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Curbed Cup Round 1: Crenshaw (5) vs. University Park (12)

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!

In a few years, Crenshaw will be one of the most train-accessible neighborhoods in town. It already has the Expo Line running along its northern border (which will get residents to Santa Monica starting next year) and the Crenshaw Line is now under construction on its eastern border (which will eventually get residents to LAX!). Meanwhile, the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza mall is being transformed from an old-school, car-centric maze into a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use community with housing, shopping, and offices. Just up MLK, the long-blighted Santa Barbara Plaza is finally being redeveloped, with a Kaiser medical building/community center. That edge of the neighborhood is also set to get new medians, bus shelters, crosswalks, and lighting. The only problem is that all the improvements are drawing in gentrifiers, and the community (much of which dates back quite a ways) is getting nervous about being pushed out.

A gas leak in the wealthy neighborhood of Porter Ranch has been much in the news recently; there have already been several lawsuits filed and hundreds evacuated in the month or so since the leak began. Compare that to the far poorer University Park, where residents lived with, and felt the health effects of, oil drilling operations for years, until environmental officials visiting the site fell ill themselves. They've been working to improve conditions and this year, several youth groups, including many young people who live near oil company AllenCo's University Park site, sued the city of Los Angeles for shirking environmental review duties and allowing unsafe drilling in poor, non-white residential areas. It's a pretty incredible step for environmental justice in LA. (Props should be given to to residents in Adams-Normandie and Wilmington, also fighting the good fight.)

Poll results

· Curbed Cup 2015 [Curbed LA]