Essay: Social Geography of the Los Angeles Region

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Social Geography of the Los Angeles Region

There are a variety of different reasons that different social groups may group themselves together geographically. In the greater Los Angeles region there are significant divisions to be found that are drawn on economic status, culture, and ethnicity. Some of these individuals are attracted to the cultural norms that one group offers while others are divided by their financial means or by proximity to their employment; some groups are formed by their perceptions of different areas and their inherent qualities. This analysis will look at different factors that have contributed to the current geographical development of social groups in the region.

Los Angeles Overview

The growth of Los Angeles into one of the world's largest cities has primarily been due to the thriving economy in the region. Los Angeles is widely known as a global city and one of the command-and-control centers for the global economy (Maher, 2004, p. 781). The greater Los Angeles consists of its urban core that is often perceived as being a haven for crime and drug use while the suburban areas are characterized different defining factors. Some of the suburban settings are defined by various immigrant groups or socio-economic status. For example, Orange County in particular has become known as one of the main "technopoles" where a high-tech industrial employee base resides and has created a cosmopolitan space (Maher, 2004, p. 781).

Some other areas can be described along the lines of traditional assimilation theories in which different ethnically distinct new immigration hubs will emerge as these groups assimilate to the domestic culture (Zhou, Tseng, & Kim, 2008, p. 55). These are thought to be a place in which immigrants can slowly adjust to the dominant culture and subsequent generations can be fully integrated. Although this was once a popular model for these ethnic regions, the mobility model in which the assimilation process was thought to occur and new patterns have emerged. One of these developments has been clusters of what is referred to as "ethnoburbs" which attract people to assimilate based on broader cultural similarities while there are many divisions on origin. For example, Chinese immigrants have congregated along levels of education, occupation, and incomes as well as more expansive social networks that branch out to tap financial resources overseas (Zhou, Tseng, & Kim, 2008, p. 56).

Development Mechanisms

One of the primary mechanisms that constitute different segregations in populations is undoubtedly immigration. When new immigrants arrive without adequate funds or without adequate support services they often seek those who can relate to them culturally as well as find support. Sometimes language barriers persists that make this trend even more pronounced. Other cultural factors such as traditional diets may also contribute to the congregation around certain cultural resources such as businesses that provide ethnic cuisines. However, probably one of the most significant driving factors will be the economic opportunities that they seek which will often create dividing lines through geographic proximity to these opportunities.

While this is commonly thought of in terms of economic refugees that have migrated to seek better lives, new waves of immigrants have been more affluent in regards to their economic status. Contemporary immigrants from Asia, for example, include low-skilled urban workers, uneducated peasants, and penniless refugees as most people think; however now different demographics of immigrants also include highly skilled professionals such as engineers, scientists, physicians, entrepreneurs, and investors (Zhou, Tseng, & Kim, 2008, p. 57). These create new opportunities to understand the population migrations given the fact that these groups are not limited by their financial resources.

Another trend that provides a mechanism that does not fit nicely into the classical model is the concept of white flight. In Los Angeles, for… [END OF PREVIEW]

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