Half the field is OUT in the 2015 Curbed Cup race for the Los Angeles Neighborhood of the Year. This week we'll have two match-ups apiece on Monday and Tuesday, and by next week only four contenders will be left vying for the prestigious golden jpeg. Voting for each poll ends 24 hours after opening (and will be watched closely for any shenanigans). Let the eliminations continue!
First seed Watts beat out last seed in Compton in round one. All eyes were very briefly on the neighborhood 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.
Pacoima? Pacoima! The Valley enclave made easy work of Willowbrook in round one. It's been working hard to subvert the stereotypes this year, with lots of plans for greenery and walkability. The Pacoima Wash is already looking much nicer these days; this year, the community opened a public plaza under the city's People St. program, and it was announced that a CicLAvia will run through in 2016. There are also plans for a walkable strip of retail to serve as a Main Street. And don't forget the neighborhood's ever-evolving Mural Mile.
· Curbed Cup 2015 [Curbed LA]