Westwood, Los Angeles, California

Westwood, Los Angeles, California

Westwood is a district in western Los Angeles, California, United States. Westwood is best known as the home of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The eastern portions of the district are often thought of as a distinctly different neighborhood, Holmby Hills. Westwood was carved from the old Wolfskill Farm, a 3,000 acre (12 km²) tract that was purchased in 1919 by wealthy retailer Arthur Letts. Letts' son-in-law, Harold Janss, was vice president of Janss Investment Company, which developed the area and started advertising new homes in 1922.


Located in the northern central portion of Los Angeles' West Side, Westwood is bordered by Brentwood on the west, Bel-Air on the north, Century City and Beverly Hills on the east, West Los Angeles on the southwest, Rancho Park on the southeast, and Sawtelle on the south and southwest. The district's boundaries are generally considered to be Santa Monica Blvd. (or Olympic Blvd. and, by some, Pico Blvd.) on the southeast, the city limits of Beverly Hills on the northeast, and Sunset Boulevard on the north; its southwestern boundary is the San Diego Freeway between Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards, and Veteran Avenue between Wilshire and Sunset.


Westwood's major thoroughfares include Santa Monica, Sepulveda, Beverly Glen, Wilshire, Westwood, and Sunset Boulevards. The district is served by the San Diego Freeway (I-405). Numerous bus lines serve the area, and recently instituted bus rapid transit service runs along Wilshire.

The area's notorious traffic has led to calls for the extension of the Los Angeles Metro's Purple Line subway to Westwood from its current endpoint at Western Avenue in Koreatown.

The Metro and Caltrans have also begun a project to widen the San Diego Freeway between the interchanges with the Marina Freeway (SR 90) in Culver City and the Ventura Freeway (U.S. Route 101) in Sherman Oaks; the project, which will finally add a northbound carpool lane to the congested route, is not scheduled for completion until 2009 at the earliest.


A center of movie-going on the Westside and the site of many movie premieres, Westwood is home to several vintage movie theaters, including the Art Deco Crest, the Mann Village (once called the Fox Theatre featuring a landmark 170 foot white tower) and the Mann Bruin. Westwood is where the Playboy Mansion, and home of "Playboy" founder Hugh Hefner, is located.

Westwood is also home to the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, the last resting place of many of Hollywood's biggest stars. A museum named for and endowed by activist and philanthropist Armand Hammer, longtime head of Occidental Petroleum (which maintains its headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard), has become one of Los Angeles' trendiest cultural attractions since UCLA assumed its management in the 1990s. The Hammer, as it is commonly known, is particularly notable for its collection of Impressionist art and cutting-edge modern art exhibitions. The museum also houses the Billy Wilder Theater, run by the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Westwood Village

Built by the Janss family's Janss Corporation and wildly successful from its earliest stages, the Westwood Village shopping district successfully retained its cozy village atmosphere even as the San Diego Freeway came through the area in the 1950s and high-rise office towers went up around it in the following decades. However, much of this construction was planned around the never-built Beverly Hills Freeway; in combination with a perceived parking shortage at UCLA, high-density development in Westwood has created some of the worst traffic congestion in Los Angeles. Even with the opening of numerous municipal parking structures in the 1990s and 2000s, finding a parking spot in Westwood Village is still a notoriously difficult task. With the proximity of Westwood's towering business area to its shops that line the streets around UCLA, parking and traffic issues dominate local planning debates.

Recent history

Many local observers contend that Westwood Village's heyday was between the 1960s and the mid-1980s, when some of the streets were so crowded with pedestrians that they were closed to vehicular traffic. [cite news | last=Jacobs | first=Chip | title=Westwood Village decries bad rap, plans comeback | work=Los Angeles Business Journal | date=22 July 1991 | pages=6A] The murder of innocent bystander Karen Toshima, during a gun battle between rival gangs on January 30, 1988, gained nationwide notoriety [cite news | last=Carlson | first=Margaret B. | title=The price of life in Los Angeles; is one killing in Westwood worse than hundreds in the ghetto? | work=Time | date=22 February 1988 | pages=31] and led to the widespread impression that even affluent Westwood was not immune to the crime wave then ravaging Los Angeles. It would take more than a decade for this perception to fade. [cite news | last=Glionna | first=John M. | title=A murder that woke up L.A. | work=Los Angeles Times | date=30 January 1988 | pages=A1 ]

Today, while Westwood is again regarded as one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, its retail sector has been slow to recover in the face of increased competition from Century City, the newly revitalized Culver City, the very popular Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and mid-city attractions like Park La Brea's The Grove, as well as Downtown Los Angeles which itself is going through a renaissance. Recently, it has been notoriously difficult for new stores to stay in business.Fact|date=May 2008

LDS (Mormon) Temple

The Los Angeles California Temple, the second-largest temple operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is on Santa Monica Boulevard in Westwood. The temple grounds also includes a [http://www.lds.org/placestovisit/location/0,10634,1786-1-1-1,00.html Visitors' Center] open to the public and the headquarters for the Church's missionary efforts in Los Angeles. The church purchased the land for the temple from silent film star Harold Lloyd in 1937, but did not open the temple until 1956.

The temple grounds are also home to the Los Angeles Regional Family History Center ( [http://www.larfhc.org LARFHC] ), which is open to the public as well. It is the second-largest branch in the Family History Library system of the LDS Church, and contains more than 100,000 microfiche and 30,000 books.

Housing and demographics

Many of the area's permanent residents are of Asian (including Iranian) and European ancestry and generally affluent, living in high-rise apartment buildings and, in Holmby Hills, some of the most luxurious single-family houses in Los Angeles. An NPR report in 2006 put the Iranian population of nearby Beverly Hills at 20% of the total population. [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5459468]

Single-family homes tend to be east and southeast of UCLA, particularly in the areas behind the LDS temple. Housing in the portion of the district bounded by Sepulveda, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Wilshire Boulevards is mostly low- or medium-rise apartment buildings catering to upscale young professionals, as well as some UCLA students. Most UCLA students in Westwood, however, live in the hilly area of low-rise apartments between Veteran Avenue and the campus' western boundary.

Because of consistently high demand and the district's proximity to so many Westside attractions and businesses, rental housing in Westwood is very expensive relative to most areas of Los Angeles. For all but the wealthiest UCLA students, living off-campus in a Westwood apartment necessitates sharing a room. (Westwood North Village is the main region in which students dwell.) As a result, many UCLA students live convert|5|mi|km|0 south of campus in Culver City and the Los Angeles districts of Mar Vista and Palms, both in private housing and in large UCLA-owned apartment complexes. Significant numbers of UCLA students also live in the San Fernando Valley, but heavy traffic congestion through the Sepulveda Pass and Beverly Glen can wreak havoc on commutes between the Valley and Westwood.

Businesses owned or operated by the Iranian community are clustered along Westwood Blvd., earning it the sobriquet Little Persia.

2000 Census

As of the census of 2000, it is estimated that there were 47,844 people residing in the Westwood neighborhood. The ethnic or racial makeup was 62.53% non-Hispanic White, 2.10% Black, 0.15% Native American, 23.06% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 3.19% from other races, and 5.46% from two or more races. 7.13% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The median income for a household was $60,752, and for a family was $89,946. The per capita income was $47,428.

The Millionaire's Mile

The winding two-mile section of Wilshire Boulevard to the east of Westwood Village is dominated by residential high-rises, and is variously known as the Millionaire's Mile, the Golden Mile [cite news | last=King | first=Danny | title=Projects move forward on Westwood's Golden Mile | work=Los Angeles Business Journal | date=1 September 2003 | pages=3] or the Wilshire Corridor. Penthouse apartments in the corridor's high-rise condominiums can occasionally sell for amounts in excess of $20 million. Numerous celebrities maintain addresses on Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood.

Emergency services

Police service

Los Angeles Police Department operates the West Los Angeles Community Police Station at 1663 Butler Avenue, 90025, serving the neighborhood [http://www.lapdonline.org/west_la_community_police_station] . Fire and Emergency Medical Services are provided by the Los Angeles Fire Department. UCLA also maintains an Basic Life Support Emergency Ambulance service for the university campus, and is backed up by LAFD.


The neighborhood is zoned to Los Angeles USD schools.Elementary schools serving separate areas in Westwood include:
* [http://www.fairburnschool.org Fairburn Avenue Elementary School]
* [http://www.westwoodcharter.org/ Westwood Charter Elementary School]
* [http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Warner_EL/ Warner Avenue Elementary School]

All residents are zoned to Emerson Middle School (some residents have joint zoning to Emerson and Webster Middle School) and University High School.

Los Angeles Public Library operates the Westwood Branch. The Westwood Branch Library on Glendon Avenue was recently built (several years ago) on the site of an abandoned parking lot.


ee also

*Beverly Hills
*Westwood Village

External links

* [http://www.WestwoodVillageOnline.com A directory of businesses in Westwood Village]
* [http://oldsads.org/postcards.htm?tid=69&
] - Old Postcards
* [http://www.birdsofwestwood.com/ Birds of Westwood] - A guide to birds found on and near the UCLA campus
* [http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/news/communities/2004/la-re-guide14nov14,0,4993480.story?coll=la-realestate-communities-2004 "Los Angeles Times", Real Estate section, Neighborly Advice column: " [Wilshire Corridor:] "Mini-Manhattan, just west of Los Angeles" (14 Nov 2004)]
* [http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/news/communities/2003/la-re-guide7sep07,0,247339.story?coll=la-realestate-communities-2003 "Los Angeles Times", Real Estate section, Neighborly Advice column: " [Westwood:] That Westside college town" (7 Sept 2003)]

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