Downtown L.A. spent the latter half of the twentieth century increasingly marginalized—businesses fled, homelessness boomed. But just over ten years ago, developers started transforming crumbling office buildings into luxury lofts, the Staples Center provided a family-friendly tourist destination, and now an NFL franchise and stadium are more or less a done deal. For all this activity and investment, locals continue to debate the sort of identity Downtown L.A. should have. Something diverse and functional, like Brooklyn? Something homogeneous and commercial, like Times Square? Five dwellers share their thoughts.
SodAMan (32), freelancer
5th and Broadway
“I think Mayor Villaraigosa should be ashamed, putting all this money into something and not creating any sort of opportunities for the lower-class people, the natives who were here before. Because the poor people five streets away aren’t welcome.”