The urban geography

Los Angeles is the biggest city in California State. It has population of approximately 3.8 million people and an area of 1 290.6 sq. kilometers. The metropolitan area of Los Angeles Beach houses 12.9million residents (United States Census Bureau). Los Angeles also holds the county of Los Angeles which forms the most populated counties in USA. Los Angeles is among the biggest world business centers, entertainment, international trade, cultural centre, education media, science and technology. It houses a wide range of famous institutions of specialized and cultural nature and it is among the most economic drive of the USA. Los Angeles also provides the home base to Hollywood which is the entertainment capital of the world by leading in the production of recorded music, moving pictures and interactive games. My celebrities have made its surrounding their home due to the importance of the entertainment business. The extension Los Angeles city is 44 miles longitudinally and 29 miles latitudinal and its located on a flat and hilly ground. The Los Angeles River which flows through the city is lined with concrete nearly its whole length and it's a seasonal river.

Los Angeles economy is driven by international trade, entertainment technology petroleum and tourism. It is also the biggest industrialized center in the western side of United States. The Los Angeles port and Long beach form the busiest port in the world and is very important in the Pacific trade. Among the other industries within Los Angeles include telecommunications, law, production, healthcare and transportation. Los Angeles houses six fortune 500 companies, the Energy Company Occidental petroleum, healthcare supplier Health net, aero plane contractor Northrop Grumman, engineering industry AECOM, metals distributor Reliance Steel & Aluminum and real estate group CB Richard.

The greater area of Los Angeles is used for television and movie production and this has pooled the other creative individuals to the area besides actors, composers and artists. Majority of Los Angeles residents are Roman Catholics and with their cardinal saw the construction of Our Lady of the Angels cathedral which was completed in 2002. A mayor-council system governs the Los Angeles city and there are also fifteen city council districts. The city security is maintained by Police Department of Los Angeles in addition to other four specialized police agencies (Sanchez, 2004). The transport system of Los Angeles is managed under Los Angeles County Metropolitan transport authority with other agencies operating a system of organized bus line, subway and light railway across Los Angeles County.

During 2nd World War Los Angeles developed as a center for production of airplane, war supplies and missiles. Many of American Southerners and African Americans European traveled to the area to fill up factory jobs. By the 1950s, Los Angeles manufactured more cars than any city other than Detroit. It was also the national capital for the creation of moving pictures and radio programs. The construction industry grew rapidly as tract houses were constructed in ever expanding suburban communities funded by the largess of the Federal Housing Administration. Los Angeles city continued to extend out, mainly with the development of the freeways and the San Fernando Valley, in the 1940s. When the local road car system went out of business, Los Angeles turned out to be a city built around the cars, with all the political, health and social problems that this reliance produces. The famous urban sprawl of Los Angeles turned out to be a notable characteristic of the town, and the pace of the growth speeded up in the first decades of the 20th century. The San Fernando Valley turned into a much loved site for developers, and the city started expanding past its origins downtown toward the ocean and towards the east.

It was during this time when General Motors convinced most urban regions in North America to close down their light rail street car systems and substitute them for a more flexible bus system. When this change was adapted it drastically changed expansion and travel patterns in the city in following years and added to the severe air pollution occurrences that Los Angeles turned to be well-known for (Breckenfeld, 1977). In 1961, Los Angeles incurred two destructive bush fires which destroyed 484 expensive homes and 21 other buildings together expansive grassland area. The building code was changed after these fires in order to prevent future losses in case of similar fire accidents.

Los Angeles lost most of the industry it had developed in the early 20th century with the last vehicle assembly closing in the 1990s, while the tire and steel mills had gone earlier. Dairy and agricultural operations that were present in Los Angeles in the 1950s moved to neighboring counties and to other low wage countries. The production of aerospace has decreased drastically after the end of cold war and has been moved to states with better tax conditions. The entertainment industry has also moved to areas in United States and Canada where it is cheaper to produce films commercials and television programs.

Majority of communities in the Los Angeles has changed their racial character. Originally, Los Angeles was a white dominated ethnically and it has now changed to predominantly black in 1990s to mostly Latino now (Abler, 1976). These micro economic changes have passed major social changes them, unemployment declined in the 1990s after newly created jobs which were low-wage jobs were taken up by immigrants and other exploitable populations. In addition the need for residential housing has increased in the down town which has seen the renovation of old historical buildings and upcoming of new apartments. American cities expanded progressively all through the first 75 years of nationhood but remained comparatively small in land mass and inhabitants. Majority were situated along transport access points including seaports along passable tidal and major river inlands, next to canals, and in the region of the Great Lakes. The regional surroundings outside the cities supplied raw materials as a part of rural-based economies. Those commodities were then made into long-lasting goods in urban centers and redistributed in the area or transported to other regions where they were refined or even sold to other countries. By the coming of the Civil War, however, the kind of urban development had begun to revolutionize and cities were becoming centers of business as access to home and regional natural resources developed and these resources were utilized (Goldfield, 1990).

Factors that have led to success of Los Angels the late 20th Century

Provision of clean water and effective sewage treatment

With outbreaks of water borne diseases city leaders accepted to construct elaborate sewage assortment and removal systems and provided clean unpolluted water supply. This was done through construction of huge dams, water pools and aqueducts required to collect and carry enormous volumes of water over long distances for urban consumption and an elaborate sewer system to take away waste in the late twentieth centuries. In the early 20th century, most of the cities including New York and Los Angeles dumped their accumulated sewage in downstream water ways (Allen & Soja, 1986). Also in many cities during the early twentieth century there was no provision of filtered water and as a result there were many outbreaks of diseases such as typhoid which resulted to deaths. Between the 1910 and onwards many cities in US started to included sand filters and chlorination machines to the water systems and this helped to reduce outbreak of water bone diseases. The provision of chlorinated filtered water also helped to cut death rates in America dramatically. The elaborate water systems in the Los Angels allowed the widespread installation of bathtubs and flush toilets in many homes in early 20th century. This provision of commendable municipal systems led to segregation of areas to extend these services and led to accelerated city growth. Improvements in the sewer and water systems that were done later during the Great depression combined with the installation of efficient filtration and chemical application treatment systems made Los Angels reputation grow for having the safest public water systems worldwide (Gladstone, 1998).

Isolation of dangerous and disharmonious land uses

In the early 20th century American cities were jumble of industrial, commercial warehouse and residential all intermingled together without arrangement other than the features generated by opportunity and individual advantage. It was not common for people to buy a residential house only to find out it's used by different purposes that made the house not tenable. The features of the houses of the entire neighborhood were changed often as uses changed in fast succession (Abbott, 1981). The poor preferred to live near to their places of work in order to reduce the requirements of fare and this resulted to dense settlement districts very close to factories and other industrial establishments that often posed as detestable and dangerous in nature. These two problems led to comprehensive zoning in Los Angels with the aim of protecting inhabited areas from invasion by industrial zones. The zoning helped to create more stable land use patterns and also supported long-term expansion by ensuring investment in areas was not threatened by unwell-matched uses.

The idea of physical segregation of not well-suited uses to separate districts led to planned industrial and commercial districts perimeter industrial parks and formation of special remotes zones for uses which were believed to be extremely dangerous due to high possibility of explosion or fire outbreak.

Abolition of corrupt boss governments

At the beginning of the twentieth century Los Angels filed with corrupted political bosses who manipulated the municipal systems to enrich themselves at the expense to the public. Before the mid 19th century political leaders had slight access to huge sums of money but occasions for massive wealth came with the arrival of the street railway since the private railway firms required the municipality's authority to install their rails in the public streets. The political superiors gave the municipality orders to with-hold franchises worth many dollars and used this power to built-up immense personal riches and purchase an army of political messengers willing to do their bidding. After being granted the transit franchise urban bosses also controlled the massive public works projects that were built to meet the requirements of the high population boom. There were not many carefully prepared arrangements for these projects and little worry for economy or efficiency. They were analyzed as avenues for individual enrichment and a ready-made source of occupations for constituents who could then be relied on for support at the ballots. Reaction to the exploitation by the bosses rule was a driving force in the extensive adoption of the community planning in the early 20th century. Advocates involved in planning stressed the need for effectiveness and accountability in the spending of public funds on capital projects. Alfred Bettman of Cicinnati commenced the citizen-dominated planning commission, permitting this body to form a long -range plan for the community which the boss-dominated city council could not contravene in ordinance or appropriation. He afterwards initiated the capital budget to provide a public accounting, with municipal accounting with open hearing for each capital expenditure proposed.

Adoption of an all-inclusive plan and a capital budget helped to eliminate the corrupt boss politician and his followers from the capital expenditure process. Planners could from that time take recognition for making major contribution to the municipal improvement movement that considerably cleaned up American politics.

Development of integrated roadway systems

The building of interstate road network system started in 1956 was initiated by the Federal -Aid Road Act of 1916. It was committed to provide a nationwide road system. Interstate Highway System runs more than 40 000 miles and it connects together all the United States with rapid comfortable and safe accessibility. The completion of this road network made it possible for Americans to move from one state to another and also made it easier to move to the coast. The highway also it allowed regional developments through on-road transport of goods (American Urban History, 1991).

The electrification of cities and regions

The use of electric light offered a non-flame supply for in-house lighting and substituted kerosene and gas lamps and made possible for business day to be lengthened and for factories to operate 24 hours and for many dusk to dawn activities to be expanded. The invention of electric motor helped to remove industrial locations from locations immediately adjacent to major power sources (Garreau, 1991). This resulted in many electrical powered industries being moved to structures which were originally built as warehouses. In addition the extension of electricity to rural farms effected to improvement of farm life and increase productivity. Since extension of electric lines to widely dispersed farm locations could not be done by individual farmers it was made by the regional and national grids throughout the country.

The advent of national communication

The explosion in electronic communication and the mobile phones has made America experience universal communication. Through internet use universal communication has been made possible by having aces to vast array of data and the capability of transferring data. The first urban growth boundary in the United States was in the Kentucky in 1958 (Bederman and Hartshorn, 1984). Oregon State was passed a law in 1973 which restricted the areas which urban areas should occupy. And after the enactment of this law Portland town became the leader in smart growth that was seeking to make urban areas more packed together. Whereas cities like as Chicago are well known for extensive suburbs, policies and community opinion are varying. Transit-oriented progression in which higher-density mixed-use areas are allowed or encouraged near transit stops is stimulating more compressed development in some areas especially those with light and advanced rail transit systems.

Urban growth is associated with a number of negative public health and ecological outcomes with the causative result being the increased over-reliance on vehicles. This is lessened by the development of shopping and creation of recreation facilities. People will have a preference to live close to their places of business which is more and more centered on urban areas. Growth of urban areas has partly been responsible for the decrease in the public capital in the United States (Spencer, 1997). Compressed neighborhood can encourage casual social exchanges among neighbors while sprawl creates obstacles.

Decrease in land and water quality and amount as a result of large areas being taken up by extensive suburbs compared to urban neighborhoods more farm land and wildlife habitation are relocated per resident. As a result of clearing of forest cover and covering the impermeable surfaces with concrete in the suburbs, less and less rainfall infiltrates to the ground water aquifers and this puts pressure on the amount and quality of water supplies. Living in more extended spaces in general makes public services more costly since car uses turn out to be common and public transport often becomes considerably expensive. Provision of sewers electricity and water becomes even more expensive per household in sparsely populated areas (Braun, 2004). Groups that advocate for sprawl include the American Institute of Architects which support for elegant mixed use development including buildings near one another that cut down automobile use, keep energy and also encourage walkable, wellbeing, and well -designed neighborhoods.

Work Cited

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  • Spencer C. Olin. Los Angeles as a World City. University of California Press, 1997.

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