In this December post, I relayed some concerns I had about how well-meaning city codes can have an adverse impact on urban design and health. I ran across a piece that illustrates that point perfectly in Los Angeles.
It blames the flat appearance on the skyline to a fire code passed in 1974 that requires buildings to accommodate a fire helicopter landing pad with adequate buffers.
So again, a well-meaning code (though I have a hard time understanding how a burning building can be helped by having a helicopter land there), that has a limited application effects the everyday, in this case the skyline view usually in a negative light.
The good news, as the entry shows, is that these things can change, as long as there is the political will to do the changing. Sometimes, a lack of awareness can carry on the status quo. In many instances, planners have a hard time raising that awareness and it appears that no one carries that water to public officials.