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Hypercities, Historic Filipinotown, and Hi-Fi Mobile Tours

Historic Filinipinotown? Where is that? It is an all too common question about Los Angeles Historic Filipinotown.

What's Filipino or historic about it? How does it fit into The Big Picture story of Los Angeles?

In many ways, Hi Fi epitomizes L. A.: a diverse population, a significant percentage of low-income and recent immigrants, and a history that has been erased or is hard to find. How then do you experience the history of a place with few visible cultural markers? How do you access the hundreds of stories permeating non-descript buildings, now-empty lots, and commercial strip malls that, taken collectively, result in that Historic Filipinotown sign by the 101 Freeway? How do you dig up the past, peel back the layers of a neighborhoods evolution over time and make it meaningful to a contemporary audience?

Hypercities and Historic Filipinotown

Thats where PDUBs Mobile Hi Fi Tours come in: historical excavation through time travel, experienced through the perspectives of immigrants from different time periods. Using GPS-enabled Nokia tablets, users can access audio, photos and maps that comprise these Immigrants Guides while walking around the neighborhood.

Hypercities and Historic Filipinotown

The Immigrant Guides are the result of a collective effort. The process of creating them waparticipatory, multi-generational, and cross-disciplinary. Contents were generated through workshops, research, and interviews with community members, university classes and the direct input of community members. In fact, the Guides have galvanized support among Hi Fi community members because the project enabled them to contribute content, shape its conceptual framework and its public presentation.

They were eager to speak with local youth, share photos, record their stories and volunteer. And they recognized PDUBs Mobile Hi Fi Tours as a much-needed repository of the stories and value people have placed in the neighborhood, that they effectively allow a community to tell its own story, with all the weight and meaning that only its members can bring.

PDUBs Mobile Hi Fi Tours aim to promote and benefit Historic Filipinotown as a neighborhood, to increase its public visibility, to drive interest, investment, and foot traffic into the area, and to enable it to more effectively advocate on its own behalf.

If you're in the LA area, you can sign up for a Mobile Hi Fi experience on September 26th, 2009. Click here to make a tour reservation.


1 comment


This really is amazing work.  I hope you might think about contributing to the Democratizing Knowledge in the Digital Humanities Forum currently hosted by the HASTAC Scholars.  Hypercities is exemplary!   Wonderful images and video.