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Post-diversity, post-sprawl: D.J. Waldie's response to how we talk about Los Angeles

Post-diversity, post-sprawl: D.J. Waldie's response to how we talk about Los Angeles
Standing on a mound in Bunker Hill, a couple plays with perspective and the architectureof City Hall in the distance sometime in the fall of 1973. (Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times)

A couple of weeks back, I had an online conversation with writers D.J. Waldie, Josh Kun and Lynell George about how we look at Los Angeles -- or, more accurately, how we should be looking at Los Angeles in a way that goes beyond the fun-in-the-sun meets Hollywood tropes. (If you haven't read it, there's all kinds of juicy thinking about L.A. in it.)

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Waldie followed up with a thoughtful post over at KCET Departures on how to describe our city:

"We haven't yet learned to speak the language of the Los Angeles that is coming. It's a post-sprawl city, where 'sprawl' had been the cliched label for the city's multi-centered urban form. It's a post-diversity city, where 'diversity' talk is both a sign of Anglo anxiety about the new people living next door and a word of self-congratulation about not being too anxious. Los Angeles is post 'middle-class' as well, having been made into a city of struggling working-class aspirants below and a crust of oblivious wealth above."

He offers other ideas, too -- discussing L.A. as a place of ordinariness of the unexceptional, of the "fantastically commonplace."

I'd like to add one more: the idea of Los Angeles as "post-West." Since this is, after all, where Latin America and Asia meet.

Be sure to check Waldie's whole post over at KCET.

Twitter: @cmonstah

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