In 1920, as its population began to explode, Los Angeles was a largely pastoral city of bungalows and palm trees. Thirty years later, choked with smog and traffic, the city had become synonymous with urban sprawl and unplanned growth. Yet Los Angeles was anything but unplanned, as Jeremiah B.C. Axelrod reveals in this compelling, visually oriented history of the metropolis during its formative years. In a deft mix of cultural and intellectual history that brilliantly illuminates the profound relationship between imagination and place, "Inventing Autopia" shows how the clash of irreconcilable utopian visions and dreams resulted in the invention of an unforeseen new form of urbanism - sprawling, illegible, fractured - that would reshape not only Southern California but much of the nation in the years to come.
Jeremiah B.C. Axelrod is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Program in Cultural Studies at Occidental College.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction. Looking toward Autopia Prologue. A City at Does not Move 1. "Los Angeles Is not the City It Could Have Been" 2. Paradise Misplaced 3. Imagining the Metropolis in a Modern Age 4. Modern Los Angeles 5. Metropolis at a Crossroads 6. Gardens and Cities Epilogue. A City at Moves Conclusion. "to Dream Dreams and See visions" Notes Bibliography Index