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Arts & Culture

California And The American Dream: The Price Of Renewal

Adult students from a variety of cultural and ethinic backgrounds attend classes at a new facility of San Diego Community College in City Heights.
Beyond the Dream LLC/ ITVS
Adult students from a variety of cultural and ethinic backgrounds attend classes at a new facility of San Diego Community College in City Heights.

Airs Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

This four-part series, narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Linda Hunt, explores the dynamics of culture, community and identity in one of the world's most diverse regions. In the last 35 years, California, a state with the world's sixth-largest economy, has seen dramatic changes in social, demographic and cultural trends. This series tells the story of the "real" California. Each episode offers an in-depth look at current issues and developments, from changing demographics to new models of civic engagement; from the role of immigrants in neighborhood life to the democratic challenge of the initiative process; and from sustainable agriculture to Native-American gaming and sovereignty.

This episode examines issues of diversity, development and civic engagement as a single community struggles to rebuild a tattered and declining neighborhood. The story follows the long-term redevelopment of an older, deteriorating neighborhood called City Heights, often referred to as the Ellis Island of San Diego. The community has a rich mix of cultural values and people, including immigrants from Mexico and Latin America and refugees from Southeast Asia and East Africa.

Redevelopment plans have placed the community in an unlikely partnership with businessman and philanthropist Sol Price, the founder of the Price Club, who is widely recognized as the father of the discount warehouse industry, and William Jones, an African-American real estate developer who was the youngest person ever elected to the San Diego City Council.

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"The Price of Renewal" explores what is gained and what is lost as a community develops and improves itself through a partnership with public and private entities. What are the challenges of crafting a vibrant urban village from an ethnically, culturally and economically diverse population?

Video Excerpt: California And The American Dream

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