Walkative: Los Angeles

Norman Klein

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LA is the crossroads city overwhelmed by contradictions. It is both layered and an archipelago of tiny neighborhoods. The old freeway city (left over from the 70s), is what, most of all, is being overwhelmed. 2020 is the coming of age of the New Byzantium (vast ethnographic mix); and the recasting of the fictional cinematic city (so much a creation of LA, since the late twenties). All these contradictions are the product of more than a century, especially the past forty years. Then in March, they were thrown into stark relief by the pandemic.

The LA that emerges out of this Trump/covid era will be drastically different, and yet distantly echo what shaped it all along. We will examine the cityscapes, ecosphere, hubs and voids within the LA area, look for clues, expect to be surprised. No doubt, patterns for 2021 are already emerging, based on spiraling inequality, shocks to the supply chain that has propped up globalization; a powerful coming of age in LA’s ethnographic communities (despite the racist inequities of the pandemic); and new rhythms in how the city is traversed and used.

Join us, as the most important year in our century slams into the future of our cities.