Once Upon a Time, the City of Angels Was Defined by Sprawl, Cars, and Racial Conflict

Now We're Clustering More in the Center, Slowly Gravitating Towards Public Transit, and Finding Ways to Be More Inclusive

People think they know three things about Angelenos and our aspirations. The first is that we want our own space and will embrace sprawl and long commutes to get it. The second flows from the first: that we worship the automobile and the sense of freedom it symbolizes. The third is that although we celebrate “diversity,” we are prone to conflict, particularly along racial and ethnic lines (think of the film Crash or the 1992 riots, which still loom large in the country’s collective memory).

Today, those three things are not …

The Thin Remains of the Once Mighty Los Angeles Times

The Paper Once Reflected the Tastes, Hopes, and Dreams of a Booming Region

Each morning, I go out to the front yard to pick up the thin remains of what used to be the mighty Los Angeles Times. We’re one of the two …

What Does a World-Class City Look Like?

Los Angeles Will Never Be Like Other Great Cities, but It Can Be True to Itself

Los Angeles is famous for its insecurity. For decades, we measured ourselves by how we competed against our nation’s most populous metropolis, New York, which has long prided itself on …

In L.A., Political Representation Isn’t Enough

Instead of Grabbing for Their Own Share of Power, the City's Diverse Groups Now Aspire to Build Coalitions

In Los Angeles, our highest aspirations used to involve the struggle to obtain a share of the power, so that we Angelenos and our different dreams would be protected and …

How Angelenos Beat Back Smog

High Aspirations, Law, and Science Helped Make Southern California a Better Place

My personal battle against smog began in 1971, when I moved to L.A. with a brand new degree from Yale Law School and no job.

The city was sprawling but …