Colin Marshall sits down in Del Rey with David C. Sloane, professor and director of undergraduate programs at the University of California’s Price School of Public Policy and editor of Planning Los Angeles. They discuss the book’s obvious contrarian marketing angle against the widely held idea of Los Angeles as the most chaotic, least planned U.S. city; how people assume Los Angeles to be both older and newer than it really is; the city’s much-discussed “polycentricity” coming from trains, not cars; freeways as conduits, Berlin Walls, psychological shortcuts, and Brasília-style monuments; the fears surrounding the non-disaster of “Carmageddon” and what they say about the increasing difficulty of the midcentury Los Angeles lifestyle; the transition to a world of multimodal transportation, where bicycles, cars, and trains coexist; his move to Los Angeles during the inauspicious year of 1992, though one that paradoxically saw several highly auspicious urban developments on the way; the changes in thinking that led to the changes in American cities from their nadir in the late seventies and early eighties; whether Los Angeles, having spread to its geographical limits, has now run out of excuses for not looking inward; and the city’s anxiety about which places are “real” and which “fake.”
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