Who is responsible for the gentrification of Eagle Rock & Highland Park?

York Boulevard in Highland Park

Is it the house flipper who sells the restored bungalow to a white couple? Or is the owner of the new cafe serving avocado toast responsible? It’s neither. According to an Occidental College professor, you can credit (or blame) the past efforts of neighborhood activists and artists for turning Eagle Rock and Highland Park into poster-child examples of the “stage model of gentrification.”

The stage model of gentrification is used by many sociologists to study the decades-long cycle of urban neighborhoods as they decline and revive. Disinvestment and white-flight open the way for low-income and minority residents to move in.  Later, artists and urban pioneers discover and  begin revitalizing the neighborhoods before even more affluent newcomers and investors arrive. In a story posted on KCET’s Departures website, Jan Lin, an Occidental College sociology professor,  said that the area’s “neobohemian” and “green” brand gentrification are part of that long cycle.

The arrival and work of artists and activists in the 1970s and 1980s planted the seeds for the changes now transforming Eagle Rock and Highland Park, according to Lin. He writes:

Northeast Los Angeles is a good illustration of the “stage model of gentrification,” where homebuyer pioneers, artists, and neighborhood activists who contribute to neighborhood preservation and revitalization of the built environment and urban culture are subsequently threatened with displacement by speculator-investors and more affluent gentrifiers. To convey this, I’d like to draw focal attention to the emergence of Chicana(o)/Latina(o) art collectives in the 1970s and white artists through the Arroyo Arts Collective in the 1980s; and the flowering of Avenue 50 Studio and the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock in the 2000s. They created opportunities for artists, enlivened public space, and fostered regional cultural identity and community through their exhibitions, murals, public art, and youth involvement projects.

It would be useful to cite also the rise of regional neighborhood activism in the 1980s by organizations like The Eagle Rock Association (TERA) and the Highland Park Heritage Trust (HPHT) against mini-malls, uninspired condominiums, and “big box” and franchise chain stores, in favor of coordinated land-use planning, preservation of small businesses and historic-cultural landmarks, and a campaign to “Take Back the Boulevard” in Eagle Rock for bikers and pedestrians.

Lin, who is working on a book about the gentrification of Northeast L.A.,  notes that the “authentic urbanism” and “small-town intimacy” of Northeast L.A.’s boulevards have played a major role in attracting  “hipsters and newcomer gentrifiers.” In fact, Occidental College, which is located in Eagle Rock, recently bought a row of storefronts on gentrifying York Boulevard to raise its community profile and offer amenities closer to campus.


  1. seems the eastsider thinks there hasn’t been enough fighting in the comments section lately…

  2. Click bait if I ever saw it.

    I’ll tell you what is responsible for gentrification,

    It’s called SUPPLY & DEMAND.

  3. What starts as a holistic organic beneficial diversification later attracts the speculator/investor/flim flammer/grifter who starts buying up prime commercial properties, cranking up the rents, driving out local businesses causing dislocation and disillusionment. The tensions increase, violence increases and the gentrifiers cheerlead for more gentrification to clean up the hood. Eventuallythe neighborhood is infested with the shyster class and the place is destroyed. Have a nice day.

    • Highland park Hebrew.

      Shyster class. You mean “money grubbing Jew”?

      • shy·sterˈSHīstər: a PERSON, especially a LAWYER, who uses unscrupulous, fraudulent, or deceptive methods in business.

        Shyster /ˈʃaɪstər/ is a slang word for someone who acts in a disreputable, unethical, or unscrupulous way, especially in the practice of law, sometimes also politics or business.

        Remember, this is L.A. California NOT the Bronx or Brooklyn, NY. That degree of anti-semitism has never taken root in L.A. where stereotypes and discrimination have historically been reserved for “latinos” aka “Mexicans.”

        • And reserved for native tribes like the Chumash who were discriminated and brutalized by the Spanish and Mexicans.

          • Shyster also happens to be german/yiddish. So yes much like the term “hebie jebie” it is a slight against Jewish people the way that “jim” used it. Was mostly used within the community though, not outsiders using it as a racial slur.

  4. Aldo Thee Apache

    Why is avocado toast a pejorative?

    • Don’t worry Proper Dos will be along shortly to tell you why. Something something cultural imperialism.

    • If avocado toast is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

    • Because it’s a low cost, high mark up food item that past residents of the community could never consider wasting money on but white people love it and are willing to wait on stupid line and pay stupid money for it because it makes them feel like they are living a life others would be jealous of. It’s a less douchey relative of bows on luxury cars as Xmas gifts.

      • Oh Dingus get over yourself. How about this as a plausible scenario. someone has come up with an product that people want to buy. To say that existing residents can’t or wouldn’t buy it is not relative to anything. Does every business have to cater to every person in the neighborhood? No.

      • Aldo Thee Apache


        Please tell me that between your name and your retarded comment that you’re a troll and I’m just not getting the joke..
        Past residents i.e LATINOS in EP didn’t eat avocado or bread? Are you f*cking high?
        Did you really compare eating an avocado to putting a bow on a Lexus?
        What’s next? All of us being bunch of fancy pants because we like Cholula? Maybe eating Elote (grilled corn) out on our yacht?

  5. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, that’s what done it.

  6. LOLSMH. Get Out Of My Hood.

  7. Highland Park in particular would NEVER have gentrified without the gang injunction.

    It was the gangs that made HLP a shithole in the 80’s-90’s, and it was the LAPD and gang prosecutors that made it nice again.


    It doesn’t matter how many artists or gays move to an area, it won’t gentrify if there are gangs active in the neighborhood.

    • Uh, Silver Lake gentrified LONG before the gang injunction that went into place two years ago. There are other ways for this to happen.

  8. Claiming Eagle Rock is being gentrified… Game over, that’s an official moratorium on the term “gentrification”. You can’t use it anymore. Highland Park, yes. Eagle Rock? EAGLE ROCK? Now you’re just being ridiculous.

  9. Martin Arredondo

    Selling out by calling yourself Proper Dos. A lame 90s gangster rap shit band from Westside. If you’re so proud to be from the east side,why would you choose that bands name.. Or maybe your not even from here.

    • ArreteTonto, it’s a play on words not a tribute to any hip-hop group even though hip-hop is the sound-track of my youth but what would a square, self-loathing, block-headed troll like you know about it? Your prejudices are a piss-poor substitute for actual knowledge and life experience. Your posts just ooze bitter ignorance and resentment of YOURSELF(?!).

      Get a life MAZETON.

  10. I blame Marc Maron, the “Cortes of the Barrio.” H/T ask a Mexican

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