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The Los Angeles Times today debuted “Mapping L.A.,” an online effort to map 87 distinctive neighborhoods in the sprawling Southland. For the paper, the designation of neighborhoods goes beyond civic duties. Not only does it intend to base news stories around them, but also hyperlocal marketing, advertising and blogging effortsl.

The initial cut of Mapping L.A.’s neighborhoods was based on census tracts but has been adjusted for the “geographical, historic and socioeconomic associations that define communities,” per release. One of the mapping site’s features is that it can be edited by readers on a WIKI basis — something many Angelenos will probably do as they assess the real estate impact of having their house listed in “Franklin Hills” or “Los Feliz”; and “Beverly Hills” or “Century City.”

“Dorothy Parker famously said Los Angeles was ’72 suburbs in search of a city,’ so it’s not surprising that residents take their neighborhood names so seriously,” notes reporter Bob Pool in an article about the new mapping feature in today’s Times. “Those designations are part tradition and history but also part economic and political.”

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