This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Video: Watch How L.A. Is Growing Up In KCET's Latest Episode Of Artbound
This week's episode of KCET's always well put together show Artbound features L.A. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne taking viewers for a tour of, what he's termed, "the Third Los Angeles." If you're interested in learning more about some of the dynamic forces (real estate and development, gentrification, transportation, etc.) presently molding the landscape of our city, it would suit you well to watch the episode. [KCET Link]
Hawthorne's understanding of Los Angeles is divided up into three sections. The "First" Los Angeles was the original boomtown that grew up before World War II. This is the L.A. of early Hollywood and ubiquitous Pacific Electric streetcars. The "Second" L.A. is the L.A. of the freeway, the automobile and the single family home, that came of age after World War II. The "Third" L.A., Hawthorne argues, is the city that's emerging today— theone flush with Metro lines, redevelopment and Kogi Tacos.
The roughly hour-long episode does a wonderful job of documenting some of the recent history of many neighborhoods across L.A. Starting in Venice, the episode talks about the neighborhood's transformation from a gritty hood by the beach into the exceptionally expensive enclave it is today. Hawthorne wanders over to Leimert Park, next, for an exploration of what Black L.A.'s cultural heart anticipates the soon-to-open Crenshaw Line could mean for their community. A jaunt into the increasingly vertical downtown L.A follows.
The episode wraps up with a solid imaging of Boyle Heights. After establishing some of the neighborhood's history—its isolation and scarring by freeways, and eventual development into a center of Chicano culture—Artbound explores how the neighborhood is reacting to wide speculation, both of real estate and of gentrification.
It's a good episode, and places a lot of what's going on in L.A. right now into context. The 55 minutes flew by, and at the end I was hoping this was going to be just the first of many such documentaries produced by KCET. Maybe it will be.
Speaking of which, if you haven't really been paying attention to KCET after PBS switched over to KOCE a few years ago, you really should. They're the nation's largest independent television station and there's a lot more there than just Masterpiece and Huell Howser reruns.
Artbound, which developed the above episode, is one of the station's most lauded shows, and does its best to explore organic, present tense, art movements in Southern California. KCET also produces Lost LA, which examines vestiges of our fine city's past that have (or haven't) been lost to history. Also on the list is the station's highly informative, weekly news show SoCal Connected, and KCET Departures, a web series that examines social change at a neighborhood level.
There's a lot of cool stuff if you click around their website, and almost all of the station's video content is online.