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The Reurbanization of Los Angeles

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Renovated Building in Downtown LA
(Image by Justin Samuels)
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Los Angeles was certainly a city hit hard by white flight starting in the 1960s. Downtown LA once had beautiful hotels, as did the Westlake district. These hotels rapidly declined and became welfare motels or more precisely crack motels. 1980s image of California in the media was beach cities like Malibu. All while even certain beach cities that were a part of Los Angeles proper such as Venice has been allowed to horribly decline. This decline is long over. A variety of factors caused this reversal. Starting the the 90s the federal government gave major tax credits to encourage investment in run down urban areas. Traffic in Los Angeles had become unbearable with so many people driving in on hours long commutes from far flung suburbs. Urban planners began reimagining a Los Angeles which people lived much closer to work, where shopping amenities were much closer and where one could use public transportation to get around the city.


Bus Going Down Street in Downtown LA
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Central Los Angeles is central to Los Angeles county. It has government office buildings and corporate office buildings. The homeless population has been cleared out of much of downtown, pushed further east into the skid row district. With large sums of investment coming in, Downtown has new hotel construction, new office building construction, and new residential building construction. Welfare motels (politely called SROs) have been converted to creative office space, lofts, and affordable housing. While I would say one will probably ultimately want a car, Los Angeles's public transpiration has undergone considerable expansion in the form of better bus service and an expansion of it's train network. The train network in Los Angeles is a combination of commuter rail, subway, and light rail. More Angelenos have gotten used to using public transpiration. Of course if one wants to go out on a night on town and is a bit drunk, these days it's best to just use Lyft or Uber to get home as drinking and driving is not cool.


Greenline Train at Airport Station in Los Angeles
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Speaking of drinking, downtown Los Angeles years ago did not have much of a restaurant or bar scene. Now there are great restaurants, bars (including gay bars) and hot trucks. Seeing hot trucks was a shock for me, as years ago Los Angeles did not have hot trucks.


Hotruck in Downtown Los Angeles
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As for Venice Beach, Venice has undergone considerable improvements. Once considered unsafe it has gentrified to the point where Google and Twitter now have offices there. Having tech sector employees there have certainly caused housing prices to skyrocket.

The next big revitalization project is the Inglewood area close to the airport. A new stadium is being built in Inglewood and the Rams will be playing in the Stadium. The raiders may come as well, plus major entertainment events will be held in this stadium. It's close to the airports and the hotels, and not far from downtown LA or the beach cities. Now that the stadium has started construction, developers and investors are already calling property owners in Inglewood and asking to purchase. The development with certainly increase Inglewood's tax base. Of course the poor fear displacement and to an extent have been displaced. People who worked low skill jobs (stripper, bartender, and similar such jobs) during my visit would often tell me they were moving to the MidWest or the interior parts of the West. Of course Los Angeles easily gets newcomers coming in, so that's no threat to these businesses.

 

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Screenwriter. Historian. BA in History and certificate in Latin American studies from Cornell University. MA in English Education from Columbia University. Very interested in public policy.

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