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Anglo Reconquista Revisited

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We all know that Los Angeles is changing, and it’s changing fast in more ways than LAist can count. Media attention is generally focused on L.A. as global city containing immigrants from all over the globe and where Anglo residents are no longer the majority. This commentary by Gregory Rodriguez in the L.A. Times points to another interesting fact—that the urban “core” from Hollywood to Downtown might be experiencing “a quiet Anglo reconquista.” LAist won’t take on the pro- vs. anti-gentrification debate now, but the piece will get you thinking about the many implications of demographic trends, particularly vis-à-vis some of our most beloved neighborhoods.

Spend a day on Echo Park Avenue or parts of Koreatown and we can’t miss the fact that gentrification has transformed numerous neighborhoods at varying speeds ranging from gradual to dizzying. While sitting at the bar at Pete’s Café in the Old Bank District, we see upwardly mobile white folks walking their dogs down Main Street as other Downtown denizens make their way to the Midnight Mission.

The lasting effects of this development, other than the ever-increasing real estate values and displacement of low-income residents, is unknown on a broad scale. Gentrification has been found to have ancillary impacts, such as overall improved infrastructure and services that benefit long-term residents of gentrified communities. Rodriguez also mentions that improved race relations could also be another positive by-product. It remains to be seen whether or not these theories prove true for the multi-decade residents of Silver Lake and Hollywood.

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The generational divide comes into play, too. Younger people aren’t so scared of cities anymore.

Charming cafes and cool boutiques are one matter, yet tricky questions related to culture and other intangibles linger. Although “young whites are increasingly comfortable settling in multiethnic L.A…how rooted in its life and culture will they really become?” In New York City, the numbers of children of international immigrants who remain in the City throughout their adult lives are higher than
those of whites. Will the new Anglo Angelenos stick around to raise their kids and send them to Belmont and L.A. High, or will they head for Agoura Hills?

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