Who Belongs in L.A. —
and Who Does L.A. Belong To?

Angelenos Weigh in on Their Changing City

No one would dispute that Los Angeles is changing. Some would say we’re moving back to the basics—to neighborhoods and civic goals we can wrap our arms around. Others worry the city is becoming stagnant and disconnected. But what are the hopes and fears of everyday Angelenos? What’s on their minds when they imagine living and working here in 10 years? To ground our exploration of whether L.A. is still a city of big dreams, we talked to a diverse cross-section of Angelenos about the direction they see their city charting—and how they would change its course. Their responses are as mixed as the city itself, but two important threads ran through them. On the one hand, Angelenos are optimistic about a lively metropolis with pedestrian-friendly streets. On the other, Angelenos worry about gentrification and the soaring cost of living. Their answers raise a fundamental question about this place and its future: Who gets to stay and who has no choice but to go?

  • Kenisha Johnson

    It brings me to tears to see the senseless crime happening in my neighborhood . I’m a parent now and it scares me to death to see so much violence. I want us to talk about change in South L.A., Compton, Long Beach, and Watts. We need change.

  • Macaila Westerly

    When I go back to Sweden, every person I talk to about L.A. says they want to come here. Everything you want and need is here in L.A. You don’t have to travel anywhere else to experience the beach, the “mini-New York” in downtown, or different cultures. It’s all here.

  • Partho Kalyami

    I’m excited to live in a city that is evolving. Downtown L.A. is going to compete with the great downtowns of the world, like Chicago and New York. But, we don’t need to aim to be anything. We just need to be L.A.

  • Mark Cordova

    It’s really hard for small businesses to survive with all the corporations and restaurant chains coming in. I own a bar and café—it’s tough, but it’s part of the game. Hopefully L.A. becomes a city where everybody can survive and make a living.

  • Angela Sanchez

    There is always going to be change, but I hope to see new residents and transplants get involved with the people already living here. L.A. needs to maintain affordable communities that are open to people who have built their whole lives and families here.

  • Philip Yen

    I run on Skid Row with the Midnight Mission runners and see the homeless every night. It’s something that people know about, but prefer not to think or worry about. It’s a big problem. The way we treat the less privileged is a reflection of where are we going as a society.