Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Officially Designated Communities of Los Angeles

With the recent conversations about whether or not Lake Balboa exists, it’s perfect timing to release the updated “Officially designated communities of the City of Los Angeles” list. About a year ago, we released a list provided by LADOT of the signs created and placed in the City. There were some questions as to the accuracy of the list. It became evident that the list was not as accurate as it should have been. Some communities with signs that clearly marked them as a community were missing from the list, and other community names long since abandoned still made the list. So, we instituted the LA City Nerd “Call to Action” to help solve the problem of an inaccurate list (and count) of officially designated communities. (By definition for this list, “community” can be any defined area, even as short as a street as is the case as with Tarzana Safari Walk, Thai Town, or most recently, Franklin Village.) The result is a Flickr page that documents all the known designated communities in the City.

In this process of seeking to define the list of those communities that are officially designated, it has become even more evident that designated communities in Los Angeles are arbitrary. Some areas are trying to define themselves as something so they are either not lumped with another community (like South LA or Van Nuys) or so that they become something from nothing (like Little Armenia) to create a sense of community. This sense of community often is one of a cultural community versus a geographic neighborhood community. Whichever the designation, most of the recent names that were adopted have been in the last 15 years (and many effected directly by Tom LaBonge) and have been for the most part politically influenced. That’s why the City had adopted the policy they now have - which was triggered most directly by the first go-around when Lake Balboa tried to define itself as not part of Van Nuys.

And so, in the second largest City in the nation, where there are probably over 200 neighborhoods and communities, there are only 173 known designated communities in Los Angeles as of July 2007. Yes, there are known communities & neighborhoods like Knollwood in Granada Hills, Fletcher Square near Glassell Park, Melody Acres in Tarzana, and Mount Olympus in the Hollywood Hills, but none of those are officially designated by official City Signs.

Here’s the break down of the officially designated 173 communities (and their lingering relatives):

Communities designated by official City signs:
Angeles Mesa
Angelino Hgts
Arleta
Arlington Heights
Arlington Park
Artist District*
Arts District
Athens on the Hill
Atwater Village
Baldwin Hills
Baldwin Hills Estates
Baldwin Village
Baldwin Vista
Bel Air
Beverlywood
Boyle Heights
Brentwood
Brentwood Glen
Brentwood Village
Broadway Square
Broadway Theater District
Brookside**
Cahuenga Pass
Cameo Plaza
Canoga Park
Canterbury Knolls
Carthay Circle
Carthay Square
Central City
Century City
Century Cove
Century Palms
Chatsworth
Chesterfield Square
Cheviot Hills
Chinatown
Civic Center
Country Club Park
Crenshaw District
Crenshaw Manor
Crestview
Cypress Park
Del Rey
Downtown Center**
Downtown Industrial District
Eagle Rock
Echo Park
El Sereno
Elysian Valley
Encino
Fairfax Village
Fashion District
Franklin Hills
Franklin Village**
Furniture & Decorative Arts District
Gallery Row
Garvanza
Glassell Park
Granada Hills
Green Meadows
Hancock Park
Happy Valley
Harbor City
Harbor Gateway
Hermon
Highland Park
Hillside Village**
Historic Core District
Historic Downtown
Historic Filipinotown
Hollywood
Hollywood Heights
Hyde Park
Jefferson Park
Jewelry District
King Estates
Koreatown
La Cienega Heights**
La Tuna Canyon
Larchmont Village
Lake Balboa
Lake View Terrace
Larchmont Village
Leimert Park
Lincoln Heights****
Lincoln Hts****
Little Armenia
Little Ethiopia
Little Tokyo
Los Feliz
Los Feliz Village
Magnolia Square
Manchester Square
Mar Vista
Mariachi Plaza
Marina Peninsula
Melrose Hill
Mid-City
Miracle Mile
Miracle Mile District
Mission Hills
Montecito Heights
Monterey Hills
Morningside Circle
Mount Angelus
Mt. Washington
Museum Row on the Miracle Mile***
NoHo Arts District
North Hills
Northridge
North University Park
North Village Westwood
Old Bank District
Pacoima
Palms
Panorama City
Park Mile
Parkside Manor
Pico – Union
Playa Del Rey
Rancho Park
Reseda
Rose Hills
Sherman Oaks
Silver Lake
Solano Canyon
South Carthay
South Los Angeles
Studio City
St. Andrews Square
Sun Valley
Sunland
Sylmar
Tarzana
Tarzana Safari Walk
Thai Town
Toluca Lake
Toluca Terrace
Toluca Woods
Toy District
Tujunga
University Expo Park West
University Hills
Valley Glen
Valley Village
Van Nuys
Venice
Vermont Knolls
Vermont Vista
Village Green
Virgil Village
Watts
West Adams
West Adams Heights**
West Hills
West Los Angeles*****
West Park Terrace
West Toluca Lake
Westwood Village
Westchester
Westdale
Westside Village
Wilmington
Wilshire Center
Wilshire Park
Windsor Square
Windsor Village
Winnetka
Woodland Hills
* Sign exists, though the community has been clarified as the “Arts District”
** Not on original list of June 2005.
*** Green; joint with LA County
**** Lincoln Heights has two version of the sign, but it’s still one community.
*****confirmed July 2007


Officially designated communities where the signs are missing, cannot be found (have yet to be photographed), or have yet to be installed:
Arroyo View Estates
North Hollywoood
Pacific Palisades
San Pedro
Shadow Hills
Westwood

As you can see, some of the communities thought to be mainstays in the City vernacular have gone the way of the dodo Sepulveda (which became North Hills). In fact, communities no one knew were gone have lost all demarcation by error or by intent. Something proactively should be done to either restore these communities with at least a few signs or to finally lay them to rest.

Now, the following are community names that no longer make the officially designated list, though they once appeared on LADOT’s list:

Once officially designated by signs, but the signs are no longer posted and the community is now no longer official:
Sherman Village
Twin Plaza District

Signs on the original list provided by LADOT (in 2005) that no longer exist or have not been found yet:
Atwater
Carthay Village
Griffith Park
La Cienega Ctr
La Fayette Park Square
South Park
Western Heights
West Lake
Wilshire District
Wilshire Park Mile

15 comments:

AVN said...

Amazing work, Nerd. Your project has helped at least one Newbie gain better appreciation and understanding of this big City we call home.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that the Shadow Hill signs exist and are up on Sunland Blvd.

Robert90033 said...

Can someone create a list of "unofficial" community and neighborhood names? Also, how about long forgotton community names that have simply vanished from City history and memory? Dayton Heights and Pico Heights come to mind.

Peter McFerrin said...

A West Los Angeles sign can still be found on Ocean Park Boulevard just east of Centinela.

LA Scumbag said...

See, i think this is kinda weird because i live at Sunset and Sanborn right at Sunset Junction yet a block east of the junction there's a Hollywood sign. Now don't we deserve to be called Sunset Junction or even East Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

Missing on the list is "Twin Plazas". City signs went up around Victory and Laurel Canyon in North Hollywood a few years ago. This designated the few blocks containing both the decaying Valley Plaza and the non-existant Laurel Plaza.

Anonymous said...

what about santa monica

anna said...

La Fayette Square no longer exists? i live there...

Anonymous said...

santa monica is it's own city, not part of LA city. much like beverly hills, pasadena, burbank, culver city, etc...

Opal said...

Good list. Missed Harvard Heights. It's between Koreatown and West Adams District. It's boundaries are roughly Washington to the south, Pico to the north, Vermont to the East and Wilton to the West. It used to be called Westmoreland Heights, but we have official signs all around too.

north of melrose said...

How about a map? Or have I missed that? Knowing the names is swell knowing the boundries of the neighborhoods would be even more so!

Brian Aldrich said...

i've always found the districts of L.A. to be intriguing. i've lived in the Miracle Mile district, but now I reside in Santa Monica, the Wilshire/Montana corridor. (we have districts here in SM.)- lakompany.com

Waltarrrrr said...

7/20/07
Here's something of interest: Y-que on Vermont in Los Feliz, is selling LA neighborhood T-shirts, with various logos. On my Highland Park shirt there's a Victorian-era fireman's helmet with axes. See the list here: http://store.yque.com/yqnet.html

Anonymous said...

WHO MADE UP THESE STUPID NAMES? MAGNOLIA PARK, IN WHAT WAS ONCE GLORIOUSLY REFERRED TO AS SOUTH CENTRAL, DOESN'T HAVE ANY MAGNOLIAS. MIGHT AS WELL NAME IT AFTER THE LOCAL GANG. THAT'S HOW I LET PEOPLE KNOW WHERE I LIVE ANYWAY. MAGNOLIA PARK MEANS NOTHING, MAIN STREET HOOD MEANS EVERYTHING

Kirk said...

I found the San Pedro sign and posted it to the Flickr group!