9 thoughts on “Urban Blog #5 LA neighborhoods

  1. The peril of hipster economics , the writer and researcher Sarah Kendzior writes that “urban decay in some neighborhoods of the main cities in the world has become unfortunately in a number of urban parts to be remodeled or idealized by gentrification.
    According to the author, “these neighborhoods loaded with a nostalgic attractive aesthetic and an enriching urban life – encourage the arrival of new upscale residents seeking this lifestyle in neighborhoods historically associated marginal populations – public service and poor job opportunities – that end up being removed for poor suburbs.
    “They want to change a memory that others have built. This is the hipster economy,” says Sarah.

    The gentrification of defenders focus on aesthetics, not the people. Because people for they are the aesthetic. They attest their intentions by stating that cleared the neighborhood. The problems that existed at the site such as poverty, lack of opportunities, people who fight for denied public services have not disappeared. Simply been moved to a new location. This new place is usually a poor suburb, which lacks glamor to become the object of future attempts at urban renewal. There is not a story to attract conservationists, because there is nothing in the poor suburbs that worth to preserve worth it. This is degradation without beauty, without romanticism ruin: pawnshops, shops, buying dollars, modest houses and overdue accounts. In the suburbs poverty seems banal and is forgotten.
    In the cities, the gentrification of defenders have the political clout to relocate resources and repair the infrastructure. The neighborhood is clean by removing their original resident, and gentrification of defenders can enjoy the sun in urban life: the dilated history, selective nostalgia, carefully sprinkled sand the same time avoid responsibility on those who were displaced. In-depth analysis of displacements in San Francisco and its growing impoverished suburbs journalist Adam Hudson says that “gentrification is a drip economy applied to urban development: as a neighborhood is suited to rich, mostly white people, the benefits spread to all others. ” As the drip economy, this theory is not carried out in practice.

    The rich cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco became the journalist Simon Kuper that calls citadels gated : “vast walled cities where you play a percent.” The cities of central and northwestern United States needs investment of its coastal countrymen, but, in turn, got rid of the rapid advancement of economy hipster . Damped by his eternal little avant-garde innovation these cities of slow change are able to make better decisions. Decisions that enhance people’s lives instead of the place aesthetics. Gentrification propagates the myth of native incompetence. The real success is in offering those residents the services and opportunities that for so long have been denied.
    When neighborhoods experience some commercial development, the priority of the work should be directed to local residents who fought long to find nearby jobs that pay a living wage.

  2. To some extent, a social dichotomy exists in every city, but few are so clearly spelled out as in the city of Los Angeles. Perhaps the clearest illustration of this dichotomy exists between Santa Monica and Skid Row. Santa Monica stands as the beachfront home to stars and the affluent, while skid row is recognized as the home to one of the country’s largest homeless populations.
    It seems that the city of Los Angeles and many cities like it are content with such disparity, and while there are some notable efforts to help those less fortunate, nobody would deny that the city of Santa Monica receives much more attention and better services than places like Skid Row.
    One prominent effort of correct the social disparity that exists in Los Angeles and bring it into the public eye, is the New Carver Apartments. These apartments exist as a collaboration between the Skid Row Housing Trust and Michael Maltzan Architects. Situated next to the congested Santa Monica Freeway, this sculptural apartment complex seeks to create a sense of dignity for the chronically homeless that occupy the project while forcing those in grid lock traffic to recognize the disparity that exists in their city.
    The serrated all-white form of the project is meant to both dissipate some of the highway noise and also distinguish it from its context. Those that occupy the building are given not only a secure home, they are given a place where they can begin to form an identity and be able to say “I live there.” In addition to creating a recognizable identity for the chronically homeless population (more than 10 years), it also offers job training and mental health counseling for those who need it.
    Skid Row Housing Trust seeks to establish “permanent supportive housing.” They house the homeless, in addition to people in extreme poverty, mental illness, poor health, disabilities, and addictions. More than just their well- being, they focus on these people’s recovery and inclusion into society. Inclusion in society is crucial to solving the problem. Shelter is the surface of the problem, without these social programs to integrate them back into society, they would surely fall back into previous state.
    While this project and others like it, like Star Apartments which are also by Michael Maltzan Architects, were not publicly funded, they are a step in helping to right some of the social wrongs that cities like Los Angeles are guilty of. They begin to gives these undeserved people a place to begin to work toward a better future. However what is truly remarkable about these projects is that they not only have a noble social agenda, they elevate the typology of homeless housing to a formal language that surpasses some of the most high end residential complexes.
    These projects give their occupants dignity through the built form. While not every architect should seek to correct social injustices which their work, at very least, the work must be socially conscious and aware of its own implications within the greater context.

  3. Los Angeles, CA is quite an interesting case to study when it comes to demographics and the way people are dispersed about the area. The Los Angeles area is known to be home to extravagant, prosperous millionaires, while at the same time being associated with high violence, homelessness, and feared areas. Although the juxtaposition between social classes may not be as sharp or apparent here as, say, the favelas next door to hotels and resorts in Brazil, it is still a very real and present issue in the region. Not even 10 blocks away from the financial district of Los Angeles is the neighborhood or settlement known as Skid Row. Skid Row is known as one of the largest stable populations of homeless people in the United States. This area has essentially become an informal settlement infamous for its high population of homeless people. Officials within the city cannot be content with this settlement, due to its implications. Homeless people everywhere will inevitably bring down property values in the area, thus lowering property taxes, and then most importantly resulting in less income for the city.
    Cities cannot simply pop up a public housing complex and assume all will be better, however. We have seen this mistake with the massive Pruitt-Igoe urban housing project in St. Louis, MO. This 33 building complex, each with 11 stories, was built in 1955, and was completely demolished by 1976. This was due to decay, which stemmed from lack of upkeep by its occupiers and the state, increased crime, and an overall displeasure of the complex from the community. Something similar would most likely happen in this region of Los Angeles, so city planners and legislators must be creative and smart in finding a solution.
    Meanwhile, about 15 miles west of Skid Row on the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica offers its residents and neighbors (such as Beverly Hills) some piers for their yachts, deep sea fishing, shopping, and many other entertainment pleasures. All nice neighborhoods and entertainment districts have to start somewhere, especially in older areas. This is typically done through gentrification. A gentrified area is one in which older, historic buildings or land are redeveloped and modernized. Gentrification is also often accompanied with displacement of lower income residents. One example of this would be the brown stone homes in New York City, and similar apartment-style homes in downtown cities across America. Of course, current residents oppose gentrifying cities because they often cannot afford the newly renovated property. Also, gentrification could take away character and historical presence that an area has.
    It’s a vicious cycle that cities must learn how to combat. As of the last ten years or so, more people are entertaining the thought of city life, rather than suburban life. Urban cities want this to come to fruition, especially after being urban donuts in the 80’s and 90’s. To do so, they must attract people to city life by redeveloping older, run down areas into nice, aesthetically pleasing common areas or parks or shopping areas or what have you. This forces gentrification and the displacement of low-income folks who, in revenge, hurt the higher property values if they cannot afford to relocate elsewhere. This will be a major challenge for cities as the world population continues to increase and as more people move to cities.

    – Nathaniel Chadwick

  4. Los Angeles, as the wealthiest city in California, is a place frequently used to experiment architecturally with fancy new developments, replacing the city’s poorest areas. Gentrification has been a long-standing trend in Los Angeles, with an increase in activity within the past week, beginning with the infamous Los Angeles River and dangerous South Los Angeles.
    Mayor Eric Garcetti, in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers, have recently proposed, and been approved for, a $1 billion restoration of the Los Angeles River, stretching from Downtown to Elysian Park. Plans include what Mayor Garcetti calls a “more accessible riverfront for everyone” in the eleven-mile restoration sector, as well as 100,000 new housing units, all to be completed by 2021. This stretch of redeveloped river reaches to Dodger Stadium and Elysian Park, which are attractions well suited for an additional urban riverfront. However, as the development arrives downtown, it cuts directly through districts such as Skid Row and Chinatown, which need nothing less than expensive, large-scale residential development.
    South Los Angeles, while not yet experiencing the full physical gentrification that the River currently is, has been under careful consideration for future rebranding. City officials have proposed shortening the name to SOLA, in the hopes of mirroring the hip character of neighborhoods like SOHO in New York and SOCO in Austin, Texas. In addition, rumors have spread about a potential SOLA Village: a development with resorts, restaurants and residential towers.
    While both examples may not be the stereotypical implementation of “gentrification” as we know it, in the sense that single buildings in poor districts are not being renovated, they are essentially going to lead to the same outcome. While Mayor Garcetti intends the new housing developments to be “affordable” for the residents of the neighborhoods being demolished, the “reinvigoration” of the riverfront will attract the same, wealthy residents that aspire to own the latest and greatest condos in cities across the world, at the expense of the working class homes and homeless areas such as Skid Row. Also, while the plans for the river have been approved, the $1 billion budget has not yet been funded by either the state or the national government, meaning private investors will most likely be the first to purchase the new riverfront units to ensure their completion. In the case of South Los Angeles, a simple renaming will not produce enough socio-economic change within residents, while a full-blown resort style development may produce too much. Some residents have questioned the motives behind the name change, asking whether it is for the benefit of current residents or future development.
    The disparity between Los Angeles neighborhoods is one that cannot be soothed with physical gentrification or nomenclature alone. What Los Angeles needs is a public housing revival, accompanied by a fiscal one. The city argues that these new developments will produce jobs, but those working to make someone else’s dream home a reality are destroying their middle class reality in the process. Workers will come out of employment with money, but an increasing lack of affordable housing to spend it on. For now, we can only watch and see how Garcetti’s riverfront and SOLA proposals will be taken by the Los Angeles public, and more importantly how they will be funded. In the meantime, we must continue to study the ever-diminishing diversity of Los Angeles neighborhoods, and look for solutions to retain that diversity, since city planning officials don’t seem to be offering any.

  5. Urban Geography Blog 5
    Just from working on the project these last few weeks, I have identified some rather startling differences between the affluent parts of my transect and the less affluent sections. To say that the property value drops off a cliff once I transition out of Beverly Hills is an understatement overestimating the qualities of cliffs. I was interested in looking at how the city of Los Angeles was combating the obviously egregious differences in wealth between and relative levels of living quality between neighborhoods. Beverly Hills, the city dominating the affluent portion of my transect, is listed as the Business Insider as one of the top 10 richest neighborhoods in the state of California, while the rest of my transect has average home prices that often run tens of times lower than the average multi-million dollar Beverly Hills estate.
    In many cases, it is important to note that affluent citizens in neighborhoods like Beverly Hills often resist any change in the status quo, especially as far as significant developments of new housing are concerned, in order to keep people of lesser social status from settling and among their more affluent population. Given that developers are unable to build in these areas because of the local resistances, this often leads to the gentrification process proceeding in lesser developed neighborhoods with less political clout.
    This, in Los Angeles in particular, has seen a revitalization effort focused around downtown, which, alarmingly, was most known for the infamous neighborhood of Skid Row. Given that that is fairly reminiscent of a 9-5 Central Business District, the city has obviously been putting forth a great deal of effort involving attempts to instill new life into the area. Interestingly, both significant domestic and foreign investment from places as far away as Israel have been instigated, while new residences and over 400 businesses have been put in in the area, as of 2013.
    That being said, the city now has a sort of internal dichotomy between the homeless population of Skid Row and the suddenly gentrifying, more affluent, more popular retail and less 9-5ish downtown. The city has noted that this discrepancy has increased significantly, with the homeless population rising, perhaps in association with other causes, but likely contributed to by their displacement as previous residence areas are replaced with Urban Outfitters stores and restaurants, and the like. Among the more than 5,000 dwellings being constructed in the downtown area, only a handful are deemed “affordable” housing by the city-instead of attempting to house everyday workers, the city is looking to create housing for a more upscale class of upstart professionals looking for condominiums and other such artistically associated residences in a revitalizing inner city.
    Given that the workers employed in the newfound retail and dining establishments springing up in the area cannot afford to live in the residences being constructed nearby, public transport is required to facilitate their commute-however, given the somewhat hellish state of traffic in Los Angeles, this in and of itself can be, and often is, a nightmarish proposition. This is a sort of interesting scenario compared to a European city where the CBD has never really fallen on hard times like the CBD of Los Angeles-I wonder if the residences being put in for upper class “hip” individuals looking to move to the revitalizing CBD are present in European cities that underwent gentrification to any degree, or if the constant life of the CBD has kept workers in the CBD in living places near their place of work in the city center.
    That being said, it seems obvious that in regard to the dichotomy between the rich and the poor in Los Angeles and the efforts being made to revitalize the city center, the rich are coming out on top, as the poor and their quieter political voice are being marginalized in favor of a more upper-class-centric movement occurring in downtown Los Angeles.

  6. Urban Geography Blog 5

    The demographics of Los Angeles are diverse, as with any major city, but the proximity and the extremities are far more than average. Skid Row and Santa Monica are prime examples of the diverse differences that appear in Los Angeles. Traffic and gentrification are some of the many problems that exist through out these areas, as well as the surrounding districts and neighborhoods. The process that occurs in attempts to make areas more inclined to the middle class is gentrification, this displaces impoverished populations and forces them to other locations because of costs rising to the point of it being impossible to pay rent. While on the outside, gentrification looks like it cleans up neighborhoods, its a problem, its not helping the community in these neighborhoods, its kicking them out so that richer people can live in these renewed, remodeled areas. Skid Row is known to be the home to the homeless and impoverished populations in Los Angeles, and recently there have been many attempts for gentrification. A recent article in The Guardian “The gentrification of Skid Row – a story that will decide the future of Los Angeles” explains that as the city of Los Angeles grows in population and density the area has become a “battleground” for the city’s future and expansion. The article also explains the stark contrast between the areas by painting a picture of the reality of skid row: “One wrong turn out of a trendy night spot or the Disney concert hall and you can find yourself in another world, where encampments of the drug-addicted and mentally ill spill out on to the sidewalk for block after block after block.” This image demands to be dealt with and confronted. Skid Row’s population makes up for about one tenth of the population of downtown Los Angeles, and a population that has needs that are not being met, instead of acceptance, rehabilitation and community growth the exact opposite is occurring, which is oppression, criminalization discrimination and haltered is ramped from the rest of the population, most of all from the police. While the police are absolutely necessary for civilization, the approach of these groups of people by the police are not helpful, and actually harmful. Not only is the attitude of the police unhealthy for Skid Row, but the area itself plays into the devastating cycle of poverty, poverty has many aspects, its not just a lack of money, but its a lack of community, of identity of self worth, a lack of confidence as well as many other things. Poverty is not all on individuals, but is also a result of broken systems. Skid Row has maximized this even further by making it very difficult to break free of the norms of these places. It can be devastating to the person that has dreams of doing great things but can’t break free of an addiction, that has been encouraged by those around them to feed into, and not break free from. Poverty in urban areas are complex, geography in community development is essential to alleviate and the healing of communities. The separation of classes in such contrasting ways are damaging, bringing diversity in social and economic groups encourages growth and healthy communities.

  7. Blog Assignment #5
    Urban renewal has been necessary in places where didn’t have appropriate urban planning and one of the methods utilized is gentrification. Although it is an improving process that remodels and idealizes the neighborhood, gentrification leads to displacement of its inhabitants, which causes the neighbors discomfort. As the LA urban planning sees this necessity and implements this procedure, the process raises questions that may become social problems as cited by Sarah Kendozier, a writer and researcher.
    According a governmental website source, “To be eligible to gentrify, a tract’s median household income and median home value needed to fall within the bottom 40th percentile of all tracts within a metro area at the beginning of the decade. Tracts considered to have gentrified recorded increases in the top third percentile for both inflation-adjusted median home values and percentage of adults with bachelors’ degrees.” , and its census charts a considerable quantity neighborhoods in LA that gentrification was extended. Therefore, the image shows specific neighborhoods that either present the result of gentrification or are against it.
    Skid Row is a LA neighborhood that shows a mistake in urban planning made in this Californian metropolis in the past. It has been struggling to deal with the fact that it’ll be challenging the current transformation into a city traditionally urban. The neighborhood still resists changing and has been described as an “obstacle to the rebuilding of a first-class downtown in Los Angeles”. The Skid Row residents are looking for a public response to their actual situation where the answer is not only removes them from there, but also provides them housing. It was shown recently in an article written by Collin Marshal for theguardian.com. Also, the death of a 45-years-old resident dead in clash with Los Angeles police department officers.
    Boyle Heights also shares part of the feeling against gentrification. This neighborhood, which has a considerable Latino community, strongly wants to preserve their culture. For instance, they had a victory against the gentrification when a landmark and a gathering place would be replaced by a shopping and a medical office. Following the protest feeling, a banner was spotted in recent renewed hotel echoing the “Gentrifiers go elsewhere” sentiment. Therefore, gentrification process can be slowly seen around the neighborhood as comment a resident about a house’s fancy fence nearby. In other words, the resistance of what the neighborhood used to be and what it would become.
    As gentrification should provide revitalization and renewing of the neighborhood, what to do with its population seems to be an uncomfortable situation. Residents tend to keep their memories, accommodate with the appearance of their usual place, and keep a certain tradition concerning to what it used to be. However, questions float in the air. What should the government do to balance the necessity of change and the smooth acceptance of the population? Why the change is something so feared? What can be done to show to the inhabitants that some aspects of that neighborhood could be improved even though that would mean trouble and uncomfortable situations?

    Barragan, Bianca. http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/02/mapping_the_great_los_angeles_gentrification_wave_of_the_2000s.php
    Barragan, Bianca. http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/01/is_boyle_heights_going_to_be_2015s_gentrification_hot_spot_1.php
    Kendizior, Sarah. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/05/peril-hipster-economics-2014527105521158885.html
    Marshall, Colin. http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/mar/05/gentrification-skid-row-los-angeles-homeless

  8. California as well as most of the higher end areas like L.A., Brentwood and Santa Monica are not experiencing those same shifts as the rest of the people are. This is a very clear thing to see if you just do a little research. When I was looking at housing markets in the area of Whittier Ca. I noticed that there were lower priced homes that were having price changes that were more drastic then the rest of the higher end areas. In some places you would see prices of the homes jumping 100% in price and at the same time other higher homes are not shifting in value as much because they are not bing sold they are being put into trusts so that they will not have to pay a higher tax when it gets evaluated again for a current home price. So you have all of these nice places in the image like Downtown Brentwood and Santa Monica but then you have areas like skid row in Downtown L.A. that is the complete opposite of those places.
    Skid row as many people might know is one of the largest stable populations of homeless people in the United States. There is said to be between 3,000 and 6,000 homeless people here that have lined the street with cardboard boxes that they are living in. But I do not think that the taxes on there homes are going to go up at the end of the year. If you look at the image showing what looks like a sign showing that the population reads to many is something that everybody showed know. This is because we have all of there people living on the streets and California has of 2010 over a million vacant homes that these people could be using and this would allow the city to go in and clean up this part of the town so that it can be reused and repurposed to create more revenue for the area. We have learned all year that if you do not have an area that people like to go to then there is not going to be an income for the local businesses that are there. I know that L.A. is a wealth place but that does not mean that all of it is like this, the business around Skid Row probably do not like the fact that thousands of people are homeless right by them and its driving away business.
    Then that goes to the idea of gentrification and that the people do not want this to happen to them, and that is not a bad thing to want. I can under stand Boyle Height not wanting gentrification because it really has happened to many of the people that were living there in the 50s. An example is the Jews population in the 50s moved out of this place because banks were saying that this is not a place we want to give loans to people for homes, so they were trying to get people of lower income to not be able to live in this area. It happens all the time but it is usually in areas that people are not really paying attention to.

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