Posted 20 hours ago

(NEW EDITION) City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles

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No one had looked at this stuff before this way, especially as smart growth remains one of those buzz words. A city of loss as much as of dreams, Los Angeles was (I thought) best viewed from the windows of a departing 747. And those commitments are not, despite the efforts of think tanks and bureaucrats and politicians to state otherwise, all that complicated. He is an expert in making plain how power gets spatialized, and thus further entrenched and obscured, which keeps the gears of capitalism and the United States racial fascism afloat and impenetrable.

Davis, who hails from derelict, former steel-town Fontana, the subject of his book’s final chapter, has an unconventional experience for an academic. The tap-root of slow growth in the South, however, is an exceptionalistic local history of middle-class interest formation around home ownership. City of Quartz propelled Mike Davis’s career to ‘juggernaut status’, as a cultural critic and environmental historian. But I love this: ‘I am interested…not so much in the history of culture produced in Los Angeles, as the history produced about Los Angeles—especially where that has become a material force in the city’s actual evolution’ (20).As we shall see later, part of the logic of the 1978 tax revolt, which burned over the Valley in particular, was to equalize advantages between Los Angeles’s ‘captive’ white suburbanites and the residents of the Lakewoodized periphery’. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. Davis makes no secret of his political leanings: in the new revised introduction he spells them out in the first paragraph. As large-scale developers rushed to maximize their profits through the development of an "arts acropolis" in the monied downtown and western neighborhoods, Davis explains, actual working-class inner-city artists, especially Black and Chicano ones, faced a torrent of budget cuts and languished in a "desperate state, fighting over scraps, without career opportunities, funds, or housing.

In other words, City of Quartz became part of the subject of Los Angeles’ peculiarity and particularity – part of its very own myth of the city’s splendour, which Davis had contested.To Mike Davis, the author of this fiercely elegant and wide- ranging work of social history, Los Angeles is both utopia and dystopia, a place where the last Joshua trees are being plowed under to make room for model communities in the desert, where the rich have hired their own police to fend off street gangs, as well as armed Beirut militias.

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