Notes on Southern California:
“A Reasonable Suggestion as to How Things Can Be”?
WHEN I left Los Angeles one day last February, after a week in Southern California, the newspaper I picked up at the airport reported that the population of Los Angeles County was now 5,800,000, and that it would reach some unimaginable figure by 1975. I also picked up at the airport a report of the Air Pollution Control, District of the County of Los Angeles, discussing the war against smog, and you could, if you wished, put these two things together and ominously conclude that the Southern California boom was coming to an end, strangled by the very things that brought it into being. The balmy weather between the mountains and the sea now helps to create the “atmosphere inversion” that traps the smog-producing irritants. The oil which supplied a good deal of the region’s first wealth is now the source of great quantities of the poisonous substances found in the atmosphere. The open space and long beaches suggested a new style of life based on the automobile, and exhaust pipes of automobiles now contribute their share of fumes to the smog. A new city, almost without traditions, growing up in the age of the automobile, suggested an urban style that permitted people to live anywhere, and thus prevented the creation of a dense city center which might support a public transportation system and reduce dependence on automobiles.
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