The City That Avoided Gentrification

Howard Ahmanson poses the idea that Los Angeles might be the least gentrified city in the U.S., with a history of white flight south and immigrants improving their own neighborhoods and holding on to them.

Ahmanson writes, "Los Angeles has been "gentrified" and made more stable in many of its areas by immigrant settlement, but the phenomenon of Anglo "gentrification" – what used to be "yuppies" or their more contemporary counterparts (original "yuppies" are now in their 50s) upgrading a formerly "bad" neighborhood by pushing up rents and squeezing out existing relatively poor folks – is rarer in Los Angeles than in almost any other American city."

Full Story: LA the Least Gentrified Major City?



LA the Least Gentrified Major City? Not exactly.

I think Mr. Ahmanson needs to walk through neighborhoods like Echo Park and Highland Park which have gentrified to some degree and are increasingly gentrifying as I write this. I personally think one of the reasons why LA hasn't gentrified more has to do with its poor development pattern. If LA was more walkable and had better street scape we might have seen this happen a lot sooner. Also, a lot of the people doing the gentrifying aren't white yuppies, but Latino and Asian yuppies. And another thing. I wish Mr. Ahamanson would have focused solely on LA. Instead he talks about Santa Monica and Pasadena which aren't the city. Good attempt, but the article missed a lot.


Has Mr. Ahmanson been living under a rock? He has very outdated old family notions of Los Angeles.

"Both of those downtowns fill up on weekends at night with hard-partying young Anglos, not exactly to be seen on Broadway in LA at any hour."

First of all, he works form the assumption that "Anglo" = wealthy or gentrification and doesn't really take into account the children and grandchildren of Hispanic families who have been in the region for too long (generations) to be considered "immigrants." I'm not sure he gets that there is often no distinction or separation between this population and the new arrived "Anglo" residents. (My God. Anglo? Is it the 70s?) Putting that aside, has he never been downtown on a weekend night? The new restaurants and clubs? The lofts and condos? The Thursday art walk where tons of "young Anglos" stroll the streets with wine glasses in hand moving from gallery to gallery? The old bars like the Golden Gopher made suddenly cool again? Bottega Louie packed on a Sunday night? The Crocker Club? The Edison? Who does he think visits these places?

Additionally, Mr. Ahmanson seems to have never been to the Sunset Junction area of Silver Lake or even Echo Park, both of which have seen a large influx of young "Anglo" folks as well as considerable retail growth and reuse of old properties and the improvement of the old housing stock.

Maybe I'm missing something in the article, but it seems very ill informed. Perhaps that is because Mr. Ahmanson lives in Orange County and having been part of the so-called “secessio patriciorum” (eye roll) he is wholly disconnected from the city his family was once so important to. Perhaps his religious/political “dominionism” has compelled him to remain separated from the great Babylon of Los Angeles?

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