It’s the cruel paradox at the center of Los Angeles housing. L.A. is known worldwide as the capital of single-family-home sprawl. Yet for three decades, it has had the most overcrowded housing among large counties in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fatal consequences, with death rates in L.A.’s most overcrowded neighborhoods at least twice as high as in those with ample housing.
It didn’t have to be this way.
The crowded conditions have been a century in the making, with local leaders designing Los Angeles in a way that made these circumstances inevitable.
This Times series reveals how it happened.