National Geographic : 1979 Jan
pale and smooth-the hands of a contessa and the long, slender fingers tapered off to flawlessly polished nails. Those hands graced that haggard body as the eyelashes of a giraffe grace that silly face. "You have beautiful hands," I told her, hoping she would reveal herself to be the daughter of a pretender to the throne of some abolished monarchy in Eastern Europe. "Yeah, well you see, honey, I don't do a lot of dishwashing." Series of City Centers Envisioned Downtown redevelopment is pushing in on skid row, and eventually the ten thou sand may be forced out. There are ambitious plans to further transform downtown into a city core of strength and vibrancy. Los An geles, however, is so vast-at some points 48 miles across-that adjustments have to be made for the many tens of thousands of resi dents who rarely venture beyond their sub urban communities. To them, downtown consists of the closest shopping center. "We hope to create 28 living and working centers in the city, all connected by a rapid transit system," said Calvin Hamilton, di rector of the Department of City Planning. "With these miniature central areas the peo ple can still have the Los Angeles life-style. But this will also reduce the necessity for cars, and that will reduce pollution." Hamilton explained that the units will offer a variety of housing patterns, such as town houses, three-story walk-ups, and high-rise apartment buildings. Essential to the plans is the preservation of "open space," or parks, in the city. And Los Ange les is a city of parks, one of which alone Griffith-covers 4,064 acres. No other city owned park is as large. "The citizens want to protect the life-style they came out here to enjoy," Hamilton said. "They want space, a choice in housing. Priming the pride of the city's largest ethnic group, a 90-foot mural depicting North American Hispanic culture graces the side of a Lincoln Heights bank. The last panel (left) presents scenes from Mexican life in the U.S. If present trends continue, the majority of Angelenos will bear Spanish surnames by century's end.