For a city known for its love of the automobile, Los Angeles certainly has a lot of walking tours. Residents looking to stretch their legs a little can be guided through the historic theaters of Downtown, the murals of the Arts District, and even the sites of assassinations and rioting in Koreatown. Now, an anti-development group in Venice has offered pedestrians the thrilling opportunity to take a tour of sites pertinent to the lawsuit that the group recently filed against the city of LA.
Yo! Venice reports that the Venice Coalition to Preserve Our Unique Community Character highlighted large development projects on its tour—it says that many of these buildings have been fast-tracked by the LA City Council in spite of zoning laws much in need of an update. The tour was meant to show how the city's disregard for procedure has led to the disappearance of affordable housing in Venice, though one plaintiff in the coalition's lawsuit, interviewed by Yo! Venice, had more to say about the aesthetic injustice of the development. "Our Craftsmen bungalows have been turned into Lego-boxes," she says.
Filed in March, the lawsuit is one of many recent efforts to address a development boom that has coincided with soaring rental prices in Los Angeles. Many analysts argue the disappearance of affordable housing is a simple issue of supply and demand—developers have little incentive to build anything besides luxury housing—but that hasn't stopped a growing number of NIMBY groups from blaming developers and the city's approval process for these problems.
The walking tour left from 635 San Juan Ave at 4:30 today and lasted an hour. It's not clear yet if and when further tours might be held. If you weren't able to make it, this slightly terrifying video posted on the coalition's site (featuring a gentrification clown and conversations between a mural of Abbot Kinney and a group of squirrels) may be able to fill you in on some of the key details.