Urbanist, or just urban? A community coming together in East Hollywood
I spend what is probably way too much time pondering whether there is a difference between "urbanist" and "urban," and whether there should be. I think there is a difference and, although I've been a card-carrying new urbanist for over a decade now, I still prefer the movement's antecedent when I come across a well-functioning "old urbanist" community. I also think the successful old neighborhoods can teach us a thing or two about what we might aspire to.
To wit: through the combination of my insatiable curiosity and the wonders of the internet, I have stumbled across a magic kingdom in southern California. No, not that magic kingdom, but the vibrant, down-home, very web-savvy, it's-happening-here community of East Hollywood in Los Angeles.
E-Ho covers 1.8 square miles and hosts some 51,000 residents, about half Latino, the rest a mix of white, Asian, and a very diverse gumbo of "other." In the words of neighborhood council vice president Elson Trinidad on his community blog Hijo de E-Ho, "I'm just a Filipino kid who grew up listening to black music in an Armenian neighborhood where people spoke Spanish and ate Thai food."
Everything you need to know about this community's positive energy is captured in a wonderful little video from Streetfilms about ArtCycle, an event sponsored by the neighborhood council last month and combining, well, art and bicycling. I've posted the 3-minute video on my NRDC blog and highly recommend it. If it doesn't restore your faith in humanity and community, well, you may be beyond help. ;)
There are also two other videos posted, one on the neighborhood's transportation vision (how cool is that?) and one providing an introduction to the community. These guys really have their act together.
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