Mapping Gentrification in the Arts District

The Arts District in Los Angeles has been a site of gentrification for the last two decades.
This map aims to visualize the demographic changes and new developments that have emerged throughout this process of gentrification. ...more

Gentrification can be broadly defined as “the transformation of a working-class or vacant area of the central city into a middle-class residential and/or commercial use.”[1] These days, gentrification is a word that is thrown around in a lot of conversations about Los Angeles; however, what does this process look like on different scales and who is impacted by it?

The Arts District has been one of the most noticeably transformed areas in L.A., as luxury apartments, artisan coffee shops, and pristine art galleries continue to be built over formerly abandoned warehouses and factories that once served as cheap housing havens for working class artists. My project explores this transformation utilizing data visualizations and 360 images. Through visualizing demographic data such as race, income, and rent, I aim to show how the community makeup of the Arts District has changed, particularly in relation to its surrounding communities. In addition, 360 images of new buildings that have developed over the last two decades begin to show the visual transformation of the Arts District's landscape.

This project was largely inspired by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, an organization which documents gentrification in the San Francisco Bay Area through a range of mediums, from data visualization to interactive video. In addition, another major inspiration for my project is the Urban Displacement Project, a research collaboration between UC Berkeley and UCLA, which produces data visualizations that show correlations between different demographic categories, such as a race and class, and the rates of displacement in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

The demographic data for this map is sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau, the map boundaries are sourced from the LA County GIS Data Portal, and the building data is sourced from built:LA, Curbed LA, Google Maps, Architectural Record, and the websites of the buildings and businesses.

[1] Lees, Loretta, et al. The Gentrification Reader. Routledge, 2010.

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