Fighting the distorted imagery attached to Los Angeles, Edward Soja uses LA to rekindle our urban imagination about major issues affecting the world today. Here is a Los Angeles worthy to be learned from, an exemplary city region consisting of a network of at least forty cities with populations greater than 100,000. This polycentric regional city, once the least dense American metropolis, is w the country's densest urbanized area. Traditionally seen as one of the most business-centered environments, Los Angeles has become a major focus for the American labor movement and generator of some of the most invative urban social movements in the country. A model in the past of unrooted placeless urbanism, it has become a hive of neighborhood organizations practicing sophisticated forms of location-based politics. Once the most WASP metropolis in the country, LA is w among the most culturally heterogeneous cities the world has ever seen. Soja takes us through his evolving interpretations of this urban metamorphosis, combining varying doses of radical political ecomy, critical postmodernism, comparative urban studies, and the new regionalism. He reaches the confident conclusion that over the past thirty years Los Angeles has been experiencing a profound deconstruction and reconstitution, a breakdown of the familiar model of metropolitan growth and the formation of a new mode of regional urbanization that is spreading to many other megacity regions in the world. Soja's highly personal and assertively spatial look at Los Angeles inspires, informs, challenges, and entertains.
Edward W. Soja is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions and the co-editor of The City: Los Angeles and Urban Theory at the End of the Twentieth Century among other books.