In 1997, the Urban Simulation Team @ UCLA was contracted by Mayor Richard Riordan's Office of Economic Development to build a model of the Hollywood Entertainment District, an 18-block stretch of Hollywood Boulevard from LaBrea on the west to Gower on the East. The team added major sections of Vine Street and the area surrounding the Hollywood and Vine subway station in subsequent phases of the project.

Because of Hollywood's central role in Los Angeles, there are a number of civic and neighborhood entities that are stakeholders in its revitalization, including the Community Redevelopment Agency's Hollywood Redevelopment Project, the Hollywood Entertainment District Property Owners Association, the office of Councilmember Jackie Goldberg, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The model was intended as an inter-agency communication tool to help guide the redevelopment of this area of the city.

The model has been used to evaluate a number of projects including an analysis of different street tree strategies for Hollywood Boulevard. Alternatives depicted the existing ficus trees, jacaranda, various types of palms, and crape myrtles. The decision, which is highly controversial, has yet to be made. A potential redevelopment of the Galaxy Theatre complex was also modeled for review by the various stakeholders involved in the project.

The new Hollywood and Vine MTA station was recently added to the model. Symbols of Hollywood adorn the street level of this station -- bus shelter designs make reference to the Chinese Theater, a limousine and the Brown Derby restaurant. The station entrance resembles a movie theater, with its marquee greeting visitors above the street. Ultimately, the team plans to model the entire Red Line, which starts at Union Station in downtown and continues along the Wilshire corridor before turning up Vermont towards the Hollywood extension stations.

Every storefront in the project area is linked to its own unique web site, allowing the model to act as a three-dimensional database to information about the businesses in the area. When possible, the links are to web sites maintained by the store owners. This kind of connection between the simulation and merchandising activity in the real world creates interesting possibilities for web-based on-line shopping in geographically distinct areas of the city.

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