Can L.A. Finally Forget the Fatalism of Chinatown?

A UCLA Historian Offers a New Narrative for a City That’s Defined Itself by Its Injustice, Violence, and Corruption

A mother, seeking to protect her daughter and herself, fires a gunshot toward her abusive father, and then flees by car. Los Angeles police, on the scene but in no danger, open fire on the departing vehicle, killing the mother.

Her unnecessary death is more than a tragedy, or another instance of bad judgment by the cops. Her shooting has become an all-but-official emblem of California’s most populous city.

That’s because it’s the celebrated final scene of the 1974 film Chinatown.

Every American municipality has suffered from police or state violence, and most …

Griffith Park, a Place of and Apart From Los Angeles | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Griffith Park, a Place of and Apart From Los Angeles

Like Its Namesake, Griffith J. Griffith, This Huge Urban Space Is a Story of Contradictions

Griffith Park is one of the wildest and largest urban parks in the United States. And yet it sits smack in the middle of the country’s second-largest city, a place …

Why California’s Weakest Local Governments Should Not Survive COVID-19 | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why California’s Weakest Local Governments Should Not Survive COVID-19

Instead of Mourning Their Collapse, We Should Consolidate Local Governments to Make Them More Powerful

California is finally getting the local government apocalypse it has long needed.

And, thankfully, it’s going to be even worse than I had hoped.

For the record, I love and revere local …

How Zombie Films Reveal the True Dangers of COVID-19 | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Zombie Films Reveal the True Dangers of COVID-19

Like the Living Dead, a Virus Can Overwhelm Powerful States, Ruin Economies—and Reveal Our Best and Worst Selves

Sydney

On any given day at the University of Sydney in Australia, Chinese visitors spill out of tour buses to make their way up the hill to the main Quadrangle, an …

Auto Draft | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

An Architect of L.A. Government Looks Forward and Back

Zev Yaroslavsky on How Politics Have Changed in Los Angeles in the Last 40 Years

Los Angeles has changed, declared Zev Yaroslavsky, a man who has played a major role in shaping the city’s politics in the last 40 years, during a Zócalo Public Square …

Auto Draft | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Don’t Look Away. Homeless People Are Your Neighbors

By Engaging Their Communities—and Talking to People on the Streets—Angelenos Can Help People Find Housing

Establish a relationship with a homeless services provider in your area. Don’t be afraid to engage homeless people, and be sure to listen to them. If you give money or …