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What's wrong with parking-lot picnics?

October 02, 2005|BRENDAN BUHLER

"Continued prosperity will depend on providing needed parks because, with the growth of a great metropolis here, the absence of parks will make living conditions less and less attractive, less and less wholesome.... Insofar, therefore, as the people fail to show understanding, courage and organizing ability necessary at this crisis, the growth of the Region will tend to strangle itself."

From "Parks, Playgrounds and Beaches for the Los Angeles Region," by landscape architects Olmsted Bros. and Harland Bartholomew & Associates. This 1930 proposal called for 71,000 acres of L.A. parkland, 92,000 acres more in outlying areas, and 440 miles of connecting parkways (all in dark green, below). About 2.2 million people lived in Los Angeles County then. About 9.5 million people live here now, amid 29,000 or so stores, 23,000 bars, cafes and restaurants, 915 car dealerships and about half the parkland the Olmsted plan advocated.

-- BRENDAN BUHLER

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