Lessons for YIMBYs From Boyle Heights

In the wake of a very pro-development March election, Los Angeles seems ready to embrace change. But not everywhere. In low-income Boyle Heights, residents have been more militant than most against encroaching gentrification.

1 minute read

March 11, 2017, 9:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


MsSaraKelly / Flickr

In the Los Angeles elections this week, the defeat of anti-development Measure S, along with the reelection of Mayor Eric Garcetti, point to an urban-friendly future. But older, affluent white homeowners aren't the only ones protesting development. 

In Boyle Heights, one point of contention involves that sure sign of gentrifier infiltration: the art gallery. Natalie Delgadillo writes, "[Local activist Angel] Luna's group, together with organizations like Defend Boyle Heights and Serve the People LA, have accused the galleries of paving the way for new development and speculation that will eventually end up displacing residents."

"[Protestors] have been militant, insistent, and extraordinarily confrontational," even forcing some nonprofit art spaces to close. Delgadillo points to protestors' success, in that Boyle Heights "remains a firmly Latino, working-class neighborhood, managing to preserve its identity even as surrounding neighborhoods like Echo Park and Highland Park rapidly gentrify."

Density and housing might be just what LA needs, but insensitivity to working-class residents probably isn't the right path.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 in CityLab

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