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Nature_and_Environment.12

Urban Sprawl: Issues and Alternatives

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{Nature_and_Environment.12.18}: Kai Hagen {kai} Sun, 07 Mar 2004 22:38:25 CST (HTML)

> It would be brown ;-)

True enough. Most of the time, anyway...being a desert and all. There is a short stretch that's relatively green! :-)

You know, the Los Angeles area is an interesting one. First of all, the greater area is an unbelievable stretch of modern, urban and suburban landscapes, with very little old bits and pieces (especially compared to the eastern US...or even moreseo, by European standards).

It's rate of growth is part of what is so amazing. A hundred years ago, there wasn't much there, literally.

Los Angeles, California Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) which includes the Orange County Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), Riverside- San Bernardina PMSA, and the Ventura PMSA, has somewhere between 17,000,000 and 18,000,000 people.

That's bigger than the London metropolitan area, which is around 14,000,000. But not much, really. Same ballpark. Both near the top of the list. But it would be hard to find two huge and modern metropolitan areas in any more stark contrast.

You can almost pick any category - age/history, climate, density, interior open space, mass transit (or lack thereof), ethnicity and race, and so on - and find dramatic differences, if not practical opposites.

And, it's true that LA probably has less park space than most big cities in the country (if not all of them).

And yet, for all the lost opportunities to preserve more open space in the developed area, including stream valleys, coastal wetlands, scenic hills and more, it's amazing how immense and how wild are the open and rugged landscapes adjacent to it all.

Visible from LA when the air is clear enough...and easily accessible...are hundreds of thousands of acres - a few million, really - of remarkable public and private wildlands. Nine and ten thousand foot mountains certainly helped draw the line, as it were.

I'm glad there were some significant natural barriers to growth in the area...at least in some directions!

> No, the air is red! ;-)

You know...it really can be brown.

I've flown into LA on the most stunningly crystal clear days, with huge views of the mountains and ocean on the way down, only to desend in the inversion-capped brown haze over the basin. See for miles one instant. Barely make out the approaching ground the next.

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