The Racial Complexities of Gentrification in L.A.

In some Latino neighborhoods, the gentrifiers are also Latinos. The result is a complicated mix of culture, change, and resistance.

February 8, 2019, 9:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink


Boyle Heights Los Angeles

InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr

Ludwig Hurtado writes about the phenomenon of "gentefication" — when Latino neighborhoods are gentrified not by affluent white people, but by young, educated Latinos. "In essence, the aim of gentefication is to allow Latinx communities, usually low-income, [to] evolve without having their roots diluted into whiteness," says Hurtado. 

The idea behind gentefication is a neighborhood retaining its Latino identity while bringing in economic development and ensuring that residents are not displaced in the process, say proponents. In Boyle Heights, a neighborhood in East Los Angeles, Latinos are opening coffeehouses, wine bars, and record stores and they say they are trying to provide what millennial Latinos want. "But in making a Latinx community more attractive to young Latinxs, gentefiers have to ask themselves if they’re subsequently making their communities more attractive to affluent white folks as well," notes Hurtado.

Anti-gentrification groups have been active in Boyle Heights, and they oppose all efforts to change the neighborhood. "They have been a leading force for keeping 'hipster businesses' out of the Boyle Heights and boycotting those that managed to make their way in," says Hurtado. 

Community advocates say that economic development needs to consider the effects of gentrification, regardless of who is behind it. Preventing displacement is central, particularly in low-income neighborhoods with a high percentage of renters, and strategies such as land trusts can help promote homeownership in places such as Boyle Heights.

Thursday, January 31, 2019 in Vice

Not in my back yard

The YIMBY-NIMBY Debate Gets 'Uninteresting'

Labels like "YIMBY" and "NIMBY" may be crude—but so what? One of them wants to solve America's housing crises. The other does not. Un-housed and under-housed people cannot wait for a perfect ideology to come along, writes Josh Stephens.

December 5, 2021 - Josh Stephens

Moving

Urban Exodus: Data Don't Support the Popular Pandemic Narrative

Americans fled cities in waves during the pandemic, right? Not to so fast.

November 30, 2021 - Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Pacific Ocean

Cities Finding Ways to Resist State-Mandated Upzoning

The resistance to state-mandated zoning reforms, already well underway in Oregon, is now starting to whiplash through California as well.

December 1, 2021 - Los Angeles Times

NIMBY Sign

On Housing, Cities' Traditional Political Labels No Longer Apply

Historically liberal cities belie their supposed concern for human welfare by rejecting new development. Meanwhile, more conservative cities have seized the moment to become more progressive, innovative, and inclusive.

41 minutes ago - California Planning & Development Report

Prince George's County, Maryland

Assessing Prince George's County's Climate Action Plan

The Prince George's County draft Climate Action Plan includes ambitious goals and timetables, but falls short of recommended targets for emissions reductions in the transportation sector.

1 hour ago - Greater Greater Washington

Biking in Denver

Study: More Bike Infrastructure Could Prevent 15,000 Deaths Annually

In addition to reducing air pollution and congestion, improving bike infrastructure could save thousands of lives each year, according to new research.

2 hours ago - Streetsblog USA

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.