Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Leimert Park

Was in Leimert Park last week, a very interesting place. For those who don't know, Leimert Park is a predominately black neighborhood in South LA (MLK/Crenshawish) that was built as a planned community years ago... Today, the area serves as a center of black culture for Los Angeles.
The park itself is a masterfully simple but effective design, shielding pedestrians from the arterial roads to the south while connecting them to the pedestrian-oriented roads to the North. Meanwhile, a tremendous mix of incomes exists within a few blocks, with the Black Beverly Hills directly west while more stereotypical typical South Central neighborhoods begin to take form a block east. The area serves as a community center for a mixing of people from different incomes (if not race- while the area has a growing Latino contingent, evidenced anecdotally by the 50-50 Latino/Black mix at a bus stop down the street, Leimert Park appears to be frequented almost exclusively by blacks).

Main criticisms: the area is an island. Directly abutting the Southern end of the park are major arterial roads exceedingly hostile to pedestrians, bordered on both sides by unmemorable, sprawling crap (starting with an El Pollo Loco and going down from there). Sadly, city planners seem to have failed to understand why people like Leimert Park so much, because they didn't apply any of its obviously good traits beyond its immediate borders. A damn shame...

1 comment:

enhager said...

Thanks for visiting and taking note. There are touches of the wisdom found in the Leimert Park Village all over this area. Dividing smaller streets, there are interior parkways lined with oak, pine and bottlebrush trees, a few traffic circles and pedestrian walks to connect interior streets to the main boulevards (where the street car used to run). This area was built in the '30s and designed by the Olmstead Brothers, who also designed Old Torrance and a few other great LA-area communities. They were the sons of the man who designed Central Park in NYC. You can find out more about our neighborhood at