Los Angeles Neighbourhoods: Extravegent Diversity

Phil Ochs, the famous American singer come songwriter, once said “The final story, the final chapter of western man, I believe, lies in Los Angeles”. May be you don’t know who Phil Ochs was but I dare say that what he said here wasn’t an exaggeration at all. It’s a mutual dream of all Americans. With its warm soothing climate, LA is a greater city containing several small communities within itself. For those of us who plan to get settled in LA, the variety of these luxurious and hence high-priced suburbs offers a great deal of options with each neighborhood having peculiarities of its own.

So where to start from? There are so many of them, each with its own attractions. Here, we are considering the neighborhoods which are most famous amongst all. In East, you have Hancock Park, Los Feliz, Downtown, Echo Park, Silverlake, Hollywood, Korea town, Atwater Village, Eagle Rock and Glendale, which are really enormous places. Facing west you see West Hollywood, Culver City, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Westwood, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Venice and Malibu. If you go for Southside, there we have Inglewood, Southern LA, El Segundo, San Pedro, Long Beach, Torrance, Redondo and Manhattan Beach.

The immaculate living conditions and easily approachable beach is what made Santa Monica (North of Montana) make it to the top of the list. With the sky high prices of average house, which can be as high as $3.1 million, this costly neighborhood is the most desirable amongst all. Within the luxurious city of Los Angeles, there is another luxury city, Hidden Hills. With a streak of typical ranch style of Texas, this community is suitable for a rather private, simple and peaceful life style. The average price of homes goes up to $2.75 million.

Famous amongst celebrities, with well provided privacy in the mountains of Los Angeles, is the neighborhood of Bel Air. The price for median homes in Bel Air is $2.43 million which is third highest amongst all. Providing the best view of ocean, directly accessible surfing spots and median home price of $2.35 million, Hill Section of Manhattan Beach is the attraction for affluent youngsters.

In the North of the Manhattan Beach is Pacific Palisades, best suited for those of you interested in having a family-friendly environment. The sale price for homes in this area is $2.15million. The outstanding beach and mountains views are what make Malibu one of the most desirable places of Los Angeles to live in. Prices here are $2.15 million. A perfect place for surfers and outdoor activities’ lovers, within a somewhat reasonable home sale price of $2.1 million, El Porto is the Manhattan’s neighborhood with variety of shopping and dining options. Present in the central Los Angeles, Hollywood was once called the city of show business. The constantly moving out entertainment industry hasn’t affected the popularity of this city anyways. Restaurants, shopping malls, nightclubs are filling in the space. Heavily visited by tourists, this city is not going to lose its popularity among Americans.

Other than these highlighted suburbs, there are others which seek the attractions of in movers and tourists. So many options to choose from! If that’s the problem you are facing (and surely this is the problem) then there is one thumb rule you need to consider and it is that you should choose the place most proximal to your work place. Traffic is a big problem in LA and you getting stuck in bumper to bumper traffic jam (every now and then) surely aren’t what you are looking for in this city.


Los Angeles turning into the city of homelessness – The other side of the coin

Putting aside all the perks of beings a resident of Los Angeles, the city of dreams, there are some darker aspects we need to focus are lenses on. All the attractions of the city are turning the heads and those who can afford to, are getting settled in the high-priced, ultra-modern neighborhoods of the city. This indeed is resulting in an increased demand of land area within the city to convert these land areas into high-class suburbs.

In the streets, near the garbage baskets, you see them, the homeless people. Living in the conditions like those of third world countries, denied of their existence are the homeless citizens of Los Angeles.

Video taken by Human Stories

Of these 12,000 individuals are facing chronic homelessness. From where do they come? These are the residents of Los Angeles driven out of their houses for the sake of building condominiums and gentrifying the neighborhoods for the affluent population of the city. Given the housing crash witnessed by the downtown Los Angeles (just 8 years ago), the situation is highly contradictory in an unsettling way.

In 2015, under the influence of two city ordinances, Los Angeles’ police was instructed to remove homeless’ every possession they encounter-including their makeshift tents. In June, a whole cleanup effort was initialized to scatter the homeless population, driving them out to the eastern skirts of the city. For housing development authorities and owners of real state, the slum and encampments are nothing but a factor which may lower the prices of their gentrified properties and condos. Ordinances regarding the municipal trash cleanup are the guised efforts to get rid of these homeless’ encampments.

The economic recovery rate of LA’s high gentry out speeds the recovery rates for the poor population at alarming rates. According to the estimations made by the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA), the suburbs facing increased gentrification are Venice, Echo Park, and West LA downtown and other. Since 2013, the demand of makeshift tents and other temporary shelter structures has zoomed up by 85% from which you can have an idea about the extent of homelessness in LA. The streets and footpaths of LA are now occupied by 16% more homeless Angelinos. Currently, the total number of homeless people was 41, 174 which was 35,524 in 2013.

Following the recession, the effects of which are majorly faded away, the combined effect of rent crisis and stagnancy of wages for financially weak population is evidently. Again according to LAHSA, the number of street-dwelling families has increased by 12%, since 2013.

It is mistakenly said by many that the homeless population of the LA is merely what is present in the Skid Row. However, the homeless population is steadily increasing in Venice, Studio City, Santa Monica and Highland Park, considering the respective gentrification going on in these areas. A very surprising data surfaced according to which in Skid Row there were about 10,000 housing units within the budget of poor. In 1980s, this number fell down to 6,700 and now this number is a meager 3,600. This makes us conclude that not only we are beings driven out of the suburbs of LA, but their rightful designated area is also squeezed over the course of time.

Several studies indicate that the number and figures regarding the homelessness are becoming bigger with each passing year. Each year, affluent people are moving in to dwell the suburbs which obviously results in increased demand of land gentrification which directly hits the poor and from poor they become homeless rather chronically homeless. There is a cost one has to pay for every luxury in life but who says it always has to be paid by the one who is enjoying the very luxury.

Mushroom growth of Los Angeles`gentrified Neighbourhoods

Gentrification is something Los Angeles is witnessing over a last few years and it is on steroids. The attraction one feels towards this city of dreams is out of question. This attraction is indeed driving bulk of world’s Richie-rich’s in the city to find and dwell some high-class condominiums with perfect views of ocean and mountains.

Neighborhoods like Venice, Highland Park and Eagle Rock are witnessing intensified gentrification. You sure have read the phrases like “excess of everything is bad” or “two sides of a coin”. Same goes in the case of Los Angeles gentrification. This trend of upgrading the suburbs into high-class housing colonies started in Venice in 1990s which then turned into more of a “tsunami” (as described by David Zahniser of L.A.Weekly, 2006). This tsunami after invading from the western and eastern neighborhoods of Los Angeles is now making its way into Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo and downtown Arts District. Respectively, Eagle Rock and Highland Park turned into noticeable gentrification hotspots in 2001 and 2007.

Appearance of some high-fashioned boutiques and eateries on some commercially important streets like Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock Boulevard and York Boulevard and entry of some affluent families in Eagle rock and Mt. Washington; these have made the gentrification further evident in Northeast L.A. The two adjacent neighborhoods of Highland Park and Eagle Park are well known for their rich history of different forms of art. The diversion of investment to the development of suburbs in the skirts of the city left these suburbs neglected and then in the new millennium, the white-rich population took over, bringing with them the trend of gentrification.

A big example of gentrification’s impact surfaced when the downtown Los Angeles’ 83 years old street bridge, which was more of a relic of the classic LA, was announced to be a new one with an estimated cost of $449 million. The expected demolition alone triggered an instant increase in housing prices from Venice Beach to the Eastern parts of the city. This has resulted in an outright anxiety among the poor dwellers of the surrounding area who know what the replacement of the bridge will bring with it. The residents of adjacent areas are becoming increasingly annoyed and claim that the bridge was more than just a bridge for them and it was rather historical relic for them.

College Station, a multi-use complex destined to be made just in the east of China town Gold Line station was designed with two of its 20 story high towers. Since the day of this plans approval, the design has been going through a series of modification to optimize the profitable space utilization. Under the pressure of opponents worried about the gentrification the two towers are cut out of the plan. It is claimed by the residents of the area that this development will indeed affect the housing prices of the area which in turn will cause trouble for the poor dwellers of the area. The Los Angeles River, not fitting anywhere in the posh environment of LA, is in the eyes of the developers and investors. There are plans of turning the river into a recreational site and building expensive condominiums and apartments, in other words, turning the place into yet another. Other developmental plans are also underway in this small neighboring, Frogtown, dwelled by Latin residents with low incomes.

According to the estimates made by the American Community Survey (2013), 51 land tracts of Los Angeles have been gentrified and out of a total of 999, 661 tracts are not legally allowed to be gentrified. I am not suggesting in any way that development is a bad thing neither am I suggesting that the rich people are the bad guys. But, the purpose here is to highlight the simple fact that your actions might not suit others the same way they do you. Gentrification to some extent, as long as it doesn’t affect the living of the people with low financial status, is not a negative activity.

The house protects the dreamer – respond to The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard

A house has hidden many things in it. It has a sense of unity and also of complexity at the same time.  If asked from a phenomenologist, he imagines all the ways in which a person can live in his house and consider his house as his only world. When we move from some old house to a new house then the memories, in the form of images, of our previous house some kind of converge in the new space we know as the house. On the contrary: through the brilliance of an image, the distant past resounds with echoes, and it is hard to know at what depth these echoes will reverberate and die away.

If someone asked me to tell the main benefit of house, then I will say it is to shelter daydreaming. The house gives a shelter to the daydreamers; it gives the opportunity to inhabit to dream in peace. Later, when I shall have occasion to mention the relation of a new poetic image to an archetype lying dormant in the depths of the unconscious, I shall have to make it understood that this relation is not, properly speaking, and a causal one.

Topoanalysis is a systematic psychological study of memories i.e. where memories are localized. Memories are actually motionless and as sounder the memories got as securely they are actually fixed in space. The house protects one residing in it and also gives shelter from the birth.

If we notice, we can see that path to our house becomes very precise and familiar for our muscular consciousness. Oh look at the roads to my house. Nothing in this world is comparable to their beauty. These roads are presenting an active life in the form of a poetic image. Path is a very dynamic object and reflects image of joyful life.

All our thoughts in the mind get clear up near the roof. In the attic it is a pleasure to see the bare rafters of the strong framework. Here we are participating in the solid geometry of design of carpenter. As the cellar is concerned, there are lots of uses of it and we found no doubt in it. It will be rationalized and it conveniences enumerated, but it is also the darkest entity of the house and when we dream in the cellar, we have the fear of irrationality of depths. The creatures moving there are quite mysterious. In a palace there is no place for intimacy.