Revitalization's Best Friend

Marissa Gluck attributes downtown L.A.'s resurgence to some unlikely community development partners - our four-legged friends.
June 6, 2012, 5am PDT | Akemi Leung
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Marissa Gluck writes that the resurgence of downtown Los Angeles over the last decade, as old offices were converted into apartments, was spurred, at least partly, by the intentionally pet-friendly policies of building owners. These policies boosted the the number of renters with dogs in the downtown area, driving "residents out of their homes and into the street at least twice each day" to mix with their neighbors and activate the streets.

Real estate developer Tom Gilmore, one of the early leaders of downtown's revitalization, argues that "'Random interaction is a key component of a vital urban environment'...Dogs, he reasons, are the 'lubricant' that helps residents interact with their neighbors and local shop owners. 'Walking out of your door every day should bring a series of unintended events.'"

USC Associate Professor Elizabeth Currid-Halkett agrees that the community has grown strong, but attributes the development to "amenities and businesses," instead of the dogs. Either way, with 40 percent of current downtown residents owning a dog, their presence in the neighborhood is transforming downtown into a pooch's paradise.

Thanks to Akemi Leung

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Published on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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