Skyscraper City Forum banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
city driver
Joined
·
469 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think in the future, when most people visit LA, they will start here. There is so much to explore in the LA urban area that they will undoubtedly make trips to Santa Monica, to Hollywood, to Long Beach, etc. But their trips will start in the area from Koreatown to Downtown. This area is the most accessible area in LA because it is the most traditionally urban. This area is already the center of the transit system, has the highest population density, and great ethnic diversity. It also has large historic buildings and nice parks. Once "city west" is built up and there is continuous street life between downtown and macarthur park, this area will feel very much like a cohesive urban neighborhood.

I define this area as bordered by 3rd street on the north, pico or olympic on the south, wilton or western on the west, and main or spring st. on the east. I'd like to hear what you guys think about those boundaries, whether you think they do, in fact, describe a specific and unique area of the city, and what you think this area should be called.

Just like los silverpark, or greater hollywood, or beverlygrove, or SM/Venice, this area is unique and feels cohesive to me.

I also don't think it gets enough recognition as a distinct area (discussions usually separate downtown, macarthur park, and koreatown)..
 

·
Silver Lake
Joined
·
5,451 Posts
Agreed that this is one contiguous activity area but the others that you mentioned are as well. Funny how one little subway connects and exploits these areas and make them feel somewhat internally cohesive. To note, the only reason why your western border is of course Western is because the subway ends there. If the Purple Line continued to Fairfax at least do you think those neighborhoods would be pulled in as well? And if so, how would that feel? Remember in the case of Hancock Park, it is possible to have isolated inaccessible feeling hoods amidst urban activity, think NYC's Upper Eastside.
 

·
city driver
Joined
·
469 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've always felt it changes drastically at Wilton. When you're on wilshire going east, you go through hancock park and it feels like somewhere in San Diego, and then all of a sudden you're like "I'm in a totally different place."

I also think it's more than the subway that connects these areas. They feel like a "classic" city to me, with brick buildings and really interesting, LA-specific historic urban architecture.

I really don't think it detracts from any of the other amazing neighborhood areas of LA to define this area as different. It really is a specific animal, a specific type of urbanism. Obviously there was downtown and then wilshire, but the way they are developed today, Downtown to Koreatown seems cohesive to me, like the loop and the north end in Chicago.

I think a lot of people from other places would feel differently if they knew this area existed. I think a lot of smart people who really could help build this place in the way we (on this forum) want it to, don't move to LA or don't work on projects in LA because they don't understand it.

That's why I like to take poeple who have a poor understanding for LA to this area first (this area which I don't have a name for), and then they feel a lot better. It's like "wow, why doesn't everyone love this place?" And that's when I can explain to them that L.A. is so much more than this. Then they kinda get it. But just like no one explores boston from the suburbs in, you have to take a lot of people to the core before they get it.

I agree with all of you that LA isn't like other cities and so there's so much more to it than core/suburbs.. but I'm one of those people who likes to teach people (I don't just go "they don't get it, screw them"..). So I'm interested in finding a way for people to interact with this city in a way that is accessible to them. If you don't "get" LA, then this area is the best place to start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,500 Posts
The area already has names. Lots of them. Central city, Westlake, MacArthur Park, Koreatown, Pico-Union.....etc. Just call it Langer's accessible.
 

·
city driver
Joined
·
469 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I like that.. except unfortunately it's acronym is "L.A.".....

Maybe call it "the purple" for the purple line. Haha.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
That area, Koreatown area, is a very interesting part of LA. I drove in it a few months ago. I think I was headed to Silverlake and was taking a really bizarre route with a friend. The traffic was a complete mess and would never do it again.

But I really was amazed by the look and feel of it. Definitely not an image of LA that you'll EVER see on television and I don't think many people in the city even know about it. I never knew LA had an area that looked like that until I just happened to get lost. But of course I had zipped by many times it all on the freeway.

I'd even agree with your original post that it is very reminiscent of Manhattan streetscapes.

Never really had a reason to be in that hood but it was interesting. I also noted that there was a suprising number or people walking vicious look bulldogs at night. If someone likes that gritty dense urban feel it should definitely be worth a visit.

That’s the great thing about Los Angeles. You can always discover something new or different when you travel to a new part of town.
 

·
"There It Is, Take It!"
Joined
·
981 Posts
I think the problem here is that people are trying to overlay NY Borough-sized boundaries into communities in Los Angeles. We think regionally (i.e. So Cal/The Southland), sub-regionally (i.e. The Valley, The Westside, The SGV, South Bay), or in terms of municipalities (i.e. Glendale, Artesia, Torrance, Covina) or, in the case of Los Angeles City, communities (i.e. Venice, Boyle Heights, Leimert Park, Sherman Oaks, Watts). What's being asked here is an area larger than a community, yet smaller than a sub-region. I don't think anything fits that paradigm here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
The issue with the area you are referring to is that it is a mostly homogenous area. Of course theres a decent size Korean population and more yuppies are moving in, but for the most part (except downtown), it is a nearly entirely latino area. Also, Koreatown has a notoriously high crime rate.

This isnt to take away from the nice architecture in the area and overall urban feel, but this area is mostly lower class latin families that live in dense neighborhoods that most of us would consider unhealthy. If and when these neighborhoods gentrify, the density will obviously go down, but its not until then that they will become hip neighborhoods that most Angelinos would want to spend time in.

Eventually, I have a feeling the Koreatown will become much like Greenwich Village in NYC. Eventually the gays and creative types will become a strong enough minority in the area that the rest of the middle/upper middle class will feel comfortable moving in, think Silverlake or Venice. The difference between K-town and Venice or Silverlake is that it is smack in the middle of the city, while the others are more on the fringes of the city. I think that evenutally the classic buildings in the K-town area will start to be appreciated much more and fixed up nicely for the wealthier types to move into. My guess is that many of the buildings will also be rehabbed to create larger units for those with more money who don't want to live in 500sf apartments. By this time, hopefully the subway will either have been extended or be in the process of being extended which also create a new interest in the area. The only problem with this, is that whenever I get out to NYC and visit the west village area, I almost feel like i'm in disneyland or on a movie set. The area is so perfect that it doesnt feel real. It's a strange feeling that I'm sure others here can relate to.
 

·
city driver
Joined
·
469 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
yeah, I'm really not trying to advocate for this area. Seriously. I'm not trying to talk it up in anyway as being better than other areas in LA.

All I'm saying is that I've shown die-hard LA dismissers this area and it's changed their minds about LA. People are stupid and closed-minded. If it looks like something they understand and are used to, they're a lot more receptive and willing to actually think about things.

And because of this, I think this area should have a specific name. If it were an island or a peninsula (like san francisco), then it would have a name. But I don't think it needs to be an island because it already is developed so differently than the areas around it.

Or maybe it's a bad idea to make a name for it, because it'll just impose other cities' ideas of urban heirarchy to our city.. I don't know.

But I would like to have a discussion about whether this area does deserve it's own name.
 

·
Silver Lake
Joined
·
5,451 Posts

·
Silver Lake
Joined
·
5,451 Posts
"Dweeb" a noble deed in indeed, but can we just stop trying to change peoples minds about LA, undoubtedly one of the greatest and well known cities on the planet.
 

·
city driver
Joined
·
469 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No. I can't stop.

All my good friends from college, except one, live in NYC because they think there's no alternative.

The most adventurous/artistic people from my school are out here, but that's it. I know it will just take time.. but I want my friends to live here now!
 

·
The Place
Joined
·
1,137 Posts
dweebo, LA it's a great place. If your friends think that NY it's the only alternative let it be... There are millions of New Yorkers that thought the other way around and that's why they live here.
 

·
Silver Lake
Joined
·
5,451 Posts
I'm dissapointed w/ my New York expatriates.....they all consider themselves urban but they aren't at the least hardcore urban. the first thing they do when they get here is go buy a car and never step foot on a bus. I bought a car after 2 years of living here and now try to drive least as possible. W/o taxi culture (which is a form of car culture)Iguess they feel very limited in their flexibility.
 

·
city driver
Joined
·
469 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I recently asked an urban studies professor what he thought about LA's transportation issues, and he said basically this:

The highest degree of day-to-day mobility that people have ever had and ever will have was with the automobile on high-capacity freeways/highways.
Asking an entire metro area of Americans to give up their cars is completely unprecedented. He said basically we will just all go fewer places in the future. He also said that since LA wasn't laid out for public transit that it will never be as good as other cities.

Being a positivist myself, I hope that we can show in LA that an entire metro area, raised on cars, can be enticed to use public transit. It's going to be harder here, that's true. But just like Chicago people love bragging about how they can handle the intense weather, I think we can build a sense civic pride around doing something no other american metro has had to do..

I think the area from Downtown to Koreatown is unique in LA because even though the movement down Wilshire was inspired by the automobile, it was pretty much just an extension of Downtown's urbanism, not an entirely new "auto urbanism" like century city. The other areas in LA that are laid out like this are Pasadena, Hollywood, Long Beach, Beverly Hills, and santa monica, but these are each much smaller areas.
 

·
Silver Lake
Joined
·
5,451 Posts
But LA was not built for the car.......it boomed because of the largest streetcar system in the world not because of the freeway system, that came later and has only sustained the boom. These urban planners esp from USC house of cards will continue to topple as rapid transit steadily encroaches on these areas that were once considered car dominant and at least are transforming them into a place where 'calmed cars' and pedestrians can co-exist. My examples would be the very places that now everyone is saying that they have the potential to be ped orientated when 10 years ago everyone considered them just as car-dominated as the rest of LA. They are the nascent pedestrian transforming areas of Hollywood, SM, Pasadena, Koreatown, Westlake, Downtown LA, soon NOHO around the sub stop, Silver Lake/Echo Park/Los Feliz.....all of these areas on any given weekend you will see tons of people walking around. Now some of these people are walking back to their cars that they parked 3 blocks away but it is a start. We just need to continue to build a system that will tie all of these walkable areas together.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top