Property Rights

Thanks to the lingering aftereffects of the New Deal and the post-World Ward II boom, development in Los Angeles was in full swing in the 1960s. Bunker Hill began to tower over Downtown after a law restricting building heights in Los Angeles was lifted—and after tenants from the neighborhood's Victorian-style homes were evicted. Property owners were forced out of Chavez Ravine, their homes torn down without compensation after the land was taken for a never built housing project. These corrupt and high-handed practices mainly targeted low income families, displacing, among others, tens of thousands of Mexican-Americans.

As whites took flight towards the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, a Mexican-American working class from neighboring Northeast and East Los Angeles was being drawn to Highland Park by affordable property and the conveniences afforded by the Arroyo Seco Parkway. A tidal wave of development began to rumble through the sleepy neighborhood.

Open storm drain on El Paso Dr., 1952

Above, Arthur Snyder, former city councilman, William Deverell, Professor of History Director of the USC-Huntington Institute, Eric Avila, UCLA professor and urban planner, The Duardo Family, longtime Highland Park residents, discuss changing terms of property rights and land use.

Ownership Through History
Eric Avila on the history of conquest, power and defiance are ingrained in the built environment and character of Highland Park.
Transitions of Land Use
William Deverell recounts the recent history of political, demographic economic and cultural transitions in the Arroyo Seco, which provided a mirror and framework to understand Highland Park and its continued evolution.
Eminent Domain
Arthur Snyder shares how Highland Park was excluded from a program he developed that assisted residents in his district to renovate and bring their older properties up to code, ultimately preventing demolition.
Developer Friendly
Lisa and Oscar Duardo recount how historic homes and culturally rich areas of Highland Park have been destroyed to make way for commercial and multi unit housing development.
Homeowners Plight
Josefina, Oscar and Lisa Duardo recount their community's legislative fight to save their backyards from density, and their subsequent loss to the city despite great efforts.
Explore the related interactive mural

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The Duardo Family

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Benjamin Franklin High School

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