Synopses & Reviews
Fighting the distorted imagery attached to Los Angeles, Edward Soja uses LA to rekindle our urban imagination about major issues affecting the world today. Here is a Los Angeles worthy to be learned from, an exemplary city region consisting of a network of at least forty cities with populations greater than 100,000. This polycentric regional city, once the least dense American metropolis, is now the countrys densest urbanized area. Traditionally seen as one of the most business-centered environments, Los Angeles has become a major focus for the American labor movement and generator of some of the most innovative urban social movements in the country. A model in the past of unrooted placeless” urbanism, it has become a hive of neighborhood organizations practicing sophisticated forms of location-based politics. Once the most WASP metropolis in the country, LA is now among the most culturally heterogeneous cities the world has ever seen.
Soja takes us through his evolving interpretations of this urban metamorphosis, combining varying doses of radical political economy, critical postmodernism, comparative urban studies, and the new regionalism. He reaches the confident conclusion that over the past thirty years Los Angeles has been experiencing a profound deconstruction and reconstitution, a breakdown of the familiar model of metropolitan growth and the formation of a new mode of regional urbanization that is spreading to many other megacity regions in the world. Sojas highly personal and assertively spatial look at Los Angeles inspires, informs, challenges, and entertains.
"An accessible, informative and often entertaining intellectual memoir and tour of the city as seen through the L.A. School, which has contributed some of the most provocative and productive ideas to our understanding of cities in recent history."
At once informative and entertaining, inspiring and challenging, My Los Angeles provides a deep understanding of urban development and change over the past forty years in Los Angeles and other city regions of the world. Once the least dense American metropolis, Los Angeles is now the countrys densest urbanized area and one of the most culturally heterogeneous cities in the world. Soja takes us through this urban metamorphosis, analyzing urban restructuring, deindustrialization and reindustrialization, the globalization of capital and labor, and the formation of an information-intensive New Economy. By examining his own evolving interpretations of Los Angeles and the debates on the so-called Los Angeles School of urban studies, Soja argues that a radical shift is taking place in the nature of the urbanization process, from the familiar metropolitan model to regional urbanization. By looking at such concepts as new regionalism, the spatial turn, the end of the metropolis era, the urbanization of suburbia, the global spread of industrial urbanism, and the transformative urban-industrialization of China, Soja offers a unique and remarkable perspective on critical urban and regional studies.
"Soja is a legendary figure; a lodestar for an entire generation of urbanists and planners. No one else has puzzled out Los Angeles with so much clarity, patience and optimistic passion. Throw away your Thomas Brothers, this is the road atlas you really need." Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz
"Ed Soja has long been one of the most creative, perceptive and prolific analysts of the contemporary urban condition. In his latest book, Soja synthesizes over three decades of research and reflection on Los Angeles, an urban region which he presents as a powerful lens into the large-scale economic, political and cultural forces that are shaping the production of space under early twenty-first century capitalism. In so doing, Soja opens up new horizons for urban theorists, planners, designers and activists concerned to understand and to shape the future geographies of our hyperurbanizing planet." Neil Brenner, author of New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood
About the Author
Edward W. Soja is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions and the co-editor of The City: Los Angeles and Urban Theory at the End of the Twentieth Century among other books.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1 When It First Came Together in Los Angeles
2 Taking Los Angeles Apart
3 Inside Exopolis: Views of Orange County
4 Comparing Los Angeles
5 On the Postmetropolitan Transition
6 A Look Beyond Los Angeles
7 Regional Urbanization and the End of the Metropolis Era
8 Seeking Spatial Justice in Los Angeles
9 Occupy Los Angeles: A Very Contemporary Conclusion
Appendix 1: Source Texts by the Author
Appendix 2: Complementary Video Sources