A common definition of community is a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings.
The Arts District occupies the eastern side of Downtown Los Angeles. Its borders are roughly Alameda Street on the west, the 101 freeway on the north, the LA River to the east, and 7th Street to the south.
The Arts District is filled with older industrial and former railroad buildings. In 1981, the City of Los Angeles passed its “Artist in Residence” or “AIR” ordinance, which allowed residential use of formerly industrial buildings (artists had long used such spaces as living quarters illegally, and the AIR law sought to bring this practice into legality and regulation).
In the 1970s, these buildings started to become popular with the L.A. art community and artists began buying and renting the buildings for use as live/work spaces. By the turn of the 21st Century, the popularity of the neighborhood started attracting more affluent residents looking for the “artist lifestyle.” However, many of the new residential developments have been undertaken by real estate developers, as opposed to artists themselves.
Recent gentrification has swelled the population, bringing new residents, many of whom are young professionals, to the area. They reside alongside the veteran resident artists and still-functioning industrial and manufacturing businesses.
Loft-style apartments and condos in restored industrial buildings now dot the landscape, but the Arts District is still home to a major rail yard, cold storage, warehouses, food processing, furniture and fashion design/manufacturing, personal storage, government facilities and film locations. It is also home to thousands of resident artists in live/work spaces that support creative entrepreneurial businesses and non-profits. In addition, the district is home to the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and the Los Angeles offices of the Daily Journal, California’s legal daily newspaper. Restaurants such as Wurstkuche, Novel, Little Bear, R23, Church & State, Daily Dose, Handsome Roasters, Urth Caffe, Villains Tavern, Pour Haus, the Pie Hole and Bestia are just a few restaurants located in the Arts District.