In 1781, 11 families made up of 44 Mexican immigrants, settled next to the Los Angeles River. Since that day, the city of LA has gone through many changes and is still growing into a capable and influential economic power on the world stage.
From massive skyscrapers to crime-ridden suburbs, the city has some of the most dynamic and interesting demographics than any other place in the United States. These different situations create challenges to growth, and many steps have been taken to improve the future success of the city.
One such example of LA’s challenges is the fact that only a block away from the bustling business district of downtown, lies an area known to many as Skid Row. This 4.32-mile area of downtown LA, is home to over 17,000 homeless individuals. Drug and alcohol abuse are common if not daily occurrences throughout the streets. In addition to skid row, the Institute for Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center reports that an estimated 254,000 men women and children are homeless during some part of the year. This same organization also states that an approximate 82,00 people are homeless on any given night.
Along with homelessness, LA has a massive urban sprawl challenge. With its massive size, serious issues can arise in the area of affordable housing and suburban living. Gentrification occurs frequently, and communities can change often seemingly overnight. Generations of families can be forced out by rising property value and increased rents.
With all these challenges, the city has struggled to find a true identity. It is not a bustling metropolis like New York, and lacks the charm of San Francisco. Property throughout LA remains residentially zoned, and mixed use is less frequent than it should be. What does all this mean? it means that LA has potential. The potential to grow into a truly defined and capable city, beyond what it is today.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has set in motion several policies that are tackling some of the challenges that residents are facing. While no single individual can solve all of LA’s challenges, Garcetti has created an environment that promotes individual thought and small business development. Throughout his term as mayor, low-income housing and long-term housing for the homeless have begun to come to fruition in parts of the city. The constant gang violence that plagues LA has dropped thanks to initiatives that have promoted communication and dialogue between rival groups and the local police department. Internal controls such as police body cameras, and honors to officers who use restraint with deadly force. While all these measures are small, LA is starting to go in the right direction. There will always be critics of Garcetti and his attempts to deal with these challenges, but even if these attempts are failures, they are still attempts. According to his 2016 State of The City address, 4 core improvements were made.
- Investing in infrastructure
- Cutting taxes and red tape
- Supporting our workers
- Targeting key industries.
In years to come, Los Angeles will continue to evolve and adapt to its challenges, and the impact of this evolution will be seen in the next administration. Garcetti isn’t the end all be all for LA, and his policies have caused some backlash, but the early adoption of these innovative ideas will set in motion a better future for the city. While being progressive, Garcetti stood strong to law enforcement values, even going as far as remembering officers killed in Dallas by lighting city hall and other public buildings entirely blue. He worked with celebrity figures like Snoop Dogg to help promote dialogue between law enforcement after the shootings. He took measures to ensure officer safety immediately after these events.
As always, we encourage our readers to visit Los Angeles and see the changes take place themselves. We’ve provided some links to these happenings in LA, and also hope to get some feedback by our readers themselves. It is imperative that everyone works together to improve Los Angeles for the future.
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