During the mid twentieth century and following the close of World War II, a massive housing boom was initiated and the growth of Los Angeles suburbs begun. When constructing the new residential areas, government agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration segregated neighborhoods and outlined areas to be predisposed for wealth or poverty. These outlined districts have since been outlawed although the residual effects have carried on through today.
This short documentary displays a journey down Cherry Ave to explore the areas of Long Beach that used to be segregated into three different socioeconomic districts. These districts once facilitated the demographics of an area, restricting certain types of people while promoting others. Although these districts are not directly defined today, the distinction between them is still clear as their development has generally remained similar relative to each other.
Description and Captions:
A Brief History
Red-lining districts can be defined as “a discriminatory practice by which banks, insurance companies, etc., refuse or limit loans, mortgages, insurance, etc., within specific geographic areas, especially inner-city neighborhoods.” This led to the creation of different districts (i.e. red line, yellow line, and blue line) that essentially defined the segregation of these communities, both economic and racial.
The Red Line District
So as you can see there’s a lot of sort of strange establishments in this area. For instance, there’s a weird almost hand drawn looking sign for a shoe shine place, which is something that you almost never see anymore. Just in this area things like this, especially in a building such as this, seem to stick around a lot longer than they would in a higher income area.
Here we are in the red line district still and the current state of living in the suburban area is still pretty poor, the living quality. We are coming up on more oil fields, and they are actually integrated not only within the restaurants that surround the local area but also in their living quarters. So as we’re coming up, we can see working oil fields in the distance. Multiple oil fields. See how it comes up to the houses? There’s just a wall and then thats it. Here are the homes or apartments, and oil fields are literally adjacent.
The Yellow Line District
Currently in the yellow line district, and the houses are getting a lot better and less presence of homeless people, more access to fresh foods and a market, as you can see. So as we venture into the yellow line district, we notice that the we’ve been in more of a consistent suburban housing area for a while. where really the only thing we see are small businesses and a lot of single family homes and apartment buildings where as in the red line district it seemed like the industrial and suburban areas were really intermingled. You would go from housing to industrial complexes almost street by street.
Well we can see that the children here in the yellow line district do have access to basketball hoops and a basketball court, but unfortunately they are still not as trustworthy as those children in the blue line district and their basketball hoops are actually chained up.
Se we are here on the border between the yellow line district and blue line district on 2nd St. and we see that kids and adolescence have a lot more access to playgrounds and places to have fun with their family and the public place is a lot more set up for the family to enjoy. We have a skate park here to the left where kids can come and pass the time, and we see the skate culture is thriving here; and to the right we have kids playing with their families. So big difference already coming to the yellow line district from the red line district and the oil fields.
So one of the major strategies to creating the public/ private spaces and to regulate them the way these business want to is to create sort of a money gate to block entrance from certain types of people. You can see these areas have a certain type of establishment: theres a steak house, a PF Changs, Gladstone’s. None of these restaurants are cheap or even affordable to many segments of the population. Also, most of the parking around here over there the parking is exclusively valet and down this way down the street all of the parking is metered, so these types of regulations stop certain types of people from coming to the public/ private facilities and encourage other types of people to come and give their business these businesses.
The Blue Line District
So as we’ve gotten into the blue lined ares we’ve started to notice that the city is very vertical and the apartment buildings and hotels in this area have become two or three times higher than anything in the red or even yellow district. this reflects sort of the desire for large groups of people to be able to live in this area especially right now where were are at which is right near the beach which is obviously a high desire for families and single people. So this vertical growth reflects amount of the amount of economic flexibility that just wasn’t present in the other districts that we visited, and that is definitely a big difference between the blue and the other districts.
Here we are at the Hyatt hotel right on the beach front in the blue line district, beautiful water front here, leading to a park. This is the sort of public private space that becomes prevalent in areas line this in the blue line district. This is the Hyatt Hotel right behind us and in the background you can see this just beautiful park with bridges and little boats that you can ride on and just this well maintained body of water that the Hyatt has created for their guests and for the population of this area; and over here are just plenty of places to eat right on the beach. This is just the sort of area that is accessible and a big part of what makes the blue line district so desirable to the upper class.