April 30, 2014

White gentrification of South-Central L.A. begins

For years, I've been predicting that the most massive gentrification opportunity of the 21st Century would-be South-Central Los Angeles, or as it's been officially called since the regrettable events of April 1992, South Los Angeles. This is a gigantic area of flat land, superb sea-tempered climate, excellent freeway connections to jobs and airports, and (relatively) cheap land. The main problem is the current residents. But hipster whites have a plan to do something about that. From the LA Times:
Soaring home prices spur a resurgence near USC 
The hot housing market and a rail line push young professionals to the West Adams, Leimert Park areas 
Mark and Jillian Dillon and their 1-year-old daughter, Staley Rae, and dog Guv'nor hang out in front of their home in Jefferson Park. The Dillons, who had been renting in Venice, purchased the rehabbed Craftsman home a year ago. 
By Andrew Khouri  April 30, 2014, 6:25 p.m. 
Priced out of much of Los Angeles, young professionals are zeroing on several neighborhoods around USC and to the west, as the expanding Expo light rail line delivers new residents to the area. 
Communities such as Jefferson Park, Leimert Park and West Adams are attracting buyers — and investors — seeking their relative affordability, location between the Westside and downtown Los Angeles, and the rail link between the two. 
The influx comes as the once-struggling communities now see potential for new investment along major boulevards of South Los Angeles such as West Adams, Jefferson and Crenshaw. Prices are shooting up: In the ZIP Codes covering these neighborhoods, the median home price jumped 40.6%, to $450,000, in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, according to San Diego research firm DataQuick. 
Real estate professionals are taking notice. Agent Dino Buiatti is opening a West Adams office in June and plans to staff it with 30 agents. "In the next five, 10, 15 years, the whole neighborhood is going to change," he said. "There is a lot of money being poured in." ...
The flipping rate surpassed even investor and hipster haven Highland Park.
"There is an awful lot of activity," said Timothy Braseth, who last year rehabbed 15 homes in the area. "It's gotten very competitive." 
Developers are scooping up older Craftsman and Spanish-style homes, fixing them up and selling to new arrivals from the Westside, downtown and West Hollywood. 
Jillian Dillon bought a Jefferson Park remodel from Braseth last year. The fashion stylist and her music-industry husband came from Venice, where they rented. The couple scooped up a 1908 Craftsman bungalow for $442,000. It's a mile from an Expo light rail stop, which Dillon predicts will boost their property value in years to come. 
"Our home in Venice would easily be a $1.5-million home," the 33-year-old mother said, recalling bidding wars they endured before realizing the Westside was out of reach. 
Leimert Park, West Adams and Jefferson Park were among Los Angeles' first suburbs. Their demographic shifts reflect immigration waves that swept Los Angeles over the last century. 
Racial covenants kept the area predominantly white for decades. But in 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled those racial deed restrictions unenforceable. Middle- and upper-class African Americans moved in, while many white residents left. 
In the 1970s, jobs moved elsewhere and crime increased. The relatively new 10 Freeway now segregated South L.A. from the rest of the city, even splitting West Adams in two.

Uh, you know, freeways don't actually "segregate" places from other places, they connect them. For example, Sherman Oaks in the Valley, where Fast Times at Ridgmont High and Valley Girl were filmed, is split in four by the interchange of the Ventura (101) and San Diego (405) freeways. You see this all the time in article claiming that lead in gasoline caused crime: how could they not riot because they had a freeway nearby? Maybe having the traditionally most jammed freeway interchange in the country in Sherman Oaks caused Valley Girl accents, but crime?
After a more recent wave of Latino immigration, only Leimert Park remains majority African American. Many new arrivals are white.
   
I suspect social media makes it easier to gentrify since you can coordinate with other people on your wavelength about precisely which neighborhood you will all descend upon. A big problem with South-Central is that it's so big (51 square miles just in L.A. city -- about as big as the entire city of San Francisco) that gentrifiers can't just drive around and spot each other, the way we could in Chicago where the potentially gentrifying neighborhoods were quite small in area. Gentrifiers need to link up with each other online and argue out where they are headed.

Another problem is that South-Central is flat and flat land tends to give wealthier white people in Los Angeles the creeps. They can picture the mob coming for them, waving torches. Flat land is more convenient to live on than the hills that ambitious Angelenos have clung to since the movie business got rolling.

A fear of apocalyptic mob violence directed at them has been endemic in elite Southern California circles at least since Nathanael West's 1939 novel The Day of the Locust about a moron from Iowa named Homer Simpson and other scary average joes who riot at the end. In that mental atmosphere, hills have always seemed more defensible.
 

51 comments:

Oswald Spengler said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQL_Lwdi7EI

"They're comin' straight outta Compton, yo..."

Dave Pinsen said...

Flat land gives me the creeps too, and I'm not particularly worried about zombie hordes. Maybe South Central houses could be marketed to Midwesterners with kids at USC?

Frank Donovan said...

I'm sure Hipster Whites will find a way to live well while the program of "Diversity" continues to get rid of Whites overall.

Didn't Benedict Arnold live pretty well?

Anonymous said...

You think South Central is ripe for gentrification? Maybe so, but it's got nothing on a certain patch of land in the most open-minded and tolerant city in America.

I'm on vacation in San Francisco, and I'm staying in Nob Hill...yet another gentrified urban area filled with childless white yuppies like me.

However, nearby is the neighborhood of Tenderloin, San Fran's last ghetto, and the gritty setting of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon.

The only reason it has resisted gentrification is that Byzantine local laws make it near impossible to displace the native population of drug dealers, mentally ill homeless, and Filipino gangsters.

In the end, it's a race between the far left establishment, who want to clean up Tenderloin without displacing the natives like they have in every other part of the city, and the developers, who want a piece of the last frontier of cheap real estate in the middle of a great (and hugely expensive) American city.

Everyone here knows who is going to win this battle...the side whose goal is not an impossibility.

Ten years from now, Tenderloin will be filled with young white liberals whining about the loss of soul that they caused.

And Tenderloin's current denizens will be in
Oakland.

http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/arise-tenderloin

http://www.vice.com/read/social-work-in-the-tenderloin-will-kill-something-inside-of-you

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/san-francisco-working-class-neighborhood-left-behind/

Bert said...

"Didn't Benedict Arnold live pretty well?"

Actually, he received very little of the money he had sought, and spent the last years of his life as a scorned figure whom everyone knew defected only out of pure self-interest rather than any loyalty to the Crown.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm a big fan of "Day of the Locust."

Had forgotten about that Homer Simpson.

Anonymous said...

From an East Coast perspective, how bad can a ghetto be with a palm tree out front?

Silver said...

The parts of south LA mentioned here are very nice, particularly for such a heavily black area. It's not at all surprising that gentrifiers would make a move in that direction. The NYT racial map of the American Community Survey shows that white gentrifiers had already infiltrated these parts some ten years ago, which qualifies the project as "proven" to some degree.

Relatedly, I had an LA Mexican I met in Australia telling me of a white woman he knew who moved with her Mexican husband to Compton. That's not strictly south LA, but it's close enough, and wow what a move. Times sure are achangin'.

As for freeways not segregating neighborhoods, I have to agree with anti-racists that they do. But so what? To me that's a feature not a bug. It's usually only symbolic but it can be a powerful symbol.

I don't get the impression that freeways are much of a physical obstacle in LA (based on Google Maps), and certainly not in south LA or the valley because there are so many overpasses and underpasses.

In contrast, freeways in Melbourne (Aus) often act as massive physical barriers. If that city chose to it could achieve Israeli West Bank-like segregation in no time, because the physical layout is already there. Some streets separated by less than 500m as the crow flies require you to drive 5km to get from one to the other. It's not always so bad, but if you live in such an area the people on the other side may as well live in a foreign country for all you care.

Silver said...

I notice that even in the nicer parts of town latinos erect those ugly chain link fences. What's going on there, are they homesick jailbirds or something? They could at least get black chain link which looks so much better than that harsh steel grey.

Steve Sailer said...

I wrote an article in 2002 about the Florence-Normandie neighborhood where the 1992 riot broke out -- it was pretty nice by Chicago projects standards. Single family homes with lawns, even a few bougainvilleas in bloom. Pictured is SWPL rehabbed one, but, yeah, most of the neighborhood's houses looked like pre-rehabbed versions of this.

Big Bill said...

I get the picture that this is a two-stage transition. First, the Mexicans move in and clear out the blacks. Second, the whites move in and buy out the Mexicans. Is this generally correct?

d said...

"I've been predicting that the most massive gentrification opportunity of the 21st Century would-be South-Central Los Angeles, "

In California or the world? For years, my father said that the best piece of real estate in NYC was Harlem and the only reason it was a hole was that it was occupied territory. African-Americans are now a demographic minority, although the place is majority colored. (Just other colors.) This represents gentrification opportunity. The only impregnable force opposing gentrification is AA's. The rest are doable.

Anonymous said...

The percentage of whites listed here seems really low. It's amazing that it can happen that fast.

http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/neighborhood/west-adams/

http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/neighborhood/jefferson-park/

http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/neighborhood/baldwin-hillscrenshaw/

http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/neighborhood/leimert-park/


As far as I know Baldwin Hills is still pretty popular with black creative types. And Culver City is "it" place too.

Dahinda said...

"In the 1970s, jobs moved elsewhere and crime increased. The relatively new 10 Freeway now segregated South L.A. from the rest of the city, even splitting West Adams in two."
This is what they said when they built the Dan Ryan Expressway (I 90/94) in Chicago. And Like L.A. Chicago's South and West Sides are now gentrifying.

Anonymous said...

"Uh, you know, freeways don't actually "segregate" places from other places, they connect them. " - Gas, cars, insurance,etc cost money, and distance is an additional form of price discrimination.

joe regular said...

freeways don't segregate? er...if you look at those census based color code maps, you can see sharp lines at freeways. freeways connect you to places far away and separate you from places close by as thoroughly as a river (the old highways). This, not just weird cultural history is why the flats gentrify less easily, and white flighted more easily. Without some barrier, what stops 'them' 1/4 mile away from coming over here? without a freeway, park, river etc the answer is...nothing

BurplesonAFB said...

I grew up on the prairie so it's not the flatness that would bother me so much as the feeling of being in a bowl and visibly surrounded by higher ground

Thursday said...

The neighbourhoods near USC would seem to be the most natural place to begin though.

department11 said...

Anon, where the hell did you get the idea that the Tenderloin is run by Filipino gangsters? In the TL, blacks rule the streets, and the property owners are Chinese and Indian (flop hotels). Filipinos are nowhere to be found - they're next door in Daly City dominating the post office, Safeway positions, and nursing. Jeez.

Jefferson said...

South Central Los Angeles is where Crips founder Stanley Tookie Williams is from.

The chances of South Central L.A transforming from a vibrantly diverse ghetto like the one you see in Ice Cube's "It Was A Good Day" music video to a low crime rate gentrified Whitopia that resembles the cast of HBO's "Girls" is slim to none.



Anonymous said...

The Tenderloin is by no means "SF's last ghetto". Go visit Bayview-Hunter's Point or the Western Addition.

Ray Sawhill said...

Fun info, tks. As for freeways ... In St Louis, I once spent a little time touring the city with a cop and a city planner, and came away convinced that the city had essentially been destroyed by its freeways. The freeways not only provided a quick and easy way into and out of the city center, they also divided the city itself up into sections that seldom communicate with each other. Practically speaking, it's hard (and often a little scary) to cross from one neighborhood under/over a freeway to another neighborhood, unless you're driving. Post-WWII freeways were some of the most destructive things the U.S. has ever done to itself, IMHO, at least if you enjoy urban living. Why did we put such a monumental amount of effort and money into destroying our downtowns?

Anonymous said...

I'm moving to L.A. I'm white as white can be, and I am moving to L.A. - someday. The trick is to get in after most of the roaches have been cleared, but before prices skyrocket. Think I'll be able to pull it off?

Anonymous said...

I expect the gentrifiers will spread outwards from University Park rather than trying to target random neighborhoods in South Central. There are lots of beautiful pre-WWII homes near USC which are ripe for renovation.

Anonymous said...

>>Steve Sailer said:
"""""Another problem is that South-Central is flat and flat land tends to give wealthier white people in Los Angeles the creeps. They can picture the mob coming for them, waving torches. Flat land is more convenient to live on than the hills that ambitious Angelenos have clung to since the movie business got rolling.""""""


Ok, question. But if the SWPL crowd is gentrifying the South Central area and nearby downtown, in which direction are "those sorts of folks" being pushed? West? Toward the beach and the higher ground?

Or Eastward toward the Inland Empire?

If its eastward, there goes Diamond Bar. Thank goodness US Soccer star Alex Morgan graduated when she could.

Point is, it is hard to envision the other sort of folks being pushed toward Malibu, Pac Palisiades, Nicer area of Santa Monica. Just trying to picture exactly which neighborhood they're all going to start to cram in.

Cause obviously they have to go somewhere.

PS In an ad online, Ice Cube did a local LA ad for the Eames husband and wife architectural team. In it, he mentions "If you want bougie traffic (middle classers), take the 405. If you want the other traffic, take the 101."

Anonymous said...

""""I'm on vacation in San Francisco, and I'm staying in Nob Hill...yet another gentrified urban area filled with childless white yuppies like me.""""


Nob Hill's been established old very rich money for over a century now. Nob Hill was already wealthy rich before the 1906 Earthquake in point of fact.

Good to know that some things never change.

Whiskey said...

Being in the hills in LA has signficant downsides. Mudslides, fires, are far more a risk than in the flats. Moreover, it does not get any flatter than New Orleans which has well defined neighborhoods.

Based on my New Orleans experience, I'd say there is little chance of gentrifying South Central.

Whites have tried to gentrify New Orleans for decades. It has beautiful old buildings, a walkable Central Business District (CBD) and French Quarter, and lovely houses all over the place.

However, outside Audobon Park by Tulane and Loyola Universities (with a gated enclave that Archie Manning, John Laroquette, Harry Connick Jr. and John Goodman live in), attempts have been mixed.

Anne Rice famously abandoned her two mansions in the Garden District, and most of the Garden District is hard-core gang drug Black inhabited. Attempts to colonize the CBD are intermittent, and the Treme area was the site of a famous murder of a lefty female film-maker holding her infant by a couple of Black guys in broad daylight in her own home.

Black criminals are not stupid, they see gentrification as a threat to their open air drug markets and way of life, they'll simply shoot enough yuppies and disappear into the neighborhood and close down gentrification. That has been the experience in New Orleans.

This is why Whites in CA have fled to the hills, because the land being so much more expensive to build on provides defacto segregation.

Whiskey said...

It is worth noting that the original Spanish, later Mexican, settlement of Los Angeles was on the flats, for irrigation purposes. Sherman visited it in 1848 and has a description of it in his memoir available for free on Project Gutenberg. He liked it and thought it lovely in contrast to San Francisco which he thought windy and god forsaken and thought no city could ever succeed there.

Sherman was offered a plot of land there in SF (then called Yerba Buena) and declined, thinking it worthless. He berates himself in his memoir for not taking it.

AnotherDad said...

$442,000 buys a lot of house in Boise.

E. Rekshun said...

In 1987, I did a ride-a-long with the LAPD in that area, and it was pretty bad back then.

Dave Pinsen said...

The Spanish also had some rule about establishing settlements x distance inland, out of fear of naval or pirate attacks or something.

Dave Pinsen said...

Latin America is full of places with Palm trees where you wouldn't want to live.

Anonymous said...

South Central Los Angeles is where Crips founder Stanley Tookie Williams is from.

The chances of South Central L.A transforming from a vibrantly diverse ghetto like the one you see in Ice Cube's "It Was A Good Day" music video to a low crime rate gentrified Whitopia that resembles the cast of HBO's "Girls" is slim to none.


The South Central ghetto of the early 90s no longer exists. Mexicans have pushed out the OGs.

Anonymous said...

@AnotherDad

Yeah, but in turn Boise gets snow. And while $442K is a lot of house in Boise, it's harder to make $442K in the first place.

And Boise isn't related to [whatever major industry is employing all these people].

The SF version is that yeah, I could move back to Cleveland, make 80% of my current salary (a little better given progressive taxes), and literally buy my parent's house out from underneath them, but Google isn't there. And my startup isn't there.

And the price I pay for that is that the fastest way to get 9 miles to work every morning is to bike.

Dave Pinsen said...

Google may not be in Cleveland, but it has an office in Pittsburgh.

Discard said...

The Mexicans drive out the Blacks, off to the Antelope Valley and San Bernardino County, the moves paid for by Section 8 housing vouchers. The collapsed industrial and warehouse areas adjacent to downtown are rechristened as "loft living", and marketed to young single hipsters, who are making the nearby Mexicans uncomfortable with their security devices. Block by block, the real estate industry is reclaiming Los Angeles. The place is simply too nice and potentially valuable to leave in the hands of 3rd Worlders, when Whites and Orientals will pay a hell of a lot more for it. Blacks and Mexicans are going the way of the buffalo, for the same reason: The land can be much more profitably used by others.

Maxwell Power said...

You are assuming some geographical-literal meaning of "segregation" when the journalist plainly meant it in the psychological thumb-sucking sense. It is a real estate section article, after all. Likewise he'd never write that Mission Hills or Pacoima or Tijuana is "segregated" by freeways

Anonymous said...

The Mexicans drive out the Blacks, off to the Antelope Valley and San Bernardino County, the moves paid for by Section 8 housing vouchers. The collapsed industrial and warehouse areas adjacent to downtown are rechristened as "loft living", and marketed to young single hipsters, who are making the nearby Mexicans uncomfortable with their security devices. Block by block, the real estate industry is reclaiming Los Angeles. The place is simply too nice and potentially valuable to leave in the hands of 3rd Worlders, when Whites and Orientals will pay a hell of a lot more for it. Blacks and Mexicans are going the way of the buffalo, for the same reason: The land can be much more profitably used by others.
True, Blacks and Mexican moved indland or to Arizona, Nevada, Texas and so forth where its cheaper to live. The fast tract house growth of Irvine, Asians, Whites and Mid Easterners where its the 4th fastest growing city means that Ca Coastal may become less Hispanic in 15 years. Some towns like Anaheim and Santa Ana will house them to do their usual jobs but robots might replaced maids. By the way Anaheim and Santa Ana full of young Hispanics with kids grew slower than even Los Angeles. They don't have light rail because Republican politics dominated Orange County so only bus and Metrolink public transporation.

stace brown said...

I'm amazed by how uneducated narrow minded and racist your blog is. I guess I just wasn't aware how hateful people are. Generalizations don't sound smart. That's like saying now that the whites are moving back to South Los Angeles, the current residents should be worried their new white neighbors would be serial killers or rapist. Or even worse they'd just go shoot up a church or school because they were outcast. People are people. Poor people are poor people. I respectfully disagree with your views.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the gentrification of South Los Angeles will be a good thing. People with subsidized housing (free housing) should live where ever they are told to. They do get free housing from the deal. Not only that, they get free/lowered water, electrical, and gas bills. As the middle class falters economically, they will need communities that to live where the climate is less vehement. After all, they are the ones paying for Section 8, and all other subsidies that non-citizens and freeloaders benefit from.

Anonymous said...

Many people living in the ghettos of Los Angeles are renters, not home owners. The absentee owners could "find their way back home." Besides, what ever happened to eminent domain? Finally, isn't there a law already on the books that if a person is found guilty of drug trafficking, gang activity, or the like, then they could lose their home.

Anonymous said...

Many of you consider yourselves Christian, no doubt, yet you demean your fellow man this way. How can you expect to be allowed into Heaven with so much hate in your hearts?

I feel not but sorrow for all of you.

Peace be with you, if it is at all possible for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm white and have lived in south central for over two years now. I don't see many other white people except for police emt fire.. Makes me giggle when I see them.. They work all day long in the place I live so they can drive in gridlock far away where the weather is hotter while I sleep in and work way less if at all to own a home and enjoy good weather... I'm a cultural person and judge people on personality not skin type that being said soutth central still isn't cheap a 3 bedroom house is still at least 275 but the oc etc that would be 400 and hella hot unless your on beach where owning is very expensive....ny way have fun at your jobs...

Bob said...

I sensed that as well and most post of this forum is narrow-minded to the point of selfishness.

Anonymous said...

I think that the you must acknowledge that many areas in South LA where middle-class areas. I reside in Compton, consider by some South LA and other consider it part of Long Beach, we are on the middle of the two cities. We have some middle-class areas. We just had a Chipotle and PerSmart opened in Compton. We had a Vons in the 1990s! Any ways, I do not call it gentrification when a middle-class resides in a neighborhood. You want affluent areas in South LA go to the hills; Baldwin Hills. But as you I see the potential in South LA and areas near the blue-line.

Anonymous said...

Blacks folks wake up!!! these people are not your friends and don't have your best interest at heart ... They are no different from there parents or the grandparents... They all claim not to be races , but they all benefit from a system that is... Which allows them to claim incocent ..... Ask yourself thI with all the so call problems that are in the black community . Do ever see them champion any cause ... They don't care and it's not there job too!!! We must do it for our selfs ... Are so call leaders have lead us down the wrong path .... diversity is about destorying the sub culture by the dominan culture... Very simple....

Brat said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

who cares. things change. I was raised as a lower class white in venice and have since been priced out of my own neighborhood sure there is a side of me that is upset but nothing stays the same forever.

Unknown said...

So... you're racist?

Unknown said...

You refer to anyone as roaches and you don't belong in CA. We don't need racists here.

Unknown said...

Seems pretty racist seeing as some of the single hipsters moving into the arts district are Mexican and Black. In fact very few of my hipster friends from Silver Lake to DTLA are actually white. It is a cultural and economic shift, not purely racial.