Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes

Reader 2

Char Miller

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© 2018 Bailey Lai


This thesis attempts to disentangle the multilayered interactions between Greater Los Angeles’s history, its built environment, and its inequitable treatment of different peoples, focusing on how transportation in surrounding suburban communities like San Gabriel Valley has developed in relation to the inner city of Los Angeles. Greater Los Angeles contains a long, winding trajectory of transit-based environmental injustices, from the indigenous societies being overtaken by the Spanish missions, to the railroads and streetcars boosting the farmlands and urban growth of Los Angeles, leading into the decline of transit and rise of automobile-oriented suburbia. Within the San Gabriel Valley, the suburban community of El Monte has a varied history in its racialized spatiality and transportation development, rising from a former agricultural hub and to its more recent growth as a vibrant working-class suburb full of minorities. Based on a case study of El Monte’s past and present built environment, this thesis looks at the present situation of El Monte’s downtown district, including a walkthrough of its ongoing downtown revitalization project centered on transit-oriented development around the newly renovated regional bus station. This thesis finds the city of El Monte and Greater Los Angeles’s transit agencies have approached the renewed economic and public interest in transit in disconnected ways, leading to mixed results for its working-class minority populace, but also finds avenues in which the government and the public can cooperatively create more equitable transit-based communities for the future.