Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2005

Abstract

In this article, I document the present. I make a record, with photographs, interviews, maps, and observations of L.A.'s Skid Row as it is today. Drawing on the tradition and methods of critical socio-legal studies, I also explore the constitutive dimensions of deviance. I investigate the possible attraction that disorderliness and criminality may have to today's urban pioneers. I explore the idea that deviance and disorder may become, in some corners, a consumable good to urban dwellers. And I do this by drawing on numerous hours of personal observation on the streets of L.A.'s Skid Row, on interviews of service providers, homeless persons, city officials, homeless advocates, real estate developers, and others connected to the situation on L.A.'s Skid Row, on media accounts, and on published data about crime and real estate in the area.

I explore what it is like to be on Skid Row – on the streets and in the lofts – to advocate for the homeless, as well as to redevelop the neighborhood. I listen carefully and reproduce here the voices of the chief protagonists in the real estate battles. I try to see Skid Row through their eyes, hearts, and minds, and to let them speak directly to you, the reader. I present them, warts and all. I also pore over crime, public health, urban planning, and real estate statistics. And I draw as well on a rich set of materials, documents, and reports produced in litigation over the private policing of Skid Row, including numerous depositions of police officers, private security guards, service providers, local merchants and property owners, experts, and other persons associated with L.A.'s Skid Row.

Disciplines

Constitutional Law | Law | Law and Society | Law Enforcement and Corrections | Property Law and Real Estate

Center/Program

Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought

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