Here it is: the 2015 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 games begin!
All eyes were very briefly on Watts this summer as Los Angeles commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the mass civil unrest known as the Watts Riots. Not enough has changed in the neighborhood since then (it has the lowest life expectancy in California), but the residents have been ambitious in pursuing a better future. Several local groups, partnering with the Natural Resources Defense Council's Urban Solutions program, have created a plan called Watts Re:Imagined, which would turn Watts into a "national example of sustainable development" with more pedestrian space, parks, and transit options. The nonprofit Children's Institute, Inc. is building a new headquarters with space both for the at-risk kids it serves and the community, with a little pro bono help from Frank Gehry, whose name will certainly help with fundraising and whose design will give Watts a new architectural landmark (hard to beat the Watts Towers, though). The mixed-use, mixed-income makeover of the long-neglected Jordan Downs housing project has struggled along but seems to be picking up some steam lately, and it's been announced that Watts will be hosting a CicLAvia next year.
Compton had an amazing cultural year. The NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton made a ton of money and is now a strong awards season contender; Dr. Dre released Compton, his first album in years, to coincide with the film's release. But it was Comptonian Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly that blew everyone away musically; the video for single "King Kunta" is a joyous Compton block party. Meanwhile, Kickstarter has helped fund a documentary about the neighborhood's often forgotten black cowboys.
· Curbed Cup 2015 [Curbed LA]