The Village at USC: The Largest Private Investment in the History of South Los Angeles

About 30 community leaders gathered last Thursday evening at Exposition Park to see USC’s Master Plan for The Village at USC (District 3), which promises new jobs, more housing, and new services for students and the community.


District 3 currently encompasses the University Village along Jefferson and Hoover, and the Cardinal Gardens and Century student housing. Kristina Raspe, USC-Vice President for Real Estate and Asset Management, presented the floor plans for the Village and discussed how the new development would impact the community.

The new Village, which is set to start construction in May 2013, will take 6 to 10 years to complete. It requires three million square feet of redevelopment and will be completely funded by the university. Developers estimate that once completed the University at USC will bring in $1.7 million in revenue to the City of Los Angeles.


According to Raspe, USC’s focus is to make the Village as permeable as possible to not only students, but to locals as well. The Village will include a hotel and conference center, a large town square, lots of green space, and wide walkways for easy accessibility. The university plans to use these areas for entertainment, farmers markets, and many other community events.

The ground floor of the Village will include retail, grocery stores, restaurants, and other services. “The restaurants won’t be high-end restaurants, but sit-down restaurants like Chili’s and California Pizza Kitchen,” said Raspe.

In addition to budget friendly restaurants, the university wants to bring in retailers, like H&M and Trader Joe’s, that “have not naturally come to this neighborhood,” said Raspe.


“The big bang is 12,000 new jobs,” said Raspe. “We are really proud of the number of jobs we are able to create.” Raspe estimates that the project will help create 8,000 construction related jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs. The USC Local Hiring Initiative will ensure that about 30% of those jobs will go to the residents of South Los Angeles.

The upper floors of the Village will be dedicated to student housing. Currently, USC students live in the neighborhoods surrounding USC, which has displaced many of the locals out of the area. USC plans to provide housing for nearly 5,200 students and 250 faculty/student family apartments. The new housing will return more than 900 housing units that were previously occupied by students to the community.

Overall, the project’s goal is to partner with the surrounding neighborhoods to create a safe and vibrant place for the entire community. “We want to strengthen those roots with South LA,” said David Galaviz, Executive Director for USC Local Government Relations. “We are definitely open to suggestions.”



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Planned Parenthood urges people in South LA to use free clinics

imageCommunity health clinics have been invaluable to people who are finding themselves unemployed and without health insurance. Planned Parenthood has been providing healthcare services 1916. Today, Planned Parenthood provides affordable access to reproductive health care and sexual health education to more than 125,000 people in Los Angeles County.

According to the most recent STD Morbidity Report for Los Angeles County, South Los Angeles has the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the county. Approximately a quarter of all chlamydia and gonorrhea infections in LA County were diagnosed in South Los Angeles.

“That is a really disturbing statistic,” said Serena Josel, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA). Black and Latina women aged 15-24 are the most affected. Josel says that public health data shows that often women of color don’t have adequate insurance, making healthcare a real issue. Those living from paycheck to paycheck “might not realize the expense of going to the doctor for an annual exam is an important expense,” said Josel.

Reproductive health does not always need to be an expense, either. Planned Parenthood and other health centers provide free services. The Los Angeles County STD Program provides free gonorrhea and chlamydia at-home testing kits for women. Patients can order the test kits online, mail them back to the clinic, and receive their results with in a week. The STD program hopes this will help diagnose those who may be too embarrassed to come into a clinic in-person. Chlamydia and gonorrhea, which accounts for more than 95% of the STDs in LA County, are treatable diseases. If left untreated, they “can lead to much more serious health complications–including infertility,” said Josel.

Planned Parenthood also provides preventive education at local schools and community centers. Josel says their education department helps educate over 75,000 teens and their families each year.

“We aren’t just focused on teens, but we also work with parents to make sure they have the tools to start those difficult conversations with their children,” she said.
Josel hopes that grassroots outreach and simple word-of-mouth will also help inform people.

“I think its really important for people to talk about their experience with Planned Parenthood and with health care overall,” said Josel. “We have a long way to go in reducing the shame and stigma that’s attached to basically just taking care of yourself.”

To find out more about the free at-home STD Kit and how to get one, click here.

Planned Parenthood Centers in South Los Angeles:

3637 S. La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90016
400 W. 30th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
8520 So. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90003

To request an appointment at any Planned Parenthood Los Angeles health center please visit or call 1-800-576-5544.