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Los Angeles: A History of the Future

Los Angeles: A History of the Future

Forward

Anyone who is aware of the rapid decline of US. Atlantic seaboard cities in the last 20 years has to be struck by the potential magnitude of collapse that could overcome the greatest megalopolitan artifact on the Pacific Coast, Los Angeles. Already overwhelmed by traffic congestion and exhaust fumes its population continues to increase at a near boom rate; already overextended by thousands of miles for basic supplies of water, food, and energy its demands escalate while possibilities for fulfilling them become desperately tentative.

The veneer is cracking now faster than it can be re-cosmeticized and eventually thousands of blocks of dried-up one-story ruins and rusting station wagons may compete with the bombed-out vistas of South Bronx for our memory of the Late Industrial period.

Paul Glover shows a path that can salvage the future for people who live here, and if Los Angeles as presently conceived is lost at least it will be transformed into a place where people can actually walk around, something nobody does in LA today. 

---by Peter Berg, Editor, Raise the Stakes: the Planet Drum Review, Winter 1983.  Other quotes about this book


INTRODUCTION español

Total transformation is the Los Angeles style. Just two hundred years ago this place sheltered naked hunter-gatherers who danced the porpoise dance. Within sixty years they were trampled by Latinos and their half million cattle. Thirty years later Anglos evicted the Latinos and plowed up pasture for wheat. Thirty years after that the wheat yielded to giant orchards. Another fifty years saw this food torn out for factories and homes. The latest fifty years have raised skyscrapers, superhighways and a new Latino majority.

Yes. This sixth most populous spot on earth has killed Nature. Environmental protection means chaining a dog in the yard. Brown air turns every clean, pink lung gritty yellow. Trees endure like parsley on an empty plate. Fertile soil lies smothered under asphalt.

Here is the American metropolis supreme: Water is imported across hundreds of miles of dry land in the world's longest aqueducts; Fuel through the world's largest, longest electric wires sparks 1500 square miles of humans; Food trucked daily hundreds of miles to America's largest wholesale market, on Central Avenue, serves an appetite larger than most world nations'; foodsupply
Metal extracted worldwide forges products for consumers consuming for the pleasure of consumption.
hinterlandAnother transformation is due. Los Angeles is an army camped far from its sources of supply, using distant resources faster than nature renews them. As the burgeoning populations of wetern states stake claims to their own lands, our grip weakens. Thus this city reaches father and farther for coal, to replace petroleum; farther for natural gas because Texas wells have peaked; farther for soil, the food of food, as millions of acres yearly are paved for suburbs and scalped by monocropping; and farther for water to slow our increasing vulnerability to drought. As other needy cities compete for these limited treasures, a hazard looms. Angelenos will eventually lose the political leverage which brings essential wealth here.

If nature is the ultimate law and order, is Southern California doomed? Our region is today so uninhabitable yet so inhabited that it must transform or die. Sooner or later it must generate its own food, fuel, water, wood, and ores. It must use these at the rate nature provides them. It can.

Los Angeles has four awesome powers:

  • There is such potent soil under the pavement that this county was the greatest garden in the United States, the top food producer of all counties, between 1910 and 1950.
  • solar motorsThe sun shines on this place 290 days yearly. A growing season 350 days long permits continuous harvest.
  • Our ten million people can work together. Skins all shades of night and smoke, of soil and wood, of fire, seashells and sand cluster and mix on the plain. We resent and love and hurt and help each other. We are magnificent.
  • Water under this desert gives half the amount now used countywide. The ocean desalted is an endless supply.

How do we begin to employ these strengths to create a fruitful, self-reliant city, a sensual city worthy of excellent people and land? How do we prove the region's resources can sustain us?

The first work of citizen planners would be to redesign Los Angeles as boldly as government and industry do: to plan transformations with solar technology and orchards like commerce plans with highways and realty. We would plan broadly enough to coordinate regional use of our resources and flexibly enough to rely on initiatives by individuals and neighborhoods.

CITIZEN PLANNERS for FULL EMPLOYMENT, ECOLOGY, and NEIGHBORHOOD POWER

neighborhood<br> industry

Citizen Planners in Los Angeles recommends that neighborhoods inventory their resources and create preliminary designs to best juxtapose homes with croplands, solar turbines, water mains, and solar freight rail.

An environmental inventory suggested by Citizen Planners states aims toward which orderly transitions can be planned, and shows how to fasten the nuts and bolts of metropolitan-scale alternate technology. It presents a city wholly different from the one we know. Experience reminds us that even the immediate problems of crime, traffic, poison air, unemployment, and inflation are not relieved by merely patching the urban mess. Time binds us to great change.

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Here follows a short summary of the inventory's precepts:

    A. Natural resources would be used at the rate they naturally renew. This is the heart of ecology.

    B. Food and fuel would be produced at household, neighborhood, municipal, and regional levels. This is the heart of social cohesion.

    C. The economy would become a "mutual enterprise" system. Work would be apportioned to enable all to labor. This is the heart of dignity.

    D. Culture would become decentralized and participatory, releasing the creative genius in everyone. This is the heart of joy.

The inventory explores 13 subsystems of the city: Food, Water, Fuel, Housing, Solid Waste, Industry, Transport, Fire Protection, Air, Education, Health, Government, and Culture.

AIMS:

    FOOD: To produce within homes, neighborhoods, and cities of this region all food eaten here. To create high-quality vegetarian diets by organic cultivation.
    water war

    WATER: to bring the most water for the most necessary purposes from the shortest distances with the least use of fuel.

    wave motors

    FUEL: To reduce fuel demand and to power all homes, vehicles, and machines from the sun. To use wind, wave, muscle, and municipalized petroleum in reserve.

    HOUSING: To craft solar greenhouse homes of many types, designed by residents to fuel, feed and delight themselves and which are part of beautiful self-reliant neighborhoods.

    SOLID WASTE: To reduce waste to zero by producing durable essentials and recycling everything.

    INDUSTRY: To produce durable essential tools from raw materials of this region, in neighborhood shops owned and managed by workers. We learn to luxuriate in the necessities before the necessities become luxuries.

    TRANSPORT: To satisfy physical and emotional needs within walking distances. To reduce transport to zero by producing goods where they're used. Move any raw materials, essential goods, and people by foot, pedal, and solar rollers. Transportation is a waste product.

    CULTURE: To encourage a decentralized participatory culture expressing the bounty of the planet and of this region, the beauties of its people, and our pride in working together to build and enjoy a sensual city.

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Here follows a brief sketch of how such a Los Angeles could happen. A Santa Monica neighborhood is shown evolving toward self-sufficiency. The process may take ten, twenty or fifty years.

Entire cities like these grow with trust between neighbors.

Following this sketch is a more detailed description of the same process, with paintings by Thomas Slagle.

hof 1

PAST:

Fifty years ago several homes were built on a beanfield.  Graded dirt streets connected to a concrete boulevard.  Food, fuel and most water were produced locally.  Trolleys made transit easy.  Air was clean.  Homes were safe unlocked.
hof 2

PRESENT:

The land is mostly paved and built on.  400 people live in 74 houses. Most rent.  Food, fuel, metals and water are piped, pumped and trucked from great distances.  Many commute far to work. Fuel is wasted, air is poor.  Crime confines women at night.  Garbage is the main product of the neighborhood.

hof 3FUTURE: ONE

Community land trusts and limited equity co-ops form to give renters control of land and housing.  Some backyard paving, driveways, alleys and fences are removed for gardens and playgrounds.  Fruit and nut trees (green areas) are planted.  Solar collectors are installed. Kitchen waste is composted.
hof 4

FUTURE: TWO

Most garages are removed to extend gardens and food trees.  Cars are parked at neighborhood's edge.  Solar cells produce most electricity.  Compost toilets improve soil and reduce water use.  Metal and wood are stored for recycling.  Food, tools and skills are shared and traded.
hof 5

FUTURE: THREE

Construction of two solar co-op homes (ecolonies) begins.  Some houses are removed, their residents share temporary housing.  Land is freed for crops and play. Orchards double.  Neighborhood industries produce durable essential goods and reduce need fro commuting.  Crime declines as neighbors work together outdoors.

hof 6FUTURE: FOUR

First ecolony is completed, two others are being built.  They are semi-underground for earth cooling and heating.  A spyramid (spiral pyramid) community-center is begun in the middle.  Ocean water is desalinated.  Walkways are relaid as brilliant mosaics.  Bikeways connect neighborhoods. A trolley system is revived.
hof 7

FUTURE: FIVE

Three colonies are complete, the fourth is excavated. Solar turbines end industrial pollution.  Extensive orchards are fireproofed with water wall sprayers.
Community center is complete. Policy is made by full assemblies.  Trolley system is solar powered. Auto traffic is down by half.  Breathing is pleasure.

hof 8FUTURE: SIX

Ecolonies are nearly complete.
Each sheltering about 100 people, they have well-soundproofed private spaces for those living alone or as couples,
in nuclear families, extended families and neofamily groups.  There are common areas for child care, medical care, food production, arts, bathing, libraries, worship, theater and industry.

hof 9FUTURE: SEVEN

The neighborhood has become an orchard looped with bikeways and solar rail.  All food is from interneighborhoood sharing.  Most physical and emotional needs are met within walking distance.  Cars are gone.  Population stabilizes at 430.  New rituals evolve to celebrate family, friendship, harvests, quiescence, sex, eternity, love, invention and sun.

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The ECOLONY Guided Tour

Click for full diagrams: ecolony
"Each sheltering about 100 of the neighborhood's 400 people, the ecolonies have well-soundproofed private spaces for those living alone or as couples, in nuclear families, and neofamily groups. There are common areas for child care, medical care, parties, meetings, dances, lounges, food production and processing, arts and learning, theatre, worship and meditation, and cottage industry."

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Here begins the detailed description, illustrated by Thomas Slagle.

Click paintings to enlarge.

PRESENT

slagleFOOD: There are a few small gardens, but 65% of the land is paved or built on. Nearly all food is trucked from distant factory farms. It is tough and bland, soaked with pesticides, controlled by a few powerful companies. Half the U.S. grain harvest is excreted by animals generating one-tenth the nourishment in meat form. A few neighbors analyze soils for lead content.
compost toiletWATER: Half flows from the Colorado River and Sierra Mountains through aqueducts, and half is drawn from local wells. It is pumped to homes in iron pipes laid along the alley 60 years ago. Three-quarters of it is used to water lawns, wash cars, and flush toilets. It is "unfit even for showering," according to the California State Department of Health. Rainwater is flushed to the ocean through storm sewers. Bottled water is popular.
FUEL: Natural gas from Texas is piped up the alley. Crude oil from Alaska and Indonesia is burned in coastal power plants to generate electricity. Three-fourths is wasted as heat. Overhead power lines in alleys deliver the rest to homes which use six times more than in 1950. Homes are poorly insulated and are equipped with energy-wasting gadgets.
HOUSING: Single-family homes, condos and townhouses sit parallel in grid pattern. Only one-fifth are owner occupied. Most have private fenced backyards. The population of 398 lives in 236 units. Their average age is 31. Two-thirds live in families, one-third live alone.
SOLID WASTE: Bagged litter is dumped in landfills. Garbage is the main product of the neighborhood.
INDUSTRY: Neighbors are controlled by financiers and directors of the largest corporations, who own and manage natural resources, shift investment, and dispense jobs. Located on the main street at bottom are a bank, two bars, and auto body shop, liquor store, and a fast-food shop. SMall businesses are crowded out by franchises.
TRANSPORT: Three thousand-pound cars propel 150-pound people. Average city speed is five mph when the time worked to buy car, repair, insurance, gas and miscellaneous waiting are divided into distance travelled. A rapid rail transit system was dismantled by General Motors, Firestone Tire, and Standard Oil of California to make us dependent on their products. They were convicted of criminal conspiracy in 1949. There is a bike lane used by kids and college students.
FIRE PROTECTION: Hydrants at 250 pounds per square inch feed hoses spewing 150-foot streams. Professionals fight blazes. Homes are inspected and must meet fire code. Open burning is prohibited. Most fires are caused by smoking.
AIR: Surrounded by the worst air in the United States, Santa Monica has the worst acid cloud of nitrogen dioxide. It is unhealthy 315 days yearly.
EDUCATION: Compulsory state-approved doses of History, Math and English prepare students for service to corporations. Age segregation and tracking sort students like grades and sizes of eggs.
HEALTH: Stress raises blood pressure, air fouls lungs, processed food clogs cells. These lower resistance to disease. Most doctors prescribe surgery and drugs instead of clean air and good food. The nearest emerency care is one and a half miles away.
GOVERNMENT: Neighborhoods are regulated by landlords, banks and corporations. The present city council restrains this power with rent contrrol and construction trade-offs. There is one representative for every 13,000 persons. Advisory commisions and neighborhood organizations have informal power. A minority of neighbors registers and votes once or twice yearly.
CULTURE: National commercial culture is delivered by television, radio and newspapers. A tiny minority of culture professionals receives great reward for creativity.

And then people get together to change their lives: 

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FUTURE ONE

FOOD: Some backyard paving, driveways, alleys, and fences are removed. Gardens are expanded privately and cooperatively. Stret strips are reclaimed for dwarf fruit trees and berries. Homes at upper right attach greenhouses. Some alleys are gardened. These are fertilized by horse manures and chippings. Experiments determine best tree varieties. One hundred fruit and nut trees are planted.
Most cement and asphalt is trucked to industrial wasteland where the water table is low and groundwater is contaminated by industrial seepage. It is stacked on paved land to form thick sloped soundproof walls of large solar foundries or to externally insulate vacated industrial plants for similar purposes. Some asphalt is stacked in the neighborhood to insulate externally the north walls of buildings.
WATER: Home filters and low-flow taps become popular. Taller grass and subtropic plantings grow less-thirsty lawns.
FUEL: Some homes install southfacing rooftop solar hot water collectors. Heavy insulation, tripel-glazing, weather-stripping, and low-voltage appliances reduce fuel demand.
HOUSING: Two homes at upper right connect to create a common lounge and convert their living rooms to extra bedrooms. Upon departure tenants are crdited or refunded the value of property improvements they have made according to neighborhood organization guidelines. Landlords credit half this value against taxes.
SOLID WASTE: Glass, newspapers and aluminum cans are collected by expanded city recycling service and sold to corporate recyclers. Some newspapers are shredded for mulch and jars are kept for canning food.
INDUSTRY: Zoning allows home busineses with one non-family employee. Malcolm X Money Local currency is introduced.
TRANSPORT: The number of cars stabilizes. Smaller cars are required. More bikes are used for travel within one mile.
FIRE PROTECTION: Smoking is prohibited in public places.
AIR: A neighbor begins keeping air quality and wind records.
EDUCATION: Private and public neighborhood schools teach neighborhood planning skills.
HEALTH: More births are at home, more people rely on preventive attention and naturopaths. City self-finances a clinic system.
GOVERNMENT: Taxes are raised on income property. Revenue sharing is given by cities to neighborhood organizations. And "little city halls" are maintained by neighbors.
CULTURE: Video and cable decentralize television.

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FUTURE TWO

slagle 2FOOD: Three-hundred-fifty dwarf trees in streets and blockyards yield fruits and nuts. Varieties are selected so they ripen one after another all year. More solar greenhouses and solar drying further extend seasons of availability. Intensive raised bed vegetable, berry and herb gardens supply the neighborhood and local farmer's markets. Food production is also increased by fertilizer from compost toilets and mulch from leaves. Companion planting stimulates growth and controls bugs. Rooftop beehives pollinate and give honey.
The city reduces property taxes in urban agricultural districts where neighbors harvest large quantities. Rents are correspondingly reduced. The city helps tenants purchase cropland, and land trusts are formed to end speculation. Development options are tied to agriculture.
WATER: Water is sold at agricultural rates to community gardens using drip irrigation. Compost toilets reduce indoor residential use by half and help rebuild soil. Greywater is filtered and flushed to orchards. Toxic chemicals and cleansers are banned. Drinking wtaer is distilled on roofs by the sun. Neighborhoods buy property for the land trust before making improvements which would cause speculation or raise rents, either of which could displace them.
FUEL: Most homes are largely reliant on passive solar heating and photovoltaic electricity. Municipalization of electricity cuts rates.
HOUSING: Downzoning and rent control are administered by neighborhoods. Land and home ownership is limited to two or three places. Most garages are removed or converted to temporary housing. Regional growth limites are established. Certain areas are prohibited for settlement, and slowly return to wilderness.
SOLID WASTE: Kitchen scraps are composted. Metal and wood pieces from dismantled buildings are stored in designated garages.
INDUSTRY: A barter economy of food, tools and skills is well developed. City property is conveyed to the neighborhood land trust, block association or community devleopment corporation. Income from donations, assessments, businesses, tax withholding, and escrow accounts keeps money in the neighborhood for its own purposes.
TRANSPORT: Cars are parked diagonally at neighborhood's edge. Many are solar-electric powered.
FIRE PROTECTION: Neighbors learn prevention and mutual aid.
AIR: Streets and homesites removed for planting are immediately sown with grain to renew oxygen and keep dust down.
EDUCATION: Young and old explore together. The natural human enthusiasm for learning is released. Field trips to solar equipment manufacturers, organic orchardists, and other alternate technologists are emphasized. Learners seek applicability of these to neighborhood scale and control.
GOVERNMENT: Apartment-house dwellers who combine to buy their homes each have one vote. The city helps fund such purchases from pension funds, carry over reserve funds, tax-exempt bonds, and cost-of-living loans. Neighborhood town meetings give everyone direct voice.
CULTURE: Traditions which promote these aims are encouraged. Neighborhoods issue wekly two-sided broadsheet newespaper, printed on solar presses.

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FUTURE THREE

slagle 3FOOD: Solar pumps boost irrigation from mains. Fruit and nut trees now number 810. Crops are rotated. Rooftop greenhousing extends the harvest. Fruits, nuts and berries are espaliered on homes. Sprouts are raised for salads and bread. Vermiculture enriches compost. Neighborhood surplus is stored in former subsurface carports.
WATER: Decreased paving allows absorption of rainwater which refills groundwater and permits monitored, solar-pumped wells.
FUEL: Consumption is reduced by use of technologies requiring less fuel in pumping and transport of food, fuel, water, people, products and waste. Photovoltaic tools are highly developed. Underground biogas digesters fed by toilet and kitchen scraps produce methane used for cooking, heating and illumination. Ownership of oil fields transfers to public domain and oil is used as backup.
HOUSING: Construction of community houses begins. Consolidation of 73 dwellings into four semi-underground three-story, south-facing, solar-greenhouse "ecolonies" creates more open space within neighborhood for orchards, gardens and play. Each sheltering about 100 of the neighborhood's 400 people, the ecolonies have well-soundproofed private spaces for those living alone or as couples, in nuclear families, extended families, and neofamily groups. There are common areas for child care, medical care, parties, meetings, dances, lounges, food production and processing, arts and exhibits, bathing, libraries and learning, theatre, worship and meditation, and cottage industry.
Underground sections built into the hill are lit by large atria and skylights. All aboveground parts have direct access to outdoor gardens. Ecolonies are designed by neighbors.
SOLID WASTE: Steel, wood, piping, insulation and so on from dismantled homes are stored for construction of ecolonies and necessities. Fibers from old clothes and drapes are packed. Interneighborhood bulk storage and distribution reduces the volume of packaging.
INDUSTRY: Cottage industries in each neighborhood produce most necessities, but there is much specialization and interneighborhood exchange of such things as tools, pottery, bikes, glass, clothing, solar equipment, and furniture. New industrial zoning empowers neighborhoods.
TRANSPORT: More reliance is put on better bus systems. Solar electric rollers are used for short hauling. Blockyard walkwaysare revised as land use patterns change.
FIRE PROTECTION: All residents are prepared to use bells, pumps, hydrants, and hoses located near the middle of each blockyard.
AIR: Grains planted on piles of dirt from ecolony excavations control dust.
EDUCATION: Knowledge for operating and sharing control of one's neighborhood at interneighborhood and regional councils. Neighborhood schools are forums where anyone may teach what they know and do so by posting notice of presentations. Learning is enjoyable rather than compulsory.
HEALTH: Beter food improves resistance to disease.
GOVERNMENT: Credit unions invest in housing and worker-cooperative businesses.
CULTURE: Hundreds of solar-powered interneighborhood radio stations (radii 1/4 mile to five miles) encourge broadest particpation in media and sharing of ideas, allowing audiences to work and create while listening.
Daily newspapers become weeklies freed from advertising. Ads become unnecessary as society offers genuine satisfaction of human needs rather than commercial substitutes.

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slagle 4
FUTURE FOUR


FOOD:
Grains grow atop dirt piled from excavation for ecolonies. Huge ecolony rooftop gardens and solar greenhouses at left center are tended on a personal, family and group scale. Earthquake-proof storage racks hold large reserves in ecolony. Orchards now include 1175 fruit and nut trees. Harmful insects are controlled with intercropping, predator bugs, thickets for birds, bathouses, and by free-roaming chickens and ducks which also suppy eggs. The foundation for the "food mast" is begun in yard center.
WATER: Desalination of ocean water increases supply to agriculture.
FUEL: Underground structures provide natural air conditioning in summer and retain heat in winter. Tree planting and asphalt removal cool the city.
HOUSING: One ecolony is completed at left and two are being built. Their west-facing towers and balconies encourage sunset lounging. Systems of voluntary residence exchange make housing flexible.
SOLID WASTE: Goods are durable, nothing is thrown away. Metal is reground and refitted or reforged in the building at lower left.
INDUSTRY: Worker-managed neighborhood businesses produce a more personalized and creative variety of goods. Less is consumed, more is appreciated. The best things in life are freed. Construction and demolition are major labors.
TRANSPORT: A rail network is revived. Ties are submerged, grass grows between tracks. There is less need to commute as work localizes. Inner streets are removed. The most-travelled walks are relaid as brilliant mosaics designed by neighbors.
FIRE PROTECTION: Ecolonies are fireproof, and vented for smoke.
AIR: Air begins to clear because residents employed in neighborhood production need not commute. Most of remaining commuting is by rail and bike.
EDUCATION: Each block and neighborhood becomes exploration with real effect in the world. Knowledge is freely shared; the overspecialized knowledge elite declines. Visitors are invited to make presentations.
HEALTH: Moderate physical effort makes people stronger and sexier. Increasing social cohesion, sense of purpose, love and belonging improve health, stamina and power.
GOVERNMENT: Neighborhoods receive 75% of city taxes. Workplace democracy prepares citizens for neighborhood self-government.
CULTURE: People become their own media, projecting their enthusiasms and longings creatively. Everyone is an artist, sharing in dance, paint, storytelling, music and craft.

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slagle 5
FUTURE FIVE


FOOD: Neighbors produce half their own food. Orchards flourish with 1855 fruit and net trees. Completed food mast at center grows trellised berries, vines and herbs in window boxes. This open-girdered structure serves also as a radio tower, solar spire, fire tower, lookout tower and lounge, sundial, and-- on lower levels-- as a meeting and social area, learning center, health center, planning and assembly center, food cellar, and community kitchen.
WATER: Rainwater is collected from ecolony rooftops and stored in cisterns.
FUEL: Solar cells and silent windmill atop the food mast (solar spire) fuel its purposes. Solar turbines and solar furnaces power foundry, pottery, and rail system. underground spaces in ecolonies are iluminated by atria which also hold cool night air. Woodlots are used for wood goods rather than fuel, becase citywide woodburning would pollute air as in the Nineteenth Century.
HOUSING: Three ecolonies are completed and one is being built. The extended family revives and neofamilies strengthen. There is less indoor space per person but sound-proofing allows full privacy. There is more access to public and outdoor space. Built-in shared areas permit friendlier and safer living.
SOLID WASTE: Glass shards are melted in solar furnaces, and fragments are used in stained glass mosaics. Half the autos have been melted to become agricultural tools and bicycles.
INDUSTRY: Major corporations become obsolete as their functions are performed regionally and their products are no longer desired. Without consumers they evaporate.
TRANSPORT: The expanded "grass rail" network is powered by solar booster stations, as at lower left. Long distance rail travel decreases as commerce localizes. Auto traffic is half the former level.
FIRE PROTECTION: The city becomes more fireproof than ever. Ecolonies, bikeways and open areas are firebreaks. Every other orchard irrigation line is set to spray water walls to fight fires. Water cannons are built into balconies of ecolonies and half way up the food mast.
AIR: Solar turbines end industrial emissions. Automobile poisons have been cut by half.
EDUCATION: Library in base of the food mast is a center for planning. Huge community bulletin boards post information, schedules, exchanges, and ideas for discussion.
HEALTH: Better air improves vitality. Neighborhood-operated emergency room, birth center, clinics, and 15-bed infirmary at base of food mast keeps the stricken among friends.
GOVERNMENT: Neighborhood entities control all governance-- self-tax, land-holding, zoning, and import-export. After study and discussion, policies are made by full assemblies of residents.
CULTURE: Television and video decline. Life gets highest ratings.
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slagle 6
FUTURE SIX


FOOD:
Most eaten in the neighborhood is produced by 2690 fruit and nut trees, eighth-mile grape arbors in former alleys, two acres of intensively gardened organically fertilized rooftops, greenhouses, and open field. Plantings are contoured to natural drainage of airflow and water. Neighborhoods help each other in times of failed or short crops.
WATER: Natural drainage is nearly restored. Spherical reservoirs are installed at upper left.
FUEL: Wave motors aid desalination.
HOUSING: Fourth ecolony is near completion. Private and social spaces have been arranged to encourage sense of solidarity and equity.
SOLID WASTE: Landfills are closed or mined. Nothing is wasted.
INDUSTRY: Natural resources of the region are owned and managed by the public.
EDUCATION: There is terrific cross-pollination between cities. Voyagers are asked to bring back new ideas from places they visit. Rewards for knowledge and ability are the privilege to serve the community better and to be heard.
TRANSPORT: Only a few emergency vehicles ride remaining streets. Preferred vacations are several-months walking, bicycling and rail tours. Slower motion opens travellers to richer experience, deeper relationships, pleasure and learning. Travellers stay up to one week at neighborhood travellers' houses, work two hours daily and meet people. Community tricycles or solar rollers are issued to infirm visitors. They remain longer if invited to stay with a resident.
HEALTH: Medicinal herbs are grown.
GOVERNMENT: Ecolonies are the homes of direct democracy.
FIRE PROTECTION: Belts of instantly saturable pasture stop flames.
AIR: Industrial pollution is ended. Few cars remain.
CULTURE: Crime declines because agriculture gives purpose and employment to all. Thus social cohesion is strong. Success is redefined so all succeed as neighbors.
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slagle 7
FUTURE SEVEN


FOOD:
All eaten here is from interneighborhood sharing. Now 4020 fruit and nut trees have been planted. Huge greenhouses on rails, at upper right, protect tropical seedlings in winter.
WATER: A combined community steambath-swimming pool and tropical greenhouse is attached to the food mast.
HOUSING: Ecolonies are completed. They can be remodeled and inner walls shifted. The limit to housing supply stabilizes population. Housing is owned by the neighborhood, maintained and possessed by occupants.
INDUSTRY: Everything is produced from the raw and recycled materials of the region.
TRANSPORT: Most physical and emotional needs are met within walking distances. Cars are gone.
AIR: Sweet scents of blossoms make breathing a pleasure.
LEARNING: Survival treks in wilderness, which has enveloped former rural areas, develop strength and animality.
HEALTH: The emotional basis of wellness is fully appreciated.
GOVERNMENT: Neighborhood representatives to interneighborhood and regional councils are selected by lottery from all who choose to register. Representatives are required to vote as directed on issues the community has debated. Regions covenant with other regions. Nations no longer depend on or fight for each others' natural resources, so international tensions relax.
CULTURE: An amphitheatre and stage are completed at lower center. They are used for drama and neighborhood meetings. One of the original single family homes is a neighborhood museum. New rituals evolve to celebrate color, fragrance, texture, harvest, quiescence, sex, eternity, love, invention, and sun.
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CONCLUSION


Weaving nature into Los Angeles will be a tremendous enterprise, encouraging millions to push past the fear and cynicism of the times toward lives they deserve.

In this decade citizen planners will prompt a more durable and loving refashioning of our city, using simpler technologies. It is not a return to the past, but a return to the future.


Click to see Boyle Heights transformed:

boyle heights

All contents copyright 1982 by Paul Glover (comments welcome) and Thomas Slagle

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