Examining L.A.'s Boulevard of Urban Dreams

Christopher Hawthorne continues his exploration of the changing face of Los Angeles, as seen along its boulevards, with an examination of the street where the city has perpetually "embraced and tested out the future" - Wilshire Boulevard.

Hawthorne traverses to street that comprises L.A.'s many faces, from low-rise Santa Monica to skyscraping downtown, and finds "a proving ground for new ideas about architecture, commerce, transportation and urbanism in Southern California."

"For nearly a century Wilshire has been L.A.'s boulevard of prototypes, a string of hypotheses 16 miles long."

Recent hypothesis are oriented around the slow transformation of the street from car-centered artery to transit spine. "Now, Wilshire is stuck in a kind of limbo. The car culture on Wilshire has faded, but a comprehensive rail system and renewed sense of pedestrian culture have yet to take root."

"Wilshire is our boulevard of cold feet and second thoughts," says Hawthorne, "the place where Los Angeles confronts its deep ambivalence about putting a low-rise, car-dominated and essentially suburban past behind it for good."

"The result on today's Wilshire is a lurching, piecemeal utopianism that can take you from a world-famous piece of architecture to a weed-choked lot, from a realized ambition to an abandoned one, in the space of a few blocks."

Full Story: Wilshire Boulevard, a Main Street that stands apart

Comments

Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
$24.95
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.
$24.00