As a native of Los Angeles, I have witnessed the smog worsen over the years. These photographs serve to complicate and add nuance to how people have conceptualized smog as a problem in LA. In the...Read more
In 1931, the California Supreme Court upheld a decision which condemned the land where Los Angeles’ “Old Chinatown” stood in order to construct a public transit terminal in its place. It was in this moment that Union Station was born. Over the next several years, over three thousand residents of Old Chinatown – most of whom were Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans – were forcibly removed from their homes. The businesses and cultural landmarks that these residents called home were razed in the name of infrastructural improvement and modernity. This created image highlights the literal erasure of non-white residents from the city’s central Plaza.
Over the years, La Plaza has seen numerous government and private-sector backed projects aimed at “revitalizing” the area (the construction of Union Station, the creation of the Romanized Olvera Street, etc.). However, many of these efforts are thinly veiled money-making schemes, hidden behind the guise of urban renewal. Presently, construction is in full swing for La Plaza Cultura Village, a “mixed-use” residential and retail space occupying two city blocks just west of La Plaza. The Cesar Chavez Foundation, a partner of the project, claims that the Village will “honor [sic] the history of Los Angeles and the diversity of those who built it in the area where that history was created.” However, it remains unclear how such “diversity” is incorporated into this trendy, ultra-modern project. Backers of the Village, including the Chavez Foundation, laud that 20% of the Village’s housing will offer affordable housing options for multi-family households. Again, the partners’ interpretation of “affordable” family housing remains problematic, as rent for the least-expensive housing option – a 429 square foot studio – starts at $1,925 per month. This created image juxtaposes the proposed layout for La Plaza Cultura Village with an aerial of La Plaza in 1924 – two years before Olvera Street was “created,” and over a decade before Union Station was built.
Los Angeles has the highest number of homeless people in the country, according to a 2016 report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Despite these sobering facts, the city still struggles with providing low-income housing to its poor and working-class residents. Though an emergency homeless shelter was constructed in the Plaza just a few months ago, the facility can only accommodate 45 adults. Such efforts, as well meaning as they might be, neglect the larger, structural issues of housing insecurities – such as high rent, low wages, discriminatory housing practices, and lack of access to health care. Furthermore, projects described as promoting urban revitalization often exacerbate the housing crisis, as the rent for the “affordable” housing options in the upcoming La Plaza Cultura Village start at almost $2,000 per month.
Dear Alli, I was really interested in the way this image correlates to your research on veterans and their usage of visualizing technology (as discussed in your critical commentary). I wonder if...Read more
Spatial (Puerto Rico) and discursive (about the hidden atrocities) dimensions are well captured in this image. I wonder if there is another way to highlight the different discourses in the U.S and...Read more
The image communicates a great deal about how the LASPD is constructing force and policing as a paternalistic type of care of children. It suggests that, it is for the own good of the...Read more
This image communicates the 'potential' of lead poisoning. I appreciated this image as an ethnographic object because, as the author points out, it represents the gap between reality and public...Read more
My sight is first pulled to the single syringe on the top and in the middle of the image. I then notice the jumble underneath.Read more