Cookie-Cutter Suburb Uses Pride to Distinguish Itself From Others

Fifty years later, Lakewood, the Los Angeles Levittown, proudly holds on to its working-class roots.
July 15, 2004, 8am PDT | Connie Chung
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Lakewood, a city of 80,000 residents and located 25 miles southeast of Los Angeles, was built in the 1950’s to be "a workingman’s paradise." While the units are no longer as affordable, and the neighborhood demographics have changed dramatically, the city claims to have held on to its sense of place and its working class values to this day. The theme of their 50th anniversary celebration is: "[T]imes change, values don’t."

However, as an aging suburb, Lakewood also faces a number of problems. "A city that was built all at once and inhabited all at once wears out all at once. Streets, sewers, sidewalks, commercial buildings and schools all need repair or updating, but the city does not have enough money to do all the work at once."

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 in The New York Times
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