Street Level: Los Angeles in the Twenty-First Century by Rob Sullivan

By Rob Sullivan

Within the latter a part of the C20th, a chain of seminal books have been written which tested la via the likes of Reyner Banham, Mike Davis, Edward Soja, Allen Scott, Michael pricey, Frederick Jameson, Umberto Eco, Bernard-Henri Levy, and Jean Baudrillard which were highly influential in pondering towns extra commonly. The debates that have been generated by way of those works have tended to be very heated and both shielding or offensive in technique. A enough period of time has considering that handed extra measured method of comparing this paintings can now be taken. the 1st component of this e-book, 'Contra This and Contra That', presents this type of critique of many of the theories utilized to la over the last century, balancing the confident with the unfavorable. the second one a part of the booklet is an research of L.A. because it exists at the floor at the present time. whereas political, the theoretical stance taken during this research isn't really fastened as a platform from which to suggest a specific ideology. as a substitute, it encompasses cultural in addition to financial matters to place forth a view of L.A. that is coherent and cogent whereas while contemplating its multi-layed, advanced and ever-changing characteristics. It concludes through arguing that sectored off and 'totalizing' visions of the town won't do as tools of city research and that just a conception as cellular as its aim will do: one who replicates the polymer nature of this position. It proposes that, extending that thought to the realm past this actual urban, just a conception that types itself at the cellular and polymer nature of the realm, whereas nonetheless keeping a feeling of the particular and the true, will do as an device with which to realize the realm. In doing so, this ebook isn't just a version in which to imagine via la, yet as a version during which to imagine via different global towns.

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Extra info for Street Level: Los Angeles in the Twenty-First Century

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Had become “a world metropolis of over four million” (Banham 1971: 35); by 1970 the population had grown to some five million and smog alerts had become as common as orange groves. The legacy of the open shop—initially hammered into place during the first quarter of the twentieth century by Harrison Gray Otis and his incestuously interrelated propaganda vehicles, the Los Angeles Times and the “Otis-organized” Merchants and Manufacturers Association (Davis 1996: 113), though countered by unionization in the movie studios during the 1930s and 40s as well as the steel and the automobile factories 24 “Oil production in the county rose from 38,000,000 in 1922 to 176,000,000 barrels in 1929” (Federal Writers Project 2011 [1939]: 57).

The impact of the Mediterranean style can still be traced up and down the coast of Southern California as faux villas perched on bluffs overlook the wide Pacific, the most famous of which is probably the Getty “Roman” Villa in Pacific Palisades. Many were designed by Frank Meline, “a former department store window dresser from Illinois” (Starr 1990: 71): Meline brought into being a Southern California Riviera running south from Malibu along the Santa Monica Mountains, a succession of architecturally distinctive villas, lavishly landscaped (the gardens of Meline’s own Brentwood Heights home were used as a locale for an early film version of The Count of Monte Cristo) and reinforcing in their cumulative effect, their cypress and ilex and lawns, their tiles roofs, creamy walls, and Mediterranean designs, the Côte d’Azur/Costa Brava metaphor that so enlivened coastal development in Southern California, from Montecito and Santa Barbara south to San Clemente throughout the 1920s.

Finally, if they had bothered to visit Central Avenue during their bitter sojourn in Southern California, they would have had the opportunity to witness one of the liveliest multi-racial club scenes in the history of the United States, if not the world, a scene shut down during the 1950s by the LAPD in a demonstration of “concern” about the perilous ramifications of such interracial cultural gatherings. A. boosteristic entities, and that is its cultural centrality. Besides the continuing allure of the motion picture business, which we have previously noted, Los Angeles as capital of the recording industry and matrix of surf, hotrod, and gangsta culture has also served to focus much attention (albeit not always positive) on the city.

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