The concept of beauty throughout history has been a force for creation, inspiring mankind to reach the pinnacle of civilization. From men accomplishing great things to win over a lover, the beautiful female as a muse for the artist, religions building great temples and cathedrals to attract worshipers, kings and emperors building monuments to demonstrate their greatness, and businesses using aesthetics in architecture and advertisements to attract more consumers.
In today’s society aesthetics serves primarily as a force to manipulate people to keep them striving and conforming to the liberal capitalist system. Advertisements use aesthetics to create a vision of a product to consume; not just the product itself but an overall aesthetically pleasing scene involving beautiful women, luxurious furnishings, great architecture, natural scenery, and music to create the mood.
Aesthetics then become a mechanism to keep people enslaved to the system in hope that they can one day date or marry an attractive woman, buy aesthetically pleasing merchandise, vacation in aesthetically pleasing locals, and live in an aesthetically pleasing community.
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.
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.