks to "reframe the ideas in architecture, urban design, and public policy toward the public interest." And "(t)hrough impact design, I focus on the processes rather than the outcomes of social, environmental and economic change."

These are hot topics for our ever-evolving, preservation-dear, future-forward megalopolis, for certain.

As for where to start? You'll of course look at where you live, first, no shocker there, but spend some time checking out the ages of other abodes around the area.

Chrome and Firefox, by the by, are the best ways to venture in, while Safari requires an additional step. Your info's here, map mavens.

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