Modernism, Architecture and Segregation

Essayist and photographer Aisha Sloan revisits the Los Angeles neighborhood of her childhood to examine Modernist architecture and its correlation to segregation.
June 1, 2010, 2pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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Here's an excerpt from Sloan's essay:

"According to LA's Early Moderns, the architects who brought the spare glass-wall style of living to Los Angeles in the 1920s and 30s saw the promise of architecture as revolutionary. It held the key to physical and emotional health. California architect Irving Gill was not only concerned with bringing more of what nature had to offer into people's daily lives, he also felt that there was a morality inherent to his chosen field-architecture had the potential to do social good."

Meanwhile, "Racially exclusive housing covenants were pervasive in the 1940s and 50s, preventing people of color from living in certain areas. They were lifted by the Rumford Fair Housing Act in 1963, but not long after that, the city approved a proposition to reinstate them."

Sloan builds a convincing case the mid-century modern architecture did little to fix the segregation and racism of Los Angeles, and may have contributed in its own way.

Thanks to Simmons Buntin

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 in Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments
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