Mapping Boyle Heights: A cartography of transformative resistance through the (re)creation of space through cultural production in East Los Angeles.

Authors: Ramon Pineda*, California State University - Los Angeles
Topics: Urban Geography, Ethnicity and Race, United States
Keywords: Historical cartography, spatial entitlement, transformative resistance, gentrification
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Nottoway, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Just east of Downtown Los Angeles is the Boyle Heights neighborhood. Historically an ethnically diverse neighborhood with populations of Jews, Japanese and Mexican American residents (Sánchez 2004), Boyle Heights is now largely Mexican American/ Chicanx, and undergoing rapid transformation through gentrification (Estrada 2017). The neighborhood’s residents are not sitting idly by watching their streets be transformed by millionaire developers, they are organized and fitting back. Boyle Heights residents are generally viewed as a tight knit community. Violently isolated and quarantined by the tangle of freeways the sense of isolation became a strength for the community.
I will examine three maps of the Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles neighborhoods to examine the ways people are both mapped on and how they map themselves. First is a map from the Los Angeles Times Mapping LA project. The LA Times map is a traditional demographic survey using 2000 U.S. census data to profile Boyle Heights. The second map is the Goez Map Guide to the Murals of East Los Angeles, 1975, by artist John Gonzalez. The last map is titled: “Greetings from East L.A.: A Map of the Stars and Landmarks of East L.A..” This map is a riff off of the popular maps to celebrity homes that are sold to tourist visiting affluent neighborhoods in LA. The map was created by students from the East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy at Esteban Torres High School (ELARA)

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