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Old Posted Jul 5, 2010, 8:02 PM
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sopas ej sopas ej is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South Pasadena, California
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I'm finally starting to read that book by John Buntin, "L.A. Noir." But I'm also reading a very interesting book by Jeremiah Axelrod called "Inventing Autopia." That's my problem, often I don't just read one book at a time, but several at a time. But anyway, it's a fascinating book, it basically chronicles LA's development during the 1920s Jazz Age, when LA's population really exploded and people really took to driving, and the city itself started decentralizing away from downtown. It also explores the psycho-social aspects of Angelenos that started developing around this time, like how Angelenos don't really get too involved with their neighbors ("neighborliness" is considered minding your own business and staying out of your neighbors' business) but can make and stay connected with friends who live several miles away in another part of the metropolis (yes, being able to drive cars anywhere in LA contributed to this), how Angelenos saw their city vs. how city leaders envisioned Los Angeles at the time...

What I found interesting is that basically by the 1920s, LA's traffic patterns were already on their way of being established how they are today, namely that there really is no discernible traffic pattern, that it seems that people seem to drive anywhere and everywhere. It was in the 1920s that random business and commercial districts started popping up, seemingly overnight, in areas that never had business districts before (much to the dismay of downtown businesspeople). And these weren't just local, neighborhood businesses that were popping up, but many of these became regional centers in the sense that people from all over LA would randomly drive to these newer business districts in random areas; the book referred to them as "shoestring business districts." Western Avenue is one example, but of course many other major thoroughfares in LA developed these random commercial areas.

Western and Melrose looking east, 1928

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Western Avenue looking north from Beverly (?), 1924

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Wilshire looking east from Western Avenue, 1930s

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Western Avenue looking north from 9th St., 1937

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"I guess the only time people think about injustice is when it happens to them."

~ Charles Bukowski
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