The Contrasting Forces Behind Downtown L.A.'s Revitalization

With several sporting events of national notice taking place in downtown Los Angeles, last weekend provided a prime platform to showcase the resurgence of the area. However, big-ticket events are just one of the many forces re-energizing downtown.
May 21, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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L.A. Live, the sports and entertainment mega-complex that was the locus of excitement over last weekend, is just one of the forces of change that Sam Allen and Hector Becerra describe in their exploration of downtown Los Angeles's transformation.

"These big-ticket events tell only part of the story. Urban planners and others say that smaller, organic neighborhood forces, the inventive mix of retail shops, restaurants, bars and galleries, have also been an important draw."

"[Joel] Kotkin and others said downtown is really a collection of neighborhoods - not a monolithic whole - each with its own vibe. And they are much less interconnected than many might think."

"Downtown L.A. is like the rest of the city," said Steven Erie, a political science professor at UC San Diego who has written about Los Angeles. "Just like you have a spread-out city, you have nodes in downtown. They're very weakly connected, and that's the way L.A. grew, and that's the way downtown was developed. There's multiple downtown experiences."

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Published on Sunday, May 20, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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