How Wooden Fences Became A Symbol Of Gentrification Across Los Angeles

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“It’s not clear where or when this wooden slat revival started exactly, but it was roughly a decade or so ago and has been creeping through Los Angeles like kudzu ever since. In decades to come, it’ll be a signifier for the exhaustive pace at which the city has changed in the past 5 to 10 years—for better or worse. And even though it can be spotted throughout the greater L.A. area or other markets entirely, architectural designer Marc Cucco finds the slat to be ‘specific to Eastside L.A. There’s a variation in other ‘hot’ markets, like Austin or Denver. But the speed at which prices surged in northeast Los Angeles, as compared to the rest of the country, means that the aesthetic look is the result of a ‘process’ designed to provide quick curb appeal to properties which have been thinly, and cosmetically, updated.’

Over the past decade we have a dominant theme in American cities: neck-snapping rates of (depending on your ideological slant) development/gentrification/transition as many parts of our cities have become desirable again. In so many ways, L.A. looks very different than it did a decade ago, and the wooden slat fence—a.k.a. the hipster fence or the flipper fence—will be the defining architectural symbol of an L.A. and the desire to own one in this period….To be fair to the slats, it’s not just fences. There’s a whole flipper design element starter set: a fresh gray paint job, san serif minimalist address numbers, or a Nightmare on Elm Street blood-red door. You can pick and choose or get the combo. Either way, if you see any of these telltale symbols, odds are the house has recently changed hands or will be soon. And there’s a high chance that if you go inside, you’ll see subway tile, exposed bulb fixtures, or a farmhouse sink in the kitchen. And in the backyard, there’s at pretty good chance you’ll find a gas fire pit.

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