LA Times Tries to Define Los Angeles

February 19, 2009 at 10:48 am in Maps, Utilities


When  Jenny Beorkrem set out to make this awesome typographical map of Los Angeles, she was well aware of the politics, insanely intense neighborhood pride, and the death war that is launched when you talk to the wrong person at the wrong bar and refer to Silver Lake as the “East Side.”  So, ideally, the LA Times is taking note of all this as it culls together its “Mapping LA” neighborhood project.

Designed to  be “a tool that will allow reporters and editors to be consistent when describing neighborhoods in news stories in a city that sometimes seems to change the names like most people change socks,” the Times says it’s intent on drilling down, once and for all, who lives where.  It’s a pretty nifty interactive map – probably one of the better things the Times has done lately.

Some quick thoughts on this after the jump.

First, it’s nice that the tired and trite Eastside vs. Westside debate is preempted by clumping Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park into the “Central” region of the city, and naming Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, etc as part of the “Eastside.”  This raises the question of whether the people doing this are from LA and know better, or whether they are not from LA and know how to read a map.

As you can see from the comments for Silver Lake, there already has been some nice web 2.0 input.  I guess the designers initially compounded Silver Lake into “Silverlake” (for newcomers to the city, if you want to piss off someone from that neighborhood, combining the two words is the way to do it), which has since been fixed.

USC is its own neighborhood?  When I was there, I thought we were part of Exposition Park?

I’m going to explore this throughout the day, but my final thought for now is how much I wish the Times had more relevance.  If the Times wasn’t crumbling under its own inefficient artifice, this project in nomenclature might actually instill some sort of permanance in our local dialogue.

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