What would you change about your neighborhood?

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LA is a funny place. The East Side can seem like a different world than the West, and can take half a lifetime to get to during rush hour. Living in the nation’s most populous county, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the millions of other Angelenos as we pass each other on the freeway or in the grocery store. You might think you have nothing in common with someone on the other side of town, or within your own apartment complex.

We wanted to find out how locals think about the place they call home, so we asked.

During the LA Times’ Festival of Books, KCRW & 826LA joined together to find out what festival attendees appreciate about their neighborhoods, and what they’d like to improve.

We taped postcards to the walls of our booth to build a giant physical story. cross zip codes, residents shared many of the same values and concerns.

We received over 200 responses, and together, they told a cohesive story of neighborhoods all across the Southland, and some from even further away. Not surprisingly, from Long Beach to Van Nuys, everyone’s worried about housing prices, and in the same vein, the growing homelessness crisis. But on a brighter note, there was an overwhelming sense of community - residents take pride in their local culture and appreciate those who live around them.

From Downtown Los Angeles to Ventura County, and from San Francisco to Arkansas, our postcard story told a universal tale about the relationship of people and place.

Here are some highlights grouped by topic.


A large portion of the responses dealt directly with rent prices, here’s just a few.


Many respondents were concerned with homelessness in their region, and some had specific ideas to address the problem. Access to local venues and infrastructure was a common area of approval.


Not surprisingly, festival of books attendees were interested in literature and education, as well as local cultural offerings.


Lots of people had the environment on their mind, and offered suggestions for green-ifying their city. These cards also provided a good example of how many people appreciate their neighbors.


Some eat to live, some live to eat… Festival of Bookers seemed to be more of the latter!


A consequence of housing prices, many are worried about displacement and gentrification. But this section again highlights how strong feelings of community loyalty are in greater LA.


Whether they were travelling or just decided to rep their home away from home, the festival goers included a broad out of town presence.


We had plenty of youngsters offer responses, but we found this one to be particularly entertaining.

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