Rethinking Boosterism in the 'City of Quartz'

OF the many written works about Los Angeles, Mike Davis' "City of Quartz" stands out, according to this review by Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne.

Part of a year-long series looking at books focused on Los Angeles, this review looks at the ways Davis' work countered the "mindless boosterism" that had pervaded thought about the city for the preceding century.

"[F]or all its polemicism,"City of Quartz," the 12th title in our Reading L.A. series, is without question the most significant book on Los Angeles urbanism to appear since Reyner Banham's "Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies" was published in 1971. It deserves its reputation as one of the three most important treatments of that subject ever written, joining "Four Ecologies" and Carey McWilliams' 1946 book "Southern California: An Island on the Land." Though Davis' "Ecology of Fear," which appeared in 1999 and explored the inseparable links between Southern California and natural disaster, was a surprisingly potent follow-up, no book about Los Angeles since "Quartz" has mattered as much."

Full Story: Reading L.A.: Mike Davis, 'City of Quartz' and Southern California's 'spatial apartheid'


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95
Woman wearing city map tote bag

City Shoulder Totes - New Cities Added!

Durable CityFabric© shoulder tote bags available from 7 different cities.