USC's plan to revamp a faded shopping center near its campus in South Los Angeles into student housing and retail space was met with protests this week at a Los Angeles City Council land-use committee hearing, reports Catherine Saillant.
Although many speakers at the hearing voiced overall support for the project, which has been nine years in the making, Saillant notes that "representatives of UNIDAD, a coalition of community, labor and faith groups, told the panel that they believed that USC students would continue to live in nearby off-campus units and the school was not offering enough money to make up for the loss of that low-income housing."
"USC disputes that the project would displace anyone," writes Saillant. "One study showed that the project would have the opposite effect, returning to the community 900 privately-owned off-campus housing units now leased by students."
"After listening to three hours of debate, the Planning and Land Use Management Committee asked for more information about how other major universities have handled community concerns during major upgrades - including fears that low-income residents could be displaced."