"Silicon Beach"-driven Displacement: From Oakwood to Inglewood (Part I)

Start: Wednesday, July 07, 2021 6:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-07:00)

End: Wednesday, July 07, 2021 7:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-07:00)

What gets built and where? And who ends up living where in a given region? Urban geography and residential patterns in Los Angeles have long been shaped by the expansion and contraction of dominant industries—for example, housing patterns linked to rising and falling employment in the aeronautics industry post-WWII is well-known in our region.

This two-part educational series features a historically grounded investigation of how the rise of the so-called “Silicon Beach” (lauded by the corporate press as “the new tech hub in the country” & a “flourishing hub of innovative companies”) is impacting real estate valuation, rent-intensification, and displacement—ultimately transforming a series of neighborhoods from Oakwood to Inglewood.

Comrades are encouraged to review two recommended readings in advance of the first installment of this educational event, both of which are linked below. The event will feature a introductory presentation grounded in the underlying political & economic dimensions of the process of urban redevelopment and displacement linked to so-called “Silicon Beach” industries, followed by facilitated discussion designed to build and deepen our collective understanding of:

  • globalizing capitalism where real estate development, insurance, and finance serve as primary sources of capital accumulation; and

  • how to take steps toward decommodification through greater regulation of LA’s housing market to begin to ensure affordability and a right to the city for all.

Installment 1 Recommended readings:

  • Silicon Beach Housing Prices Surge as Techies Move In (LA Times, 2013); An example of the popular, mainstream narrative around industry-driven rent intensification and displacement on the Westside that focuses on the role, preferences, and purchases of individual workers rather than the movement of capital.

  • “Gentrifying New Orleans” [link] (Johnson, 2015; 22 pages); Through a case study of post-Katrina development and rent intensification, this piece provides an analytical framework grounded in political economy to more deeply understand the pattern of displacement popularly termed ‘gentrification’.

  • Silicon Beach & Gentrification (SoCal Connected, KCET; 9:40 second video) “The growth of hi-tech companies in Venice has created controversy and frustration in a historically African-American neighborhood of Venice. Some long-time residents of Oakwood are angry about the gentrification of their neighborhood, the construction of huge modern homes in traditional neighborhoods, and the loss of affordable housing. Reporter Cara Santa Maria talks with realtors, home hunters and local residents about the dramatic changes happening in Venice.”

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