Date of Award

6-2014

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning

Department

City and Regional Planning

Advisor

Kelly D. Main, Ph.D Associate Professor

Abstract

In an attempt to practice inclusive planning, this research project explores whether Broadway Avenue functions as an ethnic commercial strip and identifies social, physical, and economic components that contribute to the Latino neighborhood/ barrio. Using pilot studies Loukaitou-Sideris (2000), Loukaitou-Sideris (2002), Rojas (1993), Manzumdar et al. (2000), Main (2007), and Fernando (2007) as a foundation, this research uses a single case study in addition to several research methods: 42 random surveys, literature review and analysis, site observations/pictures, and land use survey.

Various scholars write that barrios have unique physical, social, economic, and political attributes. A new aesthetic, art, symbols, type of businesses, music, community events, and vendors all add to social ambiance and physical design of the neighborhood (Rojas,1993). The findings reported in this case study highlight that the majority of the people who are present at any given time on Broadway Avenue are Latino immigrants from a lower socio-economic background. They visit Broadway’s Latino commercial strip from across Los Angeles County to shop, work, and for leisure purposes. Broadway Avenue is a festive, popular, spiritual, and political public space for many Latino immigrants. Many of the study participants are attracted to Broadway’s diversity, architecture, aesthetics, culturally themed stores and restaurants; showing that this Latino commercial strip possesses deep social, physical and economic significance.

Contributions of this study include a detailed description about Broadway Avenue beyond the existing literature review. Survey results provide valuable information about what study participants would like to be preserved for Broadway’s future. This information provides user-driven recommendations for preservation and change on Broadway Avenue.

Broadway Avenue between Second Street and Olympic Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles is the focused area of this thesis project to provide a qualitative description of the environment of a Latino commercial strip. This thesis provides recommendations to urban planners as they attempt to preserve cultural elements of Broadway’s Latino commercial strip.