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You can't knock him for setting the bar too low

February 14, 2009 |  2:00 pm

L.A. River

Kazys Varnelis, editor of a new collection of essays on Los Angeles called "The Infrastructural City," is pleased with the final product:

Our goal was not modest: we set out to replace Reyner Banham's Los Angeles[:] The Architecture of Four Ecologies as the key text for understanding the city urbanistically. Looking at the finished product, I can't help but think that we accomplished this goal. I wouldn't say this if I didn't feel this was true.

Is he right? Can "The Infrastructural City" hold a candle to Banham's hugely influential 1971 book? And what will new funding from the stimulus package and recent ballot measures on subway construction and high-speed rail mean for the L.A. infrastructure of the future?

Read my assessment here.

— Christopher Hawthorne

Photo credit: Lane Barden /Actar