Preserving a sense of place in LA's Little Tokyo
At the same time, the challenges to Little Tokyo are plainly visible, as some nearby architecture (particularly a building owned by the police department, and another housing the city’s department of transportation) clashes with the neighborhood’s historic character. Some mid-rise, upscale condo buildings have come in as well; these are architecturally appealing and appropriately scaled but raise the question of maintaining affordability in the district. The light rail station, whose function is a great asset to the neighborhood, contributes nothing to its aesthetics or character, and that’s putting it kindly. Several large surface parking lots in Little Tokyo are ripe for redevelopment, suggesting that there is both challenge and opportunity to strengthen the neighborhood’s historic and cultural identity.