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City Center to Regional Mall: Architecture, the Automobile, and Retailing in Los Angeles, 1920-1950 Paperback – June 5, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In this original, wonderfully illustrated, and superbly researched book, Richard Longstreth connects the history of a city obsessed by dreams of unlimited growth and total automobility to the development of that ultimate "machine for consumption," the regional mall. His narrative unites urban and business history, utopian architecture and commercial hucksterism into an interpretation of American culture and the American city that speaks profoundly to how we live now.

(Robert Fishman, Professor of History, Rutgers Univeristy)

At last an intelligent, lucidly written study that goes beyond cute phrases to illuminate the complicated process by which the automobile changed the American city and its architecture. Richard Longstreth's research is impeccable, the illustrations alone are a treasure trove, and his book revises many of our common assumptions about that city which supposedly never works, Los Angeles.

(Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor and Chair, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia)

In this extraordinary study of the architectural and spatial evolution of modern commerce, Richard Longstreth shows us yet another way that Los Angeles invented the new urban metropolis of post-World War II America. Like it or not, this is the story of all of our communities -- and all of us. I am indebted to Longstreth for his pathbreaking research and analysis.

(Lizabeth Cohen, Professor of History, New York University)

This provocative book treats the juncture of two subjects once wrongly consigned to a low priority among urban and architectural historians: Los Angeles and commercial architecture. with scholarly thoroughness, critical detachment, and lucid analysis, Richard Longstreth illuminates and celebrates them both.

(Thomas S. Hines, Professor of History and Architecture, UCLA)

This is a book that we've been waiting for. Richard Longstreth has given the commercial fabric of the twentieth century city the attention it deserves. After reading this multidimensional study that felicitously combines urban history, business history, and architectural analysis, no one will look at a downtown department sotre, suburban retail strip, or regional mall without new interest and insight.

(Carl Abbott, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University)

Longstreth's book serves as an exemplary model for those interested in research on urban development and the history of commercial or 'vernacular' building types. Perhaps even more important than its exacting empirical investigation, the book's thorough description of Los Angeles' urban growth and architectural development makes an important contribution to the growing literature on the 20th century decentralized city. Longstreth also outlines the process by which urban forms and building design responded to the automobile. The illustrations themselves are notable. This book is a major contribution to American architectural and urban history.

(Margaret Crawford, Chair, History and Theory Programs, Southern California Institue of Architecture)

This is a prodigious volume packed with original research. I have never read a book that taught me more about American architecture and the day-to-day process of city building. For anyone interested in the history of American cities in the 20th century and how economic, political, and social forces have interacted with more purely formal concerns to produce our built environment, this work will be fundamental.

(Robert Bruegmann, Professor of Art History, University of Illinois)

"[A]n engaging look at the neglected history of retail architecture and its relationship to the automobile." Mary Marien , Christian Science Monitor

About the Author

Richard Longstreth is Professor of American Civilization in the Department of American Studies at George Washington University.
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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Revised ed. edition (June 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262621258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262621250
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
If you ever wanted to know about the history of Los Angeles and how it became a large metropolitian area, this is the book for you. Hundreds of pictures from the late 1800's to the 1950's makes this book a very resourceful tool.
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Format: Hardcover
The changes in retailing which have taken place in L.A. which are examined in this book have occured throughout the United States and are taking place throughout the world right noe. The population shift to the suburbs and shopping in regional malls.
This has caused the value of retail space to decline in many area of America.
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