Surfing the Waves of Gentrification

Los Angeles has encountered a new wave of gentrification.

Los Angeles has encountered a new wave of gentrification.

Debby Erazo, Student Choice Editor

California, which is notoriously known for its high tides, is facing a new kind of wave. It’s a wave so strong some believe it to be catastrophic.


Los Angeles, which lies at the epicenter of the madness, is rapidly going under, and no one dares claim responsibility.


Hordes of northern venture capitalists are flocking towards California, specifically Los Angeles, to stake claim on what is now being referred to as Silicon Beach.


Silicon Beach, the location that now houses more than fifty popular tech startups, stretches from Venice all the way to Santa Monica. With companies like Snap Inc., valued at more than $18 billion, Silicon Beach is quite the monster.


Although venture capitalists, like Mark Suster, claim that “the original monetisation of the internet was created [in Los Angeles], not Silicon Valley;” some residents of the area wish that wasn’t true.


Los Angeles is the third-most-prominent outpost for startups, which is why the fear of gentrification is high within SoCal residents.


Gentrification is a common practice booming industries fuel endlessly.


Gentrification ensures that low-income families are greeted by a higher cost of living, leading to mass displacement. Successful technology firms that make up Silicon Beach have already started gentrifying popular cities along the Pacific.


In 2016, the city’s startups received around $3 billion in funding, around six times more than in 2012, according to CB Insights. This funding helps startups open work spaces that interfere with various city’s vibrancy.


With the median price for a single-family homes hitting $795,000, Westchester residents aren’t too happy. The surge of Silicon Beach has made the price of living in Westchester rise 25% within the past two years.


Companies like Google are rapidly buying large acres of land along the Los Angeles International Airport, ensuring themselves a future in Silicon Beach.


Laddie Williams, the main plaintiff for a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, explains how “existing building codes are meant to preserve the socioeconomic diversity and single-story character of the neighborhood,” but that is no longer the case.


Residents, who like Laddie Williams live along Venice Beach, further vocalize a similar concern for socioeconomic diversity.  


Unaffordable housing paired with the overall hindrance of newly established tech startups is a nightmare.


Nevertheless, young techies claim that Silicon Beach is amazing because it’ll boost the economy by decreasing the overall unemployment rate. Well young techies maybe it will for you…not everyone else. Most jobs tech startups make available require highly skilled workers with a degree in computational science.


Although Silicon Beach was a term coined to describe a vibrant, booming, technology-infused industry settling along LA, it paints a false reality.
Los Angeles is, in fact, experiencing its very own Cinderella story. Its venture capitalist fairy godmother just went bippity boopity boop, but once the clock strikes twelve and the fancy lights disappear, the world will see how gentrification lies within its cracked foundation.