Situated at a central point of Los Angeles, MacArthur park is a mostly neglected landscape that many people in the city nevertheless rely on. To my knowledge, since as far back as the 1980s, its lengthy green pastures and the enclosed concrete within have set the stage for generations of Centro-Americanos to hang out and assess life in L.A.
Over ten years ago, it was also a major site for L.A.’s biggest mass mobilization ever, when the 2006 Marches in support of undocumented immigrants made their way through its green space. I took part in those demonstrations, and in doing so, discovered a piece of myself within el pueblo that I carry with me to this day.
Today the park is home to many of L.A.’s ‘homeless’ population, and while its pastures still glisten with life, its restrooms–like much of the ground surrounding them–are in need of deep washing; the park would also benefit greatly from more areas devoted to the surrounding neighborhood like recreation centers, spaces for the elderly, and playgrounds for youth.
Walking through MacArthur’s vast and fragmented terrains, one might almost forget that it’s smack-dab in the middle of a city yearning to be known for its innovation. It’s then that one realizes that it’s actually past time to apply some innovative solutions to rein in the park’s neglect. But make no mistake about it: the descendants of those Centro-Americanos–including those activists and protesters–still have the park in sight and are not short on ideas about its future. Stay tuned.