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A neighborhood analysis of Rancho Park. One of Los Angeles' historic neighborhoods.


  • R A N C H O

    P A R K

    UP274 Mar. 09

    A Neighborhood Analysis done by Morgan Chee

  • The freedom of an individual depends upon that individuals freedom to alter his considerations of space, energy, time and life and his roles in it. If he cannot change his mind about these, he is then fixed and enslaved amidst barriers such as those of the physical universe, and barriers of his own creation. Man thus is seen to be enslaved by barriers of his own creation. He creates these barriers himself, or by agreeing with things which hold these barriers to be actual.

    -L. Ron Hubbard

  • toc | 0

    Table of ContentsCreating Place and Ownership of Open Space in Rancho Park and Cheviot Hills

    I. Introduction....................................................1 A. Where?

    1. Areas of the neighborhood

    B. When?

    1. Observation time 2. Scope of project

    C. Who?

    1. Preliminary resident analysis 2. Preliminary user analysis

    II. Background........................................................8

    A. Historical Context

    B. Applicability to Contemporary Rancho Park

    W H E R E

    III. Land-Use................................................................11

    A. Land-Use (according to observation and LA General Plan)

    B. Recreation Center and Park

    C. Land-use within the areas of the park

    1. Times of use

    W H o

    IV. User-Groups...............................................................20 A. Where do the users reside

    B. Who are the different users

    C. Different users at different times

    V. Reclaiming the Park.............................................27 A. Problems of ownership

    B. Barriers to mix-ability and socialization

    W H y

    VI. Creating a Sense of Ownership...........................31 A. Engaging the community

    B. Breaking barriers

    C. Redesigning the park to serve as a node for the now disjointed community

  • Page | 1

    Introduction Getting Acquainted with the Community

  • Page | 2

    Rancho Park Neighborhood: Getting


    Rancho Park is a small neighborhood in

    Los Angeles, California. It is bordered by Cheviot

    Hills, Beverly Hills, Westwood and Santa Monica.

    The neighborhood has a feeling of mysteriousness

    with housing hidden off the main street, a quiet

    alleyway and unimposing building facades, which

    are hard to decipher. Pico Boulevard is the main

    Introduction W h e r e

    street with stores, public spaces and most of the

    vehicular congestion. Almayo Avenue, which lays

    just Northwest of Pico Boulevard, holds the single-

    family and multi-family housing. The golf course

    is located on the southeast side of Pico Boulevard

    Boulevard; it spans almost five blocks of Pico

    Boulevard right next to the country club. The golf

    course and country club are split by Motor Avenue.

    (See Figure 1) Within the golf course along Motor

    Avenue is a community/recreation center. The

    site has a mix of commercial, institutional, retail,

    housing, and public spaces. The buildings are,

    at the most, two stories high and for the most

    part have intimidating street facades. The single-

    family housing is about the same height but large

    in scale. The apartment buildings/condos vary;

    some are tall, inclusive of underground parking

    and balconies on most units while others are

    small with a few units among a couple levels.


    This project serves as an analysis of the

    community in 2009. The nation as a whole is

    experiencing an economic crisis and although,

    Rancho Park does not appear to be suffering, we

    must keep this in mind as we continue the study.

    The area has experienced growth in housing and

    transformation of the golf course and park from

    a privatized piece of land to a space for public

    use. The following neighborhood analysis offers

    a familiarization of the area through many of its

    attributes and challenges.

    Rancho Park Neighborhood: Sensory


    At first observation, Rancho Park, like

    many other Los Angeles locales has a milieu of

    voices and the smell of gasoline being burned.

    Cars are everpresent in the area, they are parked

    in driveways, parked on the street and in transit all

    around the neighborhood, there was not a place

    that you can be where a car is not visible. Voices

    come from people talking along the streets and the

    kids playing in the playground. This is a place of

    constant activity. Visitors can feel the coolness of

    the trees that line the edge of the golf course and

    the crinkling of leaves with each step. The wind

    created by people running past brushes over ones

    face. You can even hear the sounds of the dogs

    being walked around the golf course. The smell

    grass and dirt, a very foreign smell when living

    an urban environment, is also present. There is

    a stark contrast between the feelings previously

    mentioned and those felt on the side streets. It

    is pure silence with the occasional car pulling out

    of a driveway or parking lot. You can see some

    televisions on in apartments but outside is quiet.

    Base Map of Rancho Park Neighborhood

    W h 0 W h y

  • Page | 3

    Areas of the Neighborhood: Streets and Sidewalks

    The whooshing of cars on the street above seem

    far off and so distant that it seems like you are in

    another world when among the housing. In sum,

    there exists an interesting dichotomy of sounds

    and sensations within this neighborhood. At times

    the neighborhood feels cold and empty even on

    hot days. Despite the constant activity in the area,

    the size of the main street makes it seem vast.

    Streets: What are their personalities?

    The streets are a very diverse in scale and

    arranged in a grid-pattern. They have lamp posts

    that have flags on them for the latest Getty Center

    exhibit. This could signify that the community

    has money to be able to buy these flags for the

    lamp posts or that the area has people that may

    be interested in going to this exhibit. The main

    street, Pico Boulevard, is six to eight lanes wide.

    The seventh and eighth lanes are used in each

    respective direction during rush hours (morning

    and evenings) and otherwise are used as parking

    lanes. Contrastingly, Patricia Avenue, Kerwod

    Avenue, and Fox Hills Drive are all very small

    with one lane in each direction. Beverly Glen

    Boulevard is medium in size, with two to three

    lanes in either direction. This creates an awkward

    dichotomy for the community. The residents,

    workers and visitors go from quiet tiny streets

    to huge thoroughfares. The side streets seem

    inviting but the huge main street is intimidating

    to walk along. (See Diagam on next page) The

    intersections along Pico Boulevard are major hubs

    with lots of cars racing through them and trying to

    get onto them. During rush hour, the cars can

    be seen stacked along the street in a standstill.

    There are also a lot of cars on the side streets,

    waiting to enter onto the main street. Even at

    times excluding rush hour, there is a steady flow

    of cars running along Pico Boulevard Boulevard.

    Cars that can be found in this neighborhood

    are representative of a wide range of economic

    classes. Some cars are filled to the brim with

    belongings, looking almost like a house. There

    is one van that sometimes sits on Pico Boulevard

    Boulevard, which calls itself the Writing Travel

    Book. This car is filled with blankets papers

    and various other possessions with a couple and

    a dog inside. Other cars are newer and kept in

    top shape. The signs demonstrate various bars

    to entry and restrictions on the main street. The

    parking, as mentioned before, is restricted to

    during the day between the hours of 7:00a-10:00a

    and 4:00p-6:00p, or at non-rush hour times of the

    day. Despite all of the constant congestion, the

    roads seem to be in fairly good condition. The

    sidewalks are also clean and without litter most of

    the time. This could be attributed to the garbage

    cans by each bus stop.

    Sidewalks: Who walks here?

    However, the placement of the bus stops

    on every block is inviting to visitors. Most often at

    bus stops the demographic is Latino women but

    there are of course others who get on and off the

    bus at this location. Walking along the streets

    there are a lot of young kids and working

    professionals (families) in the mornings and

    around the middle of the day, however, in the late

    evening or at night there are more older and

    middle-aged people. The sidewalk running along

    the golf course is dark but nicely laid out with a

    line of trees closest to the street. There is also a

    patch of green running along either side of you

    when you walk down this street making the large

    scale of Pico Boulevard not seem as overwhelming,

    especially when you are blocked by trees. On the

    other side of the street there are no patches of

    green running down the sidewalk on either side of

    you except for near the church, this sidewalk is

    also narro