All summer we've been looking at the Golden State from the perspective of books that have been written with California in mind. We call it the California Canon and Take Two contributor David Kipen is our guide.
For our next installment, we bring you "Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies," by Reyner Banham, a book that has provided natives and transplants alike a deeper understanding of Los Angeles.
The Four Ecologies
- Surfurbia– This is the beaches and the people who live near them. They're considered the "glories" of Southern California because of the recreation they afford and the organizing principle around which the city is distributed.
- The Plains of Id– This refers to the cookie cutter homes stretched out towards the horizon. But Banham sees something more nuanced and special in them.
- Autopia– The one everyone could probably relate to. In this chapter, Banham addresses L.A.'s freeways. From this section comes one of the book's most famous quotes: "I learned to drive so that I could read Los Angeles in the original."
- The Foothills– The only ecology he doesn't nickname but equally as important as the rest. All part of challenging the audience to see Los Angeles a new.
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