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Daniel Burnham
'Never Built Los Angeles' is a lavish counter-history
'Never Built Los Angeles' is a lavish counter-history

When, in the 1920s, the pioneering Southern California social critic Louis Adamic called Los Angeles "the enormous village," he didn't mean it as a compliment. Rather, he was referring to L.A.'s insularity, its status as what Richard Meltzer would later label "the biggest HICK Town (per se) in all the hick land," a city of small-town values and narrow vision that "grew up suddenly, planlessly." For Adamic, Los Angeles was defined by individual, as opposed to collective, passions, starting with its architecture. His idea of the place as a "garden city," in which identity was less an expression of the public square than of the private home,...

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