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LA's Top 10 Creative, Service, and Working Class 'Hoods

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Over at The Atlantic Cities, urban theorist and "creative class" coiner Richard Florida is breaking down cities based on their distribution of workers in three classes: "the shrinking middle of blue-collar workers; the rising ranks of the knowledge, professional, and creative class; and the even larger and faster-growing ranks of lower-paid service workers." (The analyses are based on information from the Census's American Community Survey.) He finds that "L.A.'s class geography does not conform to a typical urban-suburban pattern, with lower-wage service workers concentrated in the urban core and the more affluent creative class at the suburban fringe ... There are creative class pockets in the city and its downtown as well as in coastal suburbs."

The creative class is made up of "people who work in science and technology, business and management, arts, culture, media and entertainment, law, and healthcare professions" (seen in purple in the map above). 34.1 percent of the LA metro area's workers are CCers, just higher than the national average. Where can we find these creatives? "[T]here is a major creative class cluster stretching from Hollywood, Bel Air, and Westwood, where UCLA is located, to the beach community of Venice, and a small cluster near downtown, especially around USC." But really they're scattered all over the place--36.4 percent of census tracts have more than 40 percent membership in the creative class ("and [there are] 16 [0.6 percent] where the creative class makes up more than three-quarters of all residents"). The top 10 locations include pricey Laurel Canyon, office mecca Woodland Hills, and fancy hipsterville Los Feliz.

Service class workers are "in low-wage, low-skill, routine service jobs such as food service and preparation, retail sales, clerical and administrative positions, and the like," and they make up the largest class in the LA metro area, accounting for 46.3 percent of our workers (which is actually just below the national average). And they're found in fewer places: 30.1 percent of census tracts are made up of more than 50 percent service workers. They tend to live "on the periphery of the major creative class clusters in North Hollywood, further out in Reseda and in the neighborhoods between Hollywood and downtown." The top 10 neighborhoods for service workers include the area around Cal Poly Pomona and, intriguingly, Silver Lake/Chinatown.

Working class workers, people in factory, transportation, and construction jobs (in blue), make up just 19.5 percent of the LA area's workers (below the national average) and there are only 59 census tracts where they account for more than half of the workers. There are still a few outposts left: Westlake, the old school South Park in South LA (not Downtown), and El Monte. Other reports have shown recently that there's not enough affordable workforce housing in Los Angeles.
· Class-Divided Cities: Los Angeles Edition [The Atlantic Cities]