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Rethinking the City of Angels

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on December 14, 2005

To the rest of the country, Los Angeles is La La Land, a souless, superficial city, dominated by Hollywood and not much else. But the nation’s second-largest metropolis is wrestling with many of the same economic challenges as the rest of the country, in some cases sooner. Los Angeles may even serve as a model for what other cities should and should not do. On Dec. 14, the brianiacs who toil by the sea at the Milken Instutute released a comprehensive look at LA, its economy and its future. Yes, the city’s banking, aerospace and manufacturing sector have shrunk. Trade-related jobs at its massive port have not picked up the slack. The gap between rich and poor has widened, in large part due to a flood of new immigrants. The Milken group’s solution is to emphasize small businesses as a source of jobs, create incentives for them, including tax credits, securitization of small business loans and other sources of community-targeted financing. They say we need to train workers not only in language skills, but for careers in computers, telecom and other growth sectors. Love it or hate it, sprawling, unwieldly Los Angeles is America’s future.

Reader Comments


December 15, 2005 3:13 PM

If computers and telcom were growth sectors, that were. (So last century.)


December 19, 2005 3:15 PM

Growing up in heart of Silicon Valley, LA was universally deemed 'the wrong side of the tracks'. Absurd! A developer lured me to visit Pacific Palisades; was enchanted by irresistible village of small shops and welcoming people. Abandoned lucrative real estate practice, flourished in the Palisades for the best years of my life. Historically cyclical, the economy ebbs and flows, and small business challenged to survive lean times. Despite its financial and employment challenges, the inherently innovative culture of Los Angeles endures. Ultimately, LA is its people. With their intuitive creativity, embracing spirit, whimsical enjoyment of life, LA will continue to shine.


January 3, 2006 12:41 AM

I currently live in the heart of downtown LA. What a dump. This is a miserable town. It's a town driven by ambitious wannabe's and a souless beach culture. There is a huge disparity between upper and lower class, with 86% of the households priced out of the housing market. Sure the Palisades are great....if you bought a house there 5 years ago. There a some great little towns throughout Southern California, but they are contributing nothing to the future of Los Angeles.

The allure of the beach lifestyle will prevent Los Angeles from ever being a great city. The influx of people that contribute next to nothing....illegal immigrants, actors,and beach bums. If you want to talk about the real cities on the west coast that will have a significant impact: San Francisco and Seattle.

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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