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Curbed Cup Round 1: South Park (1) vs. Skid Row (16)

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Here it is: the 2012 Curbed Cup race for the Los Angeles Neighborhood of the Year. Round one of our tournament features 16 'hoods vying for the coveted golden jpeg--we'll have two matchups every day through Thursday, then take a look at our tournament bracket on Friday. Voting for each poll ends 24 hours after opening (and will be watched closely for any shenanigans). Let the neighborhood on neighborhood carnage begin!

We begin today with a very poetic matchup: two sides of Downtown, two radically different ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. South Park is the first-seeded Goliath; its achievements are obvious. The city signed off this year on the plan to build an NFL stadium in the neighborhood and about a million new towers and hotels were announced (or unstalled or speculated-on). There were also actual groundbreakings and a long-awaited opening (the building formerly known as Concerto!). Even the Ritz-Carlton made some sales.

Meanwhile, Skid Row is genuinely going through its own version of gentrification. Local activist General Jeff nominated the nabe way back in October, he's so excited about the changes there: "'Skid Row' should not only be nominated, but WIN the 2012 Curbed Cup Award as LA's Neighborhood of the Year, simply for starting the year off with the highly-anticipated 'Operation Skid Row Music Festival' featuring Public Enemy and over 30 other acts which brought so much attention and much-needed 'positive energy' to LA's historically 'worse' neighborhood." We'll add that there's a ton of redevelopment and rehab going on in the neighborhood (much of it supportive housing for the locals)--the most high-profile project is probably the conversions of the historic Baltimore, Leland, and King Edward buildings into low-income artist housing. Obviously any gentrification process is going to be a mixed bag--the 'hood got a much-needed power-washing this year that's been accompanied by a crackdown.

Poll results