La Cienega Heights | KCET
La Cienega Heights
Located immediately to the east of Beverlywood, the La Cienega Heights neighborhood stands in stark contrast to its immaculately upper class neighbor. With the busy Robertson Boulevard acting as a border between two worlds, this primarily residential neighborhood is filled with fenced-in multi-family dwellings and dim alleyways that suggest the effects of segregating covenants put in place by planned communities that surround the area, which protected the wealthy homeowners from the potential hazards of urban life.
Previously known as Cadillac-Corning, the area was a pleasantly diverse working-class neighborhood once described by Deputy City Attorney Robert A. Ferber as "a little United Nations," until it began to change in the mid-1980s, when rivalry between two gangs in the area often erupted into violence.
With no discernible landmarks or public spaces except for a shopping center anchored by Ross Dress For Less, La Cienega Heights lacks the characteristics of its neighboring communities that would create a distinct identity for itself.
Today, it is still considered one of the most violence-prone neighborhoods in the area, with reportedly half of violent crimes from the LAPD's West L.A. division coming from the area. However, in recent years the efforts of SORO Neighborhood Council and neighborhood watch groups have helped raised awareness of the issues that plague the area, and its residents and neighbors hope to foster a community in which children can safely walk the streets on their way to school.
In his long-running photo series, “Chicano Male Unbonded," photographer Harry Gamboa Jr. meant to counteract all the negative stereotypes that stem from the word "Chicano." Meet a few of his past subjects.
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