Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dear New Residents of L.A.: Please Participate

Welcome to the city of traffic jams, plastic people, air pollution and drive-thru cafes. What's not to love? In the words of Woody Allen's "Annie Hall," "I don't want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light."

But Los Angeles is more than Hollywood and a perceived lack of substance. It is a city on the edge, literally. As Mike Davis wrote in Ecology of Fear, "The entire world seems to be rooting for Los Angeles to slide into the Pacific or be swallowed by the San Andreas fault." To live in Los Angeles is to be somewhere and someplace, acutely aware of fragility.

More than a city forever between natural disasters, Los Angeles has been described as a place with no center. Both mentally and physically this is true. We have no place where we all coalesce. Los Angeles is indeed the antithesis of the community with a town square.

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