the arts district is a once gritty neighbourhood on the eastern edge of LA’s downtown. formerly an industrial area with buildings that date to the early 20th century, the arts district is now home to art spaces & cafes, as well as repurposed factory & warehouse buildings.
the transformation of the area began in the mid 70’s when a group of california based artists saw potential in the empty industrial buildings & began converting them into studios & commercial spaces. by the 1980’s the city of LA created a special “artist in residence” zoning variation to regulate the often unsafe conditions of the repurposed buildings.
because much of the area was originally abandoned its rise doesn’t qualify as traditional “gentrification”, though the area’s popularity is increasing right alongside the rents on the live/work spaces it is known for. by 2014 the average annual income of arts district residents was $120,000.