Alt-Urbanism: Building a Based Urban Middle Class SWPL Utopia.

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Prior to the 1950’s, the urban core of LA, centered around Downtown, was relatively small. It was also much more compact and vibrant, however, than it became in the second half of the 20th Century. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in urbanism and walkable communities, and LA’s downtown, historic core is now revitalized and booming with new highrise construction.

While LA is  just in the early stages of creating an integrated metro system, the region once had a vibrant street car system connecting the urban core with extensions to street car suburbs such as Santa Monica and Pasadena.

According to Curbed LA : “in 1945, a sinister corporation called National City Lines took over the thriving Los Angeles Railway, which served most of the sprawling region. Then, over the course of the next two decades, LA’s extensive streetcar network was eliminated and the iconic Red Cars that Judge Doom mentions were replaced with shiny new buses.

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A Streetcar in DTLA, circa 1930.                          https://www.flickr.com/photos/metrolibraryarchive/


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Alt Urbanism: Retrofitting The Aesthetically Pleasing Suburb

Aesthetically Pleasing Suburbia

There has been a growing movement within the New Urbanist scene to retrofit car-oriented suburbs. There is even an excellent book on the subject titled Retrofitting Suburbia by Ellen Dunham-Jones. The book focuses primarily on retrofitting aesthetically unappealing, car-oriented suburbs that were built in the 2nd half of the 20th Century.

Despite opposition from suburban NIMBY’s this idea makes practical and aesthetic sense. Your typical American suburban commercial thoroughfare is lined with ugly strip malls with massive parking lots that are aesthetically unappealing, ecologically unsustainable, and unfriendly to pedestrians.
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