Los Angeles MAPPING - Turning urban sprawl into quality density | The Plan
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Los Angeles MAPPING - Turning urban sprawl into quality density

Los Angeles is one of the world’s most surprising yet characteristic megalopolises - and one of the most studied. Founded in 1781 with the extravagant name of “El Pueblo de la Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciúncola”, it is home to some 13 million people and the second largest for population in the US after New York. The largest city by extension in its State of California, Los Angeles extends from the Pacific Ocean to the inland mountain ranges of San Gabriel and Santa Monica, making it one of the most striking conglomerations in the world. As usual, we examine the city with the aid of five GIS-generated maps. The population density map is the baseline against which to interpret the other four showing respectively the geographical features, service-provision, public transport and urban greenery. As usual, our maps consider an area of 40x30 km, too small to include the extraordinary extension of Los Angeles. “Sprawl” is also the appropriate word for the city’s population density, with only the central, downtown district showing anything like high density. Another striking feature evidenced by the maps is the many “city motorways” that cut through a prevalently homogeneous urban structure. The contour map shows how Los Angeles grew up on a large plain surrounded by hills - here not visible, however, being off the scale of our maps. The service-provision map also reflects LA’s dual characteristic of concentration and extension. The highest service density is to be found in the most densely populated downtown area, while the residential suburban districts made up of interminable stretches of detached homes have given rise to a series of service hubs. The next map looks at public transport. Although traditionally known as a city where the private automobile is king, Los Angeles has recently made a determined effort to reverse this all-pervading, albeit fascinating legacy...

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