Edited by Loretta Lees and Martin Phillips
Chapter 19: Gentle gentrification in the exceptional city of LA?
This chapter investigates gentrification in one of the US’s most suburban cities – Los Angeles, a city where until recently few have discussed gentrification. It always seemed odd that a city as large, as powerful, as infamous, as controversial, and as ethnically, economically and culturally mixed as Los Angeles somehow slipped through the major gentrification debates of the 1980s and 90s altogether. The gentrification that is occurring in LA has been described as ‘gentle’ or ‘weak centred’. Zooming in on the neighbourhood of Silver Lake, northwest of Downtown LA, the chapter finds a gentrification that is trying to preserve some of the character of this neighbourhood but that the speed of change is escalating. Looking at Silver Lake’s walkable form, historic housing stock, and extensive history as an attractor for alternative types, it is argued that it is not surprising that new incomers (gentrifiers) are flocking to the neighbourhood today. But it is argued that a tipping point seems to have been reached moving the neighbourhood from social preservation into full blown gentrification.
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