New Neighborhood Mapping Project Gets (More) Things Right

Local area neighborhoods as mapped in new project by Eric Brightwell

What’s in a (neighborhood) name?  For those involved in their local communities and neighborhood issues, a lot.  Neighborhood names and boundaries define our communities, their history and their grass roots governance, at the most basic level possible.  So when you’re dealing with traffic issues, neighborhood watches, historic designations or new development, it really does make a difference whether the area you’re talking about (or living in) is Koreatown or Windsor Square, Miracle Mile or Sycamore Square, or Carthay Circle or Carthay Square…all of which are officially distinct neighborhoods with their own neighborhood associations, representation on local Neighborhood Councils, and boundaries recognized by the City of Los Angeles.

For many years now, though, realtors, media outlets and others have relied heavily on the Los Angeles Times neighborhood maps when referring to neighborhood names and boundaries. But many people who live in and represent their neighborhoods in various ways have objected to the Times’ designations for not following city-recognized borders, and for lumping many smaller neighborhoods into larger, more indistinct areas such as “Mid-Wilshire.”

This week, however, the LAist blog alerted us to a new neighborhood mapping project, the work of a man named Eric Brightwell, who has combed numerous available sources and histories to develop a much more fine-grained view of “every L.A. neighborhood.”  The result is available in the map below…and at first glance it seems to be a big improvement over clunkier versions like the LA Times maps.  There definitely are nits to pick (e.g. he lumps Fremont Place in with Windsor Village, and West Adams Heights in with Harvard Heights, just to name a couple; the LAist story comments section is full of others)…but any project that can correctly locate tiny Sycamore Square between Miracle Mile and Brookside seems to be at least heading in the right direction.


About Elizabeth Fuller

Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - first in the Sycamore Square neighborhood, and since 2012 in West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill. She was long-time board member of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association, currently serves on the board of the West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association, spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.

2 thoughts on “New Neighborhood Mapping Project Gets (More) Things Right

  1. A wonderful article! However, the street boundaries stated for Hancock Park are not correct. Our boundaries are Highland, Rossmore, Wilshire and Melrose. We have been trying to correct this information for years with the LA Times no avail.
    Cindy Chvatal Keane

    1. As noted, there are still nits to pick. 🙂 Leaving comments here about such things here can’t hurt, though…and it might help to also leave comments on the LAist story. Perhaps the individual mapmaker in this case will be more responsive than the Times.

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