The secret's out: the people who hate new development in Santa Monica—not just Bergamot Transit Village, but new, tall starchitect hotels, and in some cases literally everything—are mostly old and white. Okay, so it wasn't actually a secret, but now there are numbers to back it up, reports NextCity. A new study (download) commissioned by Santa Monica to look into residents' general perceptions of the city and opinions on land use revealed that about 70 percent of people ages 25 to 34 saw development in downtown Santa Monica in a positive light, and as something that would bring money and entertainment to the area, whereas 68 percent of 60- to 64-year-old cranks (and 64 percent of those over 65 years old) saw downtown development as something that would "permanently [change Santa Monica] to a crowded city." (Too late, probably?) The age divide was visible in every single question asked about the direction Santa Monica's headed.
The real revelation was that 70 percent of Latinos surveyed responded in favor of downtown development—agreeing that it would "improve the character" of SaMo; they were the only ethnic group surveyed to respond overwhelmingly in favor of building up the downtown area. The majority of white people and African-Americans felt that the city's character would be damaged by development. (Unfortunately, Latinos don't have a lot of power in Santa Monica, as "70 percent of Santa Monica [consists] of non-Hispanic whites and only 13 percent self-identifying as Hispanic or Latino.")
73 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 64 percent of people ages 25 to 34 were in favor of new hotels in downtown; 18-to-24-year-olds were also the only group to respond strongly in favor of a more exciting skyline in the city. Latinos again (along with Asian-Americans) were the only group to have majority support for hotels in the downtown area. The first question the survey asked was about whether or not Santa Monica is headed in the right direction; the responses didn't really provide a clear yes or no from the public. It's unclear what these divisions will mean for the future of Santa Monica, but there will probably be serious battling over every new development until something shifts.
· White Santa Monicans Hate New Development, Latinos Love It [NextCity]
· Survey Says: Santa Monica Residents Are Anti-Development [Curbed LA]