Economics/Class Relations

A Few Notes on the Los Angeles-Model Favela

After California’s Christian Bale character of a governor-player said this week that state and city officials were going to prioritize the urgent cleanup of freeway-adjacent homeless encampments that pose a fire risk, I visited a few of the closest examples in my unique corner of Los Angeles to see how the project is going. Short answer: it’s not. It’s a symbol-project, not an effort-project. I was shocked to discover this, of course.

Touring, it occurred to me that readers who don’t live in Los Angeles or Somalia might not be familiar with our “homeless encampments,” which tend to not be encampments. You’re picturing a guy in a tent, and that’s…not it. I mean, there are people in tents, but. This is from an “encampment” along the 110 freeway, near 43rd Street in Highland Park, Tuesday afternoon, between the freeway and a concrete river channel (click to enlarge):

These are buildings, multi-room structures made of scrap plywood and looted construction lumber. Note the multiple ladders and the bicycle in the river channel, LA’s homeless freeway between the freeways. Here’s one of those structures from the other side of the freeway, heavily tarped up on the traffic-facing side, the length of four or five connected rooms:

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