An autoethnographic account of urban restructuring and neighborhood change in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Suburbs have long been glossed over by critical urbanists for being culturally, even if not spatially, less than urban. In Los Angeles, it is the San Fernando Valley that has received such treatment as scholars have tended toward the metropolitan basin. In this article, I aim to help re-center the San Fernando Valley as a complex and conflictual cultural landscape through an autoethnographic exploration of four moments of urban restructuring in the Panorama City neighborhood. I provide a personal account of how a succession of events – the 1992 LA Riot, 1993 General Motors Plant closure, 1994 Northridge earthquake, and 1996 dismantling of the Aid for Families with Dependent Children welfare program – led to the disruption and partial destruction of a neighborhood. I situate these moments of crisis within the context of a civil gang injunction and outbreak of abject violence during this time period, which further destabilized the neighborhood and informed my own decision to pick up a gun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-394
Number of pages16
JournalCultural Geographies
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Keywords

  • Los Angeles
  • San Fernando Valley
  • autoethnography
  • gangs
  • neighborhood change
  • urban restructuring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

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