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Old January 17th, 2013, 02:04 PM   #21
PragmaticIdealist
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Whose side are you on, Klam?

The lack of housing affordability in a first-ring suburb is part of the problem. Jobs-housing imbalances are central to this phenomenon of socioeconomic segregation as a result of transportation and land-use policy.

Moreover, this policy was, indeed, policy that was enacted by governments at the behest of industries and other interests that benefited from automobile dependency and decentralization. More importantly, America existed long before the automobile arrived, and, without it, the country survived quite nicely. In fact, all of our favorite places are the ones built before suburban sprawl congealed across the landscape like a blob from another world.

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Old January 17th, 2013, 07:04 PM   #22
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What the maps show is that the flat areas in the center tend to be poorer and the surrounding hills and coasts are more expensive. Same in the valleys and for that matter other parts of California (Bay Area).

NY is interesting in that south and mid-Manhattan is rich and is surrounded by a ring of poor (Brooklyn, NJ, Uptown Manhattan, the Bronx). I would guess the rich ring is expanding outward as demand for Manhattan pushes up prices in the surrounding areas forcing the poor further out.
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Old January 17th, 2013, 10:25 PM   #23
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Dr. Richard Florida describes the inner-city basketcase phenomenon as the "hole in the donut." Cities without this pattern are doing much better than those that still have it.

We should all be thinking about doing more to solve this problem because it is impacting economic growth. Socioeconomic mobility depends in part on building social capital, and these concentrations of poverty can become traps where the potential of each individual may be squandered.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 03:02 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
Whose side are you on, Klam?

The lack of housing affordability in a first-ring suburb is part of the problem. Jobs-housing imbalances are central to this phenomenon of socioeconomic segregation as a result of transportation and land-use policy.

Moreover, this policy was, indeed, policy that was enacted by governments at the behest of industries and other interests that benefited from automobile dependency and decentralization. More importantly, America existed long before the automobile arrived, and, without it, the country survived quite nicely. In fact, all of our favorite places are the ones built before suburban sprawl congealed across the landscape like a blob from another world.
I'm no longer sure of what the thrust of your argument is. You mentioned how sad it was to dismantle the streetcars, which I would agree. Then you talk about the lack of affordability of first ring suburbs, that were built by streetcars ironically.
Even if we kept the streetcars it wouldn't have retarded the suburban movement. The suburban movement was initially spurned by private development and later supported and subsidized by government. In fact, the streetcars (in LA's case) is what exacerbated the desire by many of outward growth. Government later became complicit with this idea by providing roads and utility infrastructure to city's edge. The conjuncture of new roads provided and the access of an average family to now purchase a car was truly what did the streetcar in. But as I spoke about on other threads this metamorphosis away from a mass transit society to an auto dependent society was more pronounced and observable in those cities that grew up with the streetcar; LA, Detroit, Midwestern cities excluding Chicago.
So I think your argument is one of that we need to lessen the "donut hole" which I observe is happening on its own quite nicely. The problem that we're facing is the "blow pop" or "pistachio" effect. One where the monied are moving back to the center because of access to jobs and amenities and displacing those with lesser means further and further out. And as "pest" mentioned, NYC is at its crest in this shift becoming more and more like Paris everyday. LA has a ways to go thankfully before this is endemic but as I mentioned my 100 year old house in the middle of the city that needs alot of repairs is worth 2-3 times as much as a house in Palmdale or Lancaster.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 12:15 AM   #25
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If all that he is saying is that cities that are rich in the middle are generally richer than cities that are poor in the middle, that almost goes without saying.

It's hard to imagine cities doing better than SF or SJ but they both show this pattern (richer in the hills and coasts, poorer in the middle). Moreover, SF is among the most car independent cities while SJ is among the most car dependent cities, so I'm not sure where cars fit in.

In LA the pattern doesn't hold at all. Poverty is spread out in the flatlands of the SFV, SGV, South Central, Ontario, San Bernardino and Riverside. The core (downtown to SaMo) is largely middle to upper middle, with wealthy as you hit the hills and coast. Most poverty is heading south and east into the suburbs or, as noted above, in the SFV and SGV, etc.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 03:42 AM   #26
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Ahh...you used the term "the core". Can I get a witness!!
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Old January 19th, 2013, 06:03 PM   #27
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Quote:
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I'm no longer sure of what the thrust of your argument is. You mentioned how sad it was to dismantle the streetcars, which I would agree. Then you talk about the lack of affordability of first ring suburbs, that were built by streetcars ironically.
Even if we kept the streetcars it wouldn't have retarded the suburban movement. The suburban movement was initially spurned by private development and later supported and subsidized by government. In fact, the streetcars (in LA's case) is what exacerbated the desire by many of outward growth. Government later became complicit with this idea by providing roads and utility infrastructure to city's edge. The conjuncture of new roads provided and the access of an average family to now purchase a car was truly what did the streetcar in. But as I spoke about on other threads this metamorphosis away from a mass transit society to an auto dependent society was more pronounced and observable in those cities that grew up with the streetcar; LA, Detroit, Midwestern cities excluding Chicago.
So I think your argument is one of that we need to lessen the "donut hole" which I observe is happening on its own quite nicely. The problem that we're facing is the "blow pop" or "pistachio" effect. One where the monied are moving back to the center because of access to jobs and amenities and displacing those with lesser means further and further out. And as "pest" mentioned, NYC is at its crest in this shift becoming more and more like Paris everyday. LA has a ways to go thankfully before this is endemic but as I mentioned my 100 year old house in the middle of the city that needs alot of repairs is worth 2-3 times as much as a house in Palmdale or Lancaster.
Streetcar suburbs are not sprawl.

Think of the problem from SCAG and SANDAG's perspective. As a seven-county region, southern California was historically organized around three metropolitan cores (Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Bernardino) that each had their own satellite cities, towns, villages, and hamlets. The traditional development pattern created well-defined rural-to-urban transects that were fractal. So, while a first-ring suburb of Los Angeles, itself, may have gone through its own cycle of decline and regeneration, freeway-induced suburban sprawl from that core over the last sixty years spread 100 miles in most directions and wreaked havoc on all the other transects throughout the mega-region.

The Los Angeles core creates really only one of those transects. So, as a region, we are experiencing jobs-housing imbalances whereby certain areas have a concentration of jobs (especially those that are high-paying) and unaffordable housing and other places have a concentration of cheap housing with fewer jobs (especially those that are high-paying). Everything is out of whack, and the situation was and is created by former and current public policy regarding transportation and land use.

Income diversity in each specific place is the other metric, and it, too, is affected. Flight of the upper and middle classes from the inner cities is just too simplistic a model. We have seen urban disinvestment in most older places as developers flocked to greenfields. The only infill that was and is happening in the region was, and still is, largely the result of proximity to the beach or to other natural features that create a tension with the multimodal terminals (e.g., L.A. Union Station), which would normally be the locations of the peak land-value intersections (the points along the North-South and East-West axes where land values are highest).

The land values have completely shifted over the last half century because of the automobile-oil-freeway combination, and grotesque socioeconomic segregation has been the result. Parts of Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the richest nation on Earth and a true paradise only decades ago, are now like a Third World country.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 06:26 PM   #28
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Concentrations of poverty and the standard quality-of-life issues (traffic congestion, air pollution, etc.) are not the only problems. Southern California is experiencing a brain drain as well-educated or otherwise skilled labor finds the housing options available severely limited and seeks residence in places outside the mega-region as a result.

How often do you hear people grousing about the lack of affordable and desirable housing? That situation is entirely of our own creation. We have to put the region back together again by returning to the traditional development pattern whose hallmarks were socioeconomic integration and balanced jobs and housing.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 07:15 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
Concentrations of poverty and the standard quality-of-life issues (traffic congestion, air pollution, etc.) are not the only problems. Southern California is experiencing a brain drain as well-educated or otherwise skilled labor finds the housing options available severely limited and seeks residence in places outside the mega-region as a result.

How often do you hear people grousing about the lack of affordable and desirable housing? That situation is entirely of our own creation. We have to put the region back together again by returning to the traditional development pattern whose hallmarks were socioeconomic integration and balanced jobs and housing.
This is just wrong. SF, NY and DC have very high cost of housing and they are attracting the bright guys with no problem. In fact, it's everyone else that is leaving.

In any event, it's the westside that is expensive. You can still find moderate price housing (by today's standards) in other parts of the basin, valleys, etc. But you have to get over the idea that you get something for nothing: you have to save money, cut expenses and pay a hefty chunk of your paycheck for 30 years, just like your parents and grandparents did.

More generally, "lack of affordable housing" is a sign of an economy where there is no interest in investing, a doubt that people will make payments for 30 years, and will turn to the government for relief rather than keep making their payments. Now, THAT is a man-made problem.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 07:52 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
Streetcar suburbs are not sprawl.


The land values have completely shifted over the last half century because of the automobile-oil-freeway combination, and grotesque socioeconomic segregation has been the result. Parts of Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the richest nation on Earth and a true paradise only decades ago, are now like a Third World country.
1)Could you explain why streetcar suburbs are not considered sprawl?

2)Could you briefly talk a little more about what you mean by "parts of Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the richest nation on Earth and a true paradise only decades ago, are now like a Third World country"?
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Old January 20th, 2013, 12:59 PM   #31
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1)Could you explain why streetcar suburbs are not considered sprawl?

2)Could you briefly talk a little more about what you mean by "parts of Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the richest nation on Earth and a true paradise only decades ago, are now like a Third World country"?
Prior to the car and freeway, all development that was organized around train and tram stations created a traditional pattern that placed the greatest densities and intensities nearest the centers and that clustered buildings on the landscape around these nodes. So, the presence of each station formed its own rural-to-urban transect just as present-day fixed-guideway systems are attempting to do. And, residents had the ability to walk or bike easily within that sphere. Horses expanded the range a little, and horseless carriages expanded it further. But, everything was still relatively manageable since grade-separated highways, arterial roadways, and cars traveling 65 m.p.h. over vast distances were not a factor.

Each station along a fixed-guideway forms its own downtown this way.

Some downtowns are bigger than others depending mostly on proximity to the regional core, to service frequency, and to the number of transportation modes. And, L.A. Union Station in this model obviously creates the biggest downtown. But, they all, ultimately, are beneficial.

Unwalkable suburban sprawl as a development pattern is bad because it creates automobile dependency while reducing everything to homogeneous monocultures that lack any variation in land-use density and intensity. Wilderness, countryside, and open space is lost while little incentive exists to reinvest in existing communities. The decline of these places and their loss of land value are directly attributable to the transportation systems we chose to build and those we elected to dismantle.

www.Transect.org

Now, collectively-speaking, southern California may have wealth and G.D.P. that place the mega-region among the most powerful in the world, but the prosperity increasingly is not broadly shared. Productivity gains are benefiting fewer people while the income disparity is manifesting itself geographically. Most people who live in the area have no concept anymore of a traditional city that has a mix of incomes because we've been living with the freeways, and their effects, for so long. So, we just accept that slums are a fact of life and an organically-occurring part of human settlement when, in reality, we have designed them to arise even in a place as rightfully beautiful and desirable as southern California.

Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; January 23rd, 2013 at 04:12 PM.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 06:47 PM   #32
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This fixation on cars is really just crazy. If you want to understand why parts of LA look like the 3rd world it's because about 2 million people in the county were raised and educated in the 3rd world and are now in schools that are not much of an improvement.

If you really want to help, why don't you get involved in improving education? 24th St. Elementary just filed a parents' petition under the trigger law to try to force improvements but there are literally a hundred LA schools that are failing (including my old school Christopher Dena Elementary) which is why my parents moved out of LA 50 years ago. They moved into a neighborhood that was still working class poor but outside th LAUSD.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 10:31 AM   #33
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This fixation on cars is really just crazy. If you want to understand why parts of LA look like the 3rd world it's because about 2 million people in the county were raised and educated in the 3rd world and are now in schools that are not much of an improvement.

If you really want to help, why don't you get involved in improving education? 24th St. Elementary just filed a parents' petition under the trigger law to try to force improvements but there are literally a hundred LA schools that are failing (including my old school Christopher Dena Elementary) which is why my parents moved out of LA 50 years ago. They moved into a neighborhood that was still working class poor but outside th LAUSD.
You're absolutely right that education is a foundational part of income disparity, but this geographic socioeconomic segregation expresses itself in a broad disparity between rich school districts and poor ones.

We can try to level the playing field more so that everyone has a right to a high-quality education, but the segregation makes even that prospect politically difficult.

The underlying truth to the entire phenomenon is the way land use is affected by transportation choices.

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Old January 22nd, 2013, 08:30 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
Prior to the car and freeway, all development that was organized around train and tram stations created a traditional pattern that placed the greatest densities and intensities nearest the centers and that clustered buildings on the landscape around these nodes. So, the presence of each station formed its own rural-to-urban transect just as present-day fixed-guideway systems are attempting to do. And, residents had the ability to walk or bike easily within that sphere. Horses expanded the range a little, and horseless carriages expanded it further. But, everything was still relatively manageable since grade-separated highways, arterial roadways, and cars traveling 65 m.p.h. over vast distances were not a factor.

Each station along a fixed-guideway forms its own downtown this way.

Some downtowns are bigger than others depending mostly on proximity to the regional core, to service frequency, and to the number of transportation modes. And, L.A. Union Station in this model obviously creates the biggest downtown. But, they all, ultimately, are beneficial.

Unwalkable suburban sprawl as a development pattern is bad because it creates automobile dependency while reducing everything to homogenous monocultures that lack any variation in land-use density and intensity. Wilderness, countryside, and open space is lost while little incentive exists to reinvest in existing communities. The decline of these places and their loss of land value are directly attributable to the transportation systems we chose to build and those we elected to dismantle.

www.Transect.org

Now, collectively-speaking, southern California may have wealth and G.D.P. that places the mega-region among the most powerful in the world, but the prosperity increasingly is not broadly shared. Productivity gains are benefiting fewer people while the income disparity is manifesting itself geographically. Most people who live in the area have no concept anymore of a traditional city that has a mix of incomes because we've been living with the freeways, and their effects, for so long. So, we just accept that slums are a fact of life and an organically-occurring part of human settlement when, in reality, we have designed them to arise even in a place as rightfully beautiful and desirable as southern California.
Well, I certainly can't say that you are wrong probably because I don't believe there to be a right answer. Thank you for that cogent explanation of sprawl, a delightful read. This would lead me to believe that since so much of the LA urbanized area was created with the streetcar, because of the streetcar and by the streetcar that Los Angeles is the least "sprawling" urban area in the nation perhaps. As far back as the 1890's and forward Huntington's streetcars were creating streetcar suburbs like Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Echo Park, the now Angelino Heights, Lincoln Park, Highland Park and connecting to cities such as Pasadena and as far far away as San Bernardino. Armed with that knowledge and taking an empirical sample of these inner ring suburbs I can see that along Sunset in Silver Lake there exists a little "downtown" with densities fanning out and receding as you move further away from the Boulevard and into the hills. This I can see is still intact when I take the Gold Line and I get out at the Highland Park stop. The SL example is repeated along Figueroa. I can take the Gold Line further up and see it replicated again in South Pas and Pasadena. With the extension of the Gold Line I can look and see on the future route map that it will connect into the hearts of several little "downtowns" of Duarte, Azusa, Monrovia etc. actually taking the same route that Huntington's Red Cars did decades past. And eventhough the mighty 210 runs through all of these towns they are still largely organized around original streetcar population distribution patterns. So really what we are calling "sprawl" in LA is just the fill-ins between these traditionally arranged small urbanized centers. But if I built a small group of houses between let's say, Monrovia and Arcadia which already have that wonderful tradition of land use hierarchy which originated with fixed rail, why wouldn't it just be called low-density "infill"?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 08:51 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post

The underlying truth to the entire phenomenon is the way land use is affected by transportation choices.
What exactly are you trying to imply here? That LA is poorer because more people use cars than transit? By that logic, every American metropolis (including NY) is poorer for that reason... and every major metropolis in the third world with a decent transit system should be wealthier than it is.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 03:47 PM   #36
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What exactly are you trying to imply here? That LA is poorer because more people use cars than transit? By that logic, every American metropolis (including NY) is poorer for that reason... and every major metropolis in the third world with a decent transit system should be wealthier than it is.
We are talking about socioeconomic segregation within mega-regions, not between them. It does dampen economic growth and productivity, but the most egregious injustices result in Third World living conditions occupying many parts of a relatively-prosperous First World metropolis where most of the affluence divorces itself from the rest of the community and where the jobs and capital do the same.

Socioeconomic integration/segregation and jobs-housing balances are a function of the transportation available, and the resultant land-development patterns.

These concepts are well-understood by many current planners and developers. Land adjacent to stations holds or increases its value and encourages reinvestment.

Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; January 23rd, 2013 at 04:18 PM.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 08:08 PM   #37
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Candidly, an acute bout of socioeconomic integration/segregation was exacerbated during the Post WWII era's Suburban Movement that had never before been witnessed. Some planners can dance around the the truth and sing only half the lyrics which are "They got in their cars and drove away". But the entire line is "They got in their cars and drove away, away, away from the Negroes, away from the immigrants, away from the destitute and the government payed their way, yeah yeah yeah!". White flight was and resulting has been the greatest socioeconomic divergence among the American people that has ever occurred in its history. If you are eluding to this when you speak of its effects on inner city disparity pre-gentrification and now the transfer of poverty into the suburbs, then you're definitely barking up the right tree. But if you're just blaming it on the car and then developers and somewhere in there the government comes along...then you're baking without an egg. You would be effectively taking the blood and guts out of it making it kid-proof as to what was really at the heart of this movement also known as de facto segregation.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 09:35 AM   #38
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Oh, Klams! You're so militant!


Along the lines of LosAngelesSportsFan

I'D LIKE TO MAKE A MOTION

FOR THE DISCONTINUATION OF THE TERMS

NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY, NY, NYC,

AND/OR BIG APPLE, IN REGARDS TO ANY

DISCUSSION INVOLVING COMPARISONS

TO LOS ANGELES, L. A., LA LA LAND AND/

OR LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNLESS

SUCH COMPARISONS ARE NOT FRIVOLOUS

OR SELF SERVING, AND HAVE ACTUAL MERIT,

NOT USED FOR SUGGESTIONS AS TO THE

DIRECTION OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE

CITY OF LOS ANGELES, EL PUEBLO DE NUESTRA

SEñORA LA RIENA DE LOS ANGELES DE PORCIúNCULA,

OR ANY REGION IN OR OF CALIFORNIA THEREIN.



Supreme Court of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California
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Old January 25th, 2013, 11:10 AM   #39
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"What gives cities their special economic and cultural energy is their diversity of people and economic functions — the way they push people of different ethnicities, incomes, cultures, races, educations, and interests into close proximity, enabling them to interact and combine and recombine in unique and powerful ways. While our cities may be increasingly diverse in terms of nationality, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, they are becoming ever-more divided by class. These mounting divides threaten both their underlying economic dynamism and potentially their social and political stability as well."

http://m.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3...=jAQFi2Z0l&s=1
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Old January 26th, 2013, 09:35 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milquetoast View Post
Oh, Klams! You're so militant!


Along the lines of LosAngelesSportsFan

I'D LIKE TO MAKE A MOTION

FOR THE DISCONTINUATION OF THE TERMS

NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY, NY, NYC,

AND/OR BIG APPLE, IN REGARDS TO ANY

DISCUSSION INVOLVING COMPARISONS

TO LOS ANGELES, L. A., LA LA LAND AND/

OR LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNLESS

SUCH COMPARISONS ARE NOT FRIVOLOUS

OR SELF SERVING, AND HAVE ACTUAL MERIT,

NOT USED FOR SUGGESTIONS AS TO THE

DIRECTION OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE

CITY OF LOS ANGELES, EL PUEBLO DE NUESTRA

SEñORA LA RIENA DE LOS ANGELES DE PORCIúNCULA,

OR ANY REGION IN OR OF CALIFORNIA THEREIN.



Supreme Court of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California
Whether you like it or not, LA and NY are going to be compared for the foreseeable future. They are the only two very large growing US cities with downtowns that stretch over many miles. As such NY can serve as a useful counterexample when someone claims that something is "impossible" or "necessary" in LA. Similarly, London or Paris or others can provide examples of how very large cities actually can be structured.

Of course, this is not to condone those who say that LA must be just like NY (or any other city). For sure, there are many differences and no reason LA can't improve on NY's mistakes.
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