A Fight Over the Future of "America's 'Most Livable' Community"

LA's trendy Silver Lake neighborhood "is going through a full-blown, divisive identity crisis." Amid trendy boutiques and million dollar homes are bastions of poverty and crime. Activists are divided on how to define, let alone address, its problems.
September 26, 2013, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Eric Norris

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."

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Published on Thursday, September 26, 2013 in LA Weekly
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