Known as Westlake Park for its first 60 years, MacArthur Park is considered one of Los Angeles's original parks. Throughout its history, it has endured countless challenges as the neighborhood and city that surround it grew to become the current metropolis. Born out of progressive vision and drought, MacArthur Park, due to its elegant design and cultural programming, has been referred as a "civic jewel" and the West Coast version of Central Park. Like many urban parks, it has also been burdened with a negative image due to its many decades of neglect, crime, and municipal disinvestment. Today, MacArthur Park has survived as a critical green and cultural space for one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the country. More importantly, MacArthur Park has served as an authentic democratic space for local stakeholders and visitors to gather, play, and protest.