Hawthorne sees the dramatic evolution of L.A.'s boulevards, as they accomodate multiple modes of transit and increasingly become places to live, as the epicenter of the city's efforts to re-embrace the public realm. In the first in a series of multimedia articles on the topic, he explores Atlantic Boulevard, a major north-south route from the San Gabriel Valley to Long Beach.
"The changes along Atlantic are emblematic of the way urban planners, architects, shopkeepers and neighborhood activists are remaking the boulevards of Southern California, reversing decades of neglect."
"The boulevard, in fact, is where the Los Angeles of the immediate future is taking shape. No longer a mere corridor to move cars, it is where L.A. is trying on a fully post-suburban identity for the first time, building denser residential neighborhoods and adding new amenities for cyclists and pedestrians."
"In the process, the city is beginning to shed its reputation as a place where the automobile is king - or at least where its reign goes unchallenged. Cities across the U.S. followed L.A.'s car-crazy lead in the postwar era. This time around we might provide a more enlightened example: how to retrofit a massive region for a future that is less auto-centric."