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Boys Town, Chicago; the Castro, San Francisco; Greenwich Village, New York; Hillcrest, San Diego. How did these communities become Shangri-Las for the Fa La Las, in other words, GLBT? I would like to start my own community somewhere and need to know how to attract this type of demographic.

-- Provvide75, the net

With so many others to choose from, we'd love to know how your Shangri-La will be new and improved. Because you get to be mayor? Anyway, I'm not one to stomp on a dream, so let's see what we can do. An article in the Spring 2000 issue of the Journal of San Diego History details the of the making of gay Hillcrest during the '60s and '70s. Social forces and the economy have changed, but this might give you some pointers.

Look for a neighborhood that has been in decline for a while. Make sure there are small, affordable houses and rental units ripe as fixer-uppers for singles and couples. The old Hillcrest had hit the skids post-WWII and when Mission Valley was developed. Then check the area's demographics. Lots of nonthreatening older people? They make the best neighbors for this kind of transition. Now find convenient social centers. When Hillcrest was coming up, it was bars. Do they already exist? Can you start your own? Hillcrest had the added advantage of being near Balboa Park, a long-established cruising area. If you can set up your GLBTville as a popular social center, you're sure to prosper. Then just move in and let all your friends know about it. Pretty soon the place will be so trendy, even you won't be able to afford the prices.

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