What's been called the "Best Hipster Neighborhood" in the United States and one of the country's top 10 "Best Big-City Neighborhoods" is actually two very different neighborhoods, divided by Sunset Boulevard. North of the boulevard are the high-priced homes and open spaces the area is known for, but south of the street, one finds "high unemployment, troubling poverty, an education deficit and serious health and quality-of-life problems." Together they form an area with one of Los Angeles's lowest life expectancy rates; and activists divided by age and outlook are struggling to define a vision for its future.
"Behind the scenes of this urban paradise, an old-guard, liberal establishment that's been comfortable letting L.A.'s political power structure run things from downtown — such as applying new density development in once-sleepy areas — now consistently bangs heads with younger, Occupy L.A.–aligned artists, college graduates and laid-back misfits out to disrupt the old arrangement," explains Patrick Range McDonald.
"The older, more affluent baby boomers seem fixated on micro-issues such as relieving Silver Lake's parking crunch, which sparks the ire of younger folks, who tend to think of the bigger picture: They want to build a more sustainable, environmentally friendly community."