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Old Posted Aug 25, 2019, 12:14 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Los Angeles
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Originally Posted by DenseCityPlease View Post
Allow me to pile on. The Detroit - Los Angles comparison is thoughtful and apt. One the one hand you have the last great American city of the prewar era, and on the other the first great American city of the postwar era. Their commonality is a two decade period from the 1930s through the 1950s when both supported robust urban-lite multi-family housing and zero setback commercial corridors built around streetcar networks, and at the same time ravenous suburban development facilitated by a burgeoning freeway network.

That one city continued to grow after the 1960s while the other began to recede is not really relevant. The essential fabric of expansive gridded streets and linear urbanism (consider Woodward and Wilshire as fraternal twins) is striking. The fact the the two cities took divergent paths in the late 20th century makes the comparison all the more fascinating, and the fact that their similarity is apparently too obscure for some of this forum’s less sophisticated contributors makes it all the more fun.
I'm assuming/hoping you weren't including me in that group since I basically acknowledged the same commonalities you did. But because I also alluded to the divergence, I'll treat it as a point of contention.

I don't think it's fair to readily dismiss 60 years as being irrelevant to the conversation, especially when that's essentially half of one city's history and a period in which both cities' urban environments changed considerably. LA and Detroit started out as first cousins; the relationship today is now that of second/third cousins. They're still (and will always be) of the same lineage and see each other at family functions every now and then, but the relationship becomes increasingly tenuous as time moves forward.

This LA/Detroit argument:

1) One side is strictly adhering to the premise of the thread, in which case they're obviously correct that there are differences in architecture, climate, and population size.

2) The other side got bored with the obvious comparisons (Savannah/Charleston) and thought LA/Detroit was particularly fascinating because of the obvious superficial differences. Strictly within a 1900-1950 vacuum, the similarities are stunning. And the post-1950 divergence isn't relevant to the premise of the argument, which is about shared growth and development patterns within a specific timeframe only.

Neither side is incorrect.
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