Why a name matters: South Central Los Angeles

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What makes a place unque? Is it its location, its culture, its name, or a combination of all of the above?

For many in the area around the USC campus, it is solely the name.

South Central, which is the region south of Downtown Los Angeles, wet of Huntington Park, North of the South Bay cities and east of Culver City, has garnered a negative reputation over the years due to an abundance of crime, poverty, and urban blight. The area was the flashpoint for the 1992 Watts riots. In 2003, the city of Los Angeles elected to change the region's name to South Los Angeles in an efort to undo stigmas surrounding the area.

While the region has improved dramatically in the pat 11 years, many are unaware of these changes and wonder if South Los Angeles is capable of change.

"You can change the name, but the parents and kids coming to the area will still see it...a name can't change a community entirely," said Lauren Salas-Mationg, a senior at USC.

Jesse R. Williams, a local that worked for the City of Los Angeles, understands the need for change but doesn't necessarily agree with it.

"I get why they felt the name change was necessary...but at the same time South Central is what this area has always been called. To me, that takes away from its history, both good and bad," said Williams.

Daina Beth Solomon, editor of USC Annenberg's Intersections website, is in the midst of curating responses to the name debate. he hopes to uncover more about the pulse of South Los Angeles.

"We hope that by understanding peoples' preferences for names...we can learn about what they really care about in their neighborhood," she said.

For more information, check out the Intersections project here.