Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Creating a New World From Dreams

Posted: May 8, 2011 by scastaneda in Uncategorized

 

Exploring the way we paint pictures in our minds of places we have familiarized ourselves with is something Michele Foucault tried to accomplish.  Heterotopias are the places our thoughts and dreams reside while they are waiting to connect to our own reality.  Further research into heterotopic places have brought me to a place where I have analyzed heterotopias within a new settlement in particular the way immigrants have settled into the United States and have planted their roots.  In the process of starting a new life, aspects of past life and culture have made their way into their new communities.  An analysis of Mexican American Immigrants and the connection with their culture have brought me to a new “dream city” in Los Angeles.  This place is El Pueblo de Los Angeles also known as La Placita Olvera.

 

Heterotopic spaces are manifested within a community.  People of similar ethnic groups come together to make their own communities and infuse those communities with aspects of what they know to be “home”.  Heterotopia  is a term conceived by Michel Foucault to describe two separate spaces in time that allow the person to experience the same thing.  There are 5 principles associated with heterotopias that illustrate the physical or mental imaginative space within the human experience.  Utopian spaces are the real spaces we experience every day.  heterotopian spaces are the spaces in between the real ones that act as a highway or temporary place for our thoughts of a space to reside.

Without the thoughts that we assemble about spaces those spaces wouldn’t have the meaning attached to what we know about them.  The way that we perceive a space ultimately gives it its place in the world and its meaning about what makes it the way it is.

“Everyone can enter into the new heterotopic sites, but in fact that is only an illusion-we think we enter where we are, by the very fact that we enter, excluded.” –Foucault

 Sources:

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Olvera-Street.com – Culture, and the Arts. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://olvera-street.com/&gt;.

Foucault, Michel. Of Other Spaces (1967) Heterotopias.

“L.A. NOW | Census/Demographics | Los Angeles Times.” Top of the Ticket | Congress to Discuss Use of Geronimo’s Name in Bin Laden Mission | Los Angeles Times. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/census_demographics/&gt;.

“Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles Facts & History: Los Angeles, CA.” Famous Wonders of the World: Best Places to Visit, See Travel Pictures. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://famouswonders.com/olvera-street/&gt;.

“Olvera Street Los Angeles | Flickr – Photo Sharing!” Welcome to Flickr – Photo Sharing. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/31945172@N06/3226296819/in/photostream/&gt;.

“Placita Olvera Map.” Your Page Title. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/spanport/spanish10/map.html&gt;.

Rogers, Tim B. “Henri Lefebvre, Space and Folklore.” The Free Library. 2002. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://www.thefreelibrary.com&gt;.

Advertisements

Paradise Lose – Los Angeles and Bali

Posted: April 20, 2011 by nimadesandradewi in Uncategorized

By Ni Made Sandra Dewi

Los Angeles grew from a small pueblo along side the Los Angeles River to the sprawling metropolis known today. In the begging Los Angeles had one plaza (urban space) and one vital connection to nature (the river) as the city grew the connection of the people to an urban place has lost the important of the earlier model.

At this moment Los Angeles is one of the most populous city in United States (after New York) with a land area of 498.3 square miles. Its is a dispersed city because of the outburst farm development in early 20th and one of the other big cause is the development of streetcar and rail road systems.

The growth of modern transportation – especially automobile – has helped shaped the growth of the city to the extent that the business and social life is dependent upon the continued use of automobile. The dependency of automobile affects the development of the city; it makes the possibility for suburban development, and the planning of housing is based on the automobile easy access. Los Angeles becomes a decentralized city.

As Jane Jacobs stated in her book The Death and Life of the Great American Cities, “ A growing number of planners and designers have come to believe that if they can solve the problems of traffic, they will be thereby have solved the major problem of cities”.

This decentralize resulted in suburban area where people becoming more interested in owning private housing which creates less interaction within the community because of the lack of shared space and thus resulting individuality within the community.

Los Angeles can learn from Balinese architecture and develop urban spaces for communal interaction. Los Angeles must be looked at from the standpoint of the individual and their interaction in a larger group setting. The Balinese model illustrates how families / home owners/ tenants can share certain programmatic elements of a dwelling to combine resources and create shared spaces while enabling important social interaction.  The shared context in Balinese housing are the kitchen area, where family share the kitchen and dine together which then resulting in more interaction between the community as a whole. It is to deconstruct the idea of a house as a single family social units and material status object.

by Heath Speakman

What is Gentrification?  

Etymology: of gentle birth, people of gentle birth, gentlemen, or more specifically the middle class.  It was coined in 1964 to denote the influx of middle class displacing the lower working class. (http://members.multimania.co.uk/gentrification/)

 Gentrification Process: 

As described by Sharon Zukin in her book The Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, the first stages of gentrification occurs within an area whose specialty shops provide specific services that a new demographic of the community desires and are often owned by that same demographic of  people living in the area.  These specialized shops often take the place of those shops that had served the original populace.  As Zukin describes, “a gourmet cheese store or quirky coffee bar replaces a check-cashing service or take-out food shop” (Zukin, page 18). 

  Zukin next identifies a second wave of new businesses often owned by corporations whose workers or franchise owners don’t live in the neighborhood themselves.  As described by Zukin, “the serial repetition of small stores is broken up, imploded by new investment, new people, and the relentless bulldozer of homogenization” (Zukin, page 7).  Small shops are displaced by chain stores such as Starbucks, and Jamba Juice, which pay many thousands of dollars each month for the location which has been become more attractive due to the first wave of gentrification.  Ironically, this second wave often displaces the small specialty shops that had initially raised the property values.  These business owners do not live in the area, but have strategically placed their business in these small areas for capital gain.   Land values go up, and the small shops are financially forced to move out.          

Where is this happening in Los Angeles?

 Broadway Blvd, Downtown Los Angeles

In the attempt to revitalize Broadway Blvd in the downtown sector, the City of Los Angeles is creating new policies that make it hard for small business owners to stay competitive.  The City of Los Angeles has helped with their demise.  For example, small downtown shops have traditionally displayed their products on the street next to their shops as a means of attracting pedestrian consumers, but as of 2010 there is a $500 fine for this action.  I spoke to a shop owner about this new fine, and he claimed that this action is “killing his business.”  Policies such as this mark the beginning stages of displacement as described by Zukin.

 North Hollywood, CA

This second stage of gentrification can also be seen in the San Fernando Valley.  Lankershim Lock and Key is one of the oldest shops on Lankershim street in North Hollywood.  In an interview with the shop owner, he described how he is being forced to leave when his ten-year lease expires next year.  He recalled how, over the course of the ten previous years, the small shops have been replaced by chain stores that have subsequently increased the land values.  Once his lease expires, he will not be able to renew and will be forced to leave.  

Solution to Gentrification:

Zukin suggests a plan of action that can help halt the process of gentrification and, as a result, slow down the displacement of small shops and their owners.  Whether you are a small business owner in downtown Los Angeles, or a long time key-shop owner in the San Fernando Valley, according to Zukin, the slowing of gentrification is done by “preserving historic buildings and districts, encouraging the development of small-scale boutiques and cafes, and the branding neighborhoods in terms of distinctive cultural identities” (Zukin,  page 3).