Major and Classification
Leland T. Saito, Ph.D.
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, & Sciences
“Resisting the Growth Machine: Esperanza Community Housing Corporation and the L.A. Live”
Political economists frame the city as a growth machine in which land is treated as a commodity by elites to increase population and revenue. The coalition of growth proponents includes government officials and developers who control land use and the price of housing. This pursuit of growth, once away from the urban core and now towards it, has led to increased rents and displacement of low-income residents in the central business districts of many cities. In 2001, community residents and organizations in the Figueroa Corridor, a hotspot of development in South Los Angeles, California signed a landmark contract with the developers of the multi-million dollar Los Angeles Live expansion project. This paper is a case¬-study of one of those organizations, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, and its role in resisting the effects of growth. It provides scholars, government officials, developers, and activists insight for future community benefits negotiations on affordable housing and an on-the-ground perspective of the growth machine.