Though nothing about Los Angeles is inherently auto-oriented, it did emerge as the prototypical automobile city for other reasons. LA had been a city of only 102,000 people in 1900, but by 1930 had over 1.2 million residents. The relative newness of the city meant that this increase paralleled the rise of the automobile, and thus its shape, character, and routines were influenced by widespread use of the car (Longstreth, xli). Immigrating Midwesterners who had cashed out of the family farm sought a reminder of their rural past without the harsh realities of agrarian life, and settled into LAâ€™s early subdivisions that offered private plots of land within access of urban amenities (Fulton, 129). The land for expansion was vast and could continue endlessly as long as streetcar lines followed this development. When the automobile became available to everyday consumers, it was especially popular in Los Angeles for the very reason that it could further this mode of development that had already been established. For the rising system of private automobile transportation, early twentieth century Los Angeles truly was the right place at the right time; and thus began LAâ€™s love affair with the car that fit so perfectly into its decentralized urbanity.
Published on Jan 22, 2012
book completed for Thesis Preparation at Syracuse University School of Architecture, fall 2011