Through Tuesday, teams of USC reporters will present their competing proposals for which single square mile of Culver City should become the focus of a series of videos and stories in the coming months.
On Wednesday, Patch readers can vote for their favorite square mile.
Check back later Monday and Tuesday for the rest of the square mile proposals, and be sure to vote for your favorite Wednesday.
We'll post the results late that same day. All voters will receive an invitation to the One Square Mile launch reception in Culver City this fall.
Imagine a series of streams that converge to develop increasingly larger tributaries. All of them eventually join to create a main waterway.
Our one square mile, sitting just northeast of the 405 freeway, works in much the same way.
The proposed square is anchored by the freeway and Tito's Tacos on the south. The 51-year-old taco institution attracts people from all walks of life and from all over the Southern California region. Most locals and visitors agree the restaurant boasts a tasty, basic approach. It is a longtime family favorite for some devoted diners, and a quick late-night bite for others.
Workers take orders for the tacos at all hours and fill them with neon-orange cheese and shredded beef. Tito's has become a culinary landmark of Culver City.
Culver City High School lies in the northeast corner of the square mile, and Washington Boulevard runs down the middle like a river. Many businesses and civic structures have settled along these "waterways," and residential streets stream out on both sides of Washington and Culver boulevards.
The King Fahad mosque and several halal markets in the area serve a large Muslim population; there are about 5,000 Muslims in the area. The architecture of the mosque located on Washington Boulevard is impressive.
The blue and white structure stands out on the street for its domes, chandeliers and stained glass windows. Signs on the outside point toward a separate entrance for women. The structure, while serene inside, is a point of tension in the community outside. Some believe the neighborhood accepts the mosque, but others say it's controversial.
A variety of businesses line Washington Boulevard. There are two antique gun and war relic shops. Martin B Retting Inc. is one of the few remaining stores on the west side of Los Angeles that sells modern firearms.
Across the street sits Collectors Armoury. The walls of this 36-year-old store are stocked with antique guns, swords and armor. The owner brings his two dogs to work every day. Parking and traffic are also issues in the neighborhood.
Just two doors down, a thrift store run by a recovery and job counseling nonprofit opens up every weekday with a line of mothers and children waiting by the door. Each holds a ticket and a white trash bag; the ticket represents the person's number in line, and the trash bag is used to gather as many inexpensive items inside the store as possible.
Scattered around the square mile are also a retirement home, a storefront Orthodox Church, a community park, a bar that opens at 6 a.m., a record label company and new development including the NFL Network and NFL.com buildings.
A chocolate factory, a fire station and an architecture firm also sit within the square mile. The Culver City Elks, a community and social organization, has a lodge along Washington Boulevard. A small group of Elks' women started the organization in 1917 to wrap bandages during World War I. They assisted others and also enjoyed the social aspect of the group.
This square mile is a worthy candidate because it represents a rich mix of the old and new--and a range of social and civic infrastructure. Long-standing businesses are balanced by new ones along Washington Boulevard. Schools opening just this week are contained in the square. Churches and houses from different eras dot the map.